Trading winter snows for summer woes

HF9V vertical antenna in the winter

HF9V vertical antenna in the winter

It wasn’t but a few short weeks ago that the backyard looked like this – snow everywhere.  Then as suddenly as the flip of a switch, the Twin Cities greened up and the snow was gone.  April, usually a rainy month, was a snowy one, and spring tried really hard, but instead of rain we had thundersnow.

Now that spring/summer seems to be here for sure, we can expect more of that lightning and thunder – and that means more shutdowns of stations W0ZSW and WA0TDA, which are both on the same property.  Antennas are disconnected when lightning threatens to minimize damage to the stations and the connected computer network.

Sometimes the thunderstorms pop up unexpectedly as the air warms and rises over southern Minnesota.  This can mean that the stations will be taken offline with little or no notice.  Other times the passage of a frontal boundary will be well predicted and the stations can be shut down in advance of the front’s arrival.

Thunderstorm activity will cause loud static (QRN), especially on the lower frequency HF bands.  When you hear loud cracks and pops on the bands, you may want to finish up your QSO in case the station needs to be shut down.  In the evening or early morning  QRN may skip in from storms in the southern part of the USA, and this is not concern for station damage in Minnesota, though it may interfere with your QSO.

Have fun with the stations and enjoy a GREAT, safe summer!

73 – Pat