I had an interesting experience on Saturday (04 June 2011) that proves that I'm not as smart as I thought. Following a long day at the radio station news room, I looked forward to some relaxation at the amateur radio station. Afterall , there is just so much "doom and gloom" one can stand in the news business. Anyway, before I left, I picked up a flash flood watch and thunderstorm warning for Hawaii Island, something that occurs frequently from April to June around here. Since the weather radar showed my Laupahoehoe QTH out of the danger zone, I figured I would squeeze in a few hours of relaxed cw until the storms were due to hit around 1900W. Wrong...when I arrived home, I figured there was sufficient time to work the rig and still attend a small graduation party for one of neighbor's daughters at the Laupahoehoe Gym. So, in my haste, I disconnected all cables, feedlines, and rigs just in case the QTH lost power due to wind and rain (that happens frequently here). After I disconnected the twin lead from the inverted "v" and attached the feed line to a 8-foot ground stake, removed the 4:1 balan from the garage wall, and disconnected all electronic equipment (including the stove, water heater, and refrigerator), all preparations for the late evening weather appeared normal. Big surprise. Just as I entered the house, a flash caught my eye and, in less than a second, a big thunderboomer split the air. In the rush of events, I had neglected to lower the fiberglass mast in the back yard...the rod was badly burned and the twin lead was largely vaporized. Other than losing the mast, nothing was damaged. I was lucky my stupidity hadn't done me in. It will take a few days to get things back to normal. The under-the-house loop is fine and everything in the QTH is fine. No appliances were damaged and all my electronic equipment checked out alright. One never knows what Nature will throw at you...never a dull moment along the Hamakua Coast.
Have a good day and disconnect when in doubt. I have no desire to meet St. Peter at this time. Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.