What every prospective owner should know and do before going on the waiting list.
#1
First, it is important to know that the Blitzortung system is not a lightning detector. It is about Lightning locating, through a network of receivers. Detecting an impulse is just the first part of a highly sophisticated process.
 
If you don’t own a system and you are reading this, chances are you are considering ordering a kit or already ordered one. Ask yourself, why do I want to be part of this network?
1.      For the coolness factor.
2.      I just want one.
3.   Impress my friends on Facebook
4.      I have a real interest and willing to spend hours setting it up for optimal performance. Then spend more hours tuning it as the season changes. Annoying the family by running around like a crazy person switching of lights, TV’s and other equipment to locate a new source of noise interference. Walking around outside with an AM radio stuck to your head to locate more noise problems. Join the BO community and contribute.
 
If you choose option 4, you are in good company as we have done these things and more. You are half way there.
 
Be aware of the issues you will be facing before ordering a system otherwise you might be disappointed.
 
Before you place yourself on the waiting list, there are TWO documents you should read.  The First relates to older ‘RED’ Systems,
http://en.blitzortung.org/Compendium/Doc...1540655512
It contains valuable information about the technical aspects and about lightning location.  The Second contains specific information about the mostly assembled Current ‘BLUE’ Systems,
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KzPZ...1540655512
 
 
Before Ordering, check on the components of a lightning strike and how the system detects it. This is a good place to start
https://forum.blitzortung.org/showthread.php?tid=2749
If you don’t understand the pictures, please post a question.
 
Now for some homework. You need to find four suitable locations to mount various components.
1.      The controller needs an Ethernet connection to the Internet.
2.      A place to mount the H-Field antennas, which connects to the controller via shielded Ethernet cable. See * below
3.      A place to mount the E-Field probe. This needs to be outside, as high as possible, away from electrical interference, and connects to the controller via dual shielded RG6 coax cable.
4.      A place to mount the GPS antenna with a clear view of the satellites. Metal roofs shield the signals.
 
*A suggestion: do a quick, basic “EM Environmental Survey” and repeat a few times, both day and night. Using an AM radio, tune it off station on the lower frequencies and walk around your house and outside. In a perfect world, you should just hear that hissing background noise. Now come close to a plasma TV, CFL bulb or idling car. Just listen to that noise. The BO system is a 1000x more sensitive than the radio and will pick up those man-made noises and drive your controller crazy. If you are out in the country, lucky you, chances are you might be ALMOST noise free, except maybe for HV electric transmission lines or (big culprit), arcing electric fences. City folks have a bigger challenge with more man-made noise. The purpose of this exercise is to find that quiet “sweet spot” with the least amount of noise, hopefully in an easily accessible place where you can mount your H-field antenna within reach of the controller. 
 
Here are possible noise sources, some which can be remedied quite simply. The caveat is that these devices operate on the same frequencies that are also the most common lightning discharge frequencies we want to receive. (3 to 30 KHz)
1.      Plasma TV’s
2.      CFL bulbs and to a lesser degree LED’s
3.      Light dimmers
4.      Shop-front florescent /‘Neon’ Light Signs
5.      Mercury vapor street lights.
6.      Electronic pet and animal fences.
7.      High voltage power lines.
8.      ELF military transmitters which can affect systems for 100’s of miles.
9.      Laptops, computers and their power supplies.
10.  Variable drive AC blower motors.
11.  Solar panel invertors
12.  Power Strip with ‘neon’ light indicator
13.  Induction Cooker
14.  Electric Sheep…from an Android Dream
15.  Electric Eels swept up and dropped by a waterspout
16.  Lightning Bugs colliding with errant drone propellers.
17.  Electric Horsemen riding a short circuit
18.  Electric Guitar with hot frets and loose G string
19.  Edward Scissorhands twiddling his thumbs
20.  A defective or cheap 5 Volt Power supply connected to your controller!
21.  And the list goes on.
More on the topic http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=20439.0
 
Finally, this is NOT a plug and forget system. You must be able and willing to allocate time and effort to keep your system operating optimally and contribute to the network. This is not an attempt to scare potential operators away, but a guide to prepare you to fully engage and enjoy your new “toy” and for us to say “Welcome new operator”
Stations: 2100
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#2
This is good, Dries! I think it should be copied to the wiki.
Regards,
Mike W.
Stations: 1977
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