Here’s what’s in development right now as our TLARC Maker workshop project for JULY
The TLARC Maker’s Lightning Detector!

  • A handheld, battery-operated unit that reports actual lightning strikes (as opposed to man-made noise) up to 40 km (24 miles) away;
  • Detects cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning;
  • Reports the relative intensity of the strike. The software scales the intensity 1-thruough-10 (lowest to highest);
  • Displays the elapsed time since the last strike, the average intensity, and the total number of all strikes since the last reset of the unit;
  • Gives a colorful indication of the strike;
  • Suitable for desktop use in the ham shack for advanced indication of incoming electrical storms in order for the operator to secure equipment and antennas;
  • Also suitable for marine use for indication of incoming storm systems for boating safety;
  • How it Works: A small Arduino-like microcontroller connects to a lightning detector DSP chip and coil that work together to analyze the atmospheric noise present at 500 kHz when lightning strikes, thus determining heuristics of strike strength and distance. The microcontroller then signals when a strike is indeed present and displays the strike data to the handheld unit’s OLED display and illuminates some colorful NeoPixel LEDs arranged in a circular pattern to give the user clear status indication of the approaching storm.

Up to 10 club members can be accommodated for this workshop. As with all our workshops, one just pays the cost for the project parts, then solders/assembles/tests under the guidance of the club mentor(s), and then walks away with the working project!

We are looking to start this workshop on Sunday, June 16th, from 2-4pm, this time at chez N1ESK near the Tellico Yacht Club. The cost for this project will be $40 per person. Let us know if you are interested.

// NOTE: We’ll start by finishing up the EFHW project if you haven’t yet completed that one.