[aprssig] The Lightning Discharge

F5SMZ Jean-Philippe f5smz at wanadoo.fr
Thu Oct 2 13:19:42 EDT 2008

Hi all,

... something I have in mind since 2001!

just to ask you if one of us has already implemented an "LDAR" (Lightning Detection And Ranging) engine, able to plot in near real time lightning strikes and supercells on APRS as objects.

My concern is that I live in the mountain (3000 feet) and during summer I'm really scared for my antennas and various appliances at home when storms are coming.

Ok, my Boltek sensor help me a lot, but I'm also thinking to the other guys in my area that don't own a "storm detector" and I would be happy to share my storm detection capabilities.

* where are the storms and lightnings
* what's the heading/course of the storm (is it coming in my direction?)
* what's the strenght of the storm (number of ligthning strokes and power)

I think, this is very similar to Storm chasing near Oklahoma City, twister location on your side of the Atlantic Ocean, but would be really useful in my area.

Then I come to the real question. Whatever interface software you use with the Boltek sensor, a text output for a strike can be generated, and in order to plot the corresponding lightning strike on the APRS map, I think that a "Lightning strike" format is required (something like a WX report as detailed in the APRS spec) but that can include various infos like for example "cloud-to-ground discharge" or "ground-to-ground", "strenght" in KV,A, etc... Didin't found anything in APRS specs and I'm asking the group if it's relevant or useful to create such a one.

Don't make me say what I didn't said, my goal is NOT to plot all the strikes, but only the center of activity of the storm as an object; to do that an "LDAR cluster" (at least 3 distant LDAR stations for DF) is required (in a range of 100 miles), with one of them as the "master" station responsible for initiate APRS plotting of strikes and update, once the calculation have been done (this involve a very accurate time clock; now easy to have with GPS satellites) in order to synchronize "raw" reports of lightning strikes, and finally deliver the computed and correlated location of the storm.

If any of us, has already work on it, I will be pleased to "reuse" what have been done before, avoiding me to start from scratch ... or perhaps it's a green field project?

73 de F5SMZ, Jean-philippe
f5smz at wanadoo.fr
Skype: f5smz88
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