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A routine day at GNE. Sam Kennedy is on watch at the distress consol. Bob Dixon, the Station Manager, is chatting to Sam while Donald Macleod, having just communicated with a trawler on the WT sked, is sending a telegram on the the telex machine. The sky suddenly darkens; the background static noise on the receivers suddenly increases as static-charged hailstones start to crash off the tin roof of the building; there is a collosal rumble of thunder followed by a blinding flash of light - and everything goes deathly quiet! In the distance the generator can be heard automatically starting, to restore lost power - but everything remained dead!
Donald appeared appeared from the landline room with a dazed look - "I thought that had hit me" he said. The poor old generator was totally confused - it could sense that there had been a loss of power but when it started up power was still not restored - so it was starting and stopping, starting and stopping until we eventually manually forced it to stay shut down.
There had been a direct lightning strike on the 180 foot mast for our H1000 reserve transmitter. When we started across the field to inspect the damage we found the tuning unit desicant bag lying half way between the station building and the antenna mast - the top of antenna tuning unit box, secured by a large number of bolts, had been blown right off. The strike had then travelled down the feeder coax into the transmitter, ruining the cable as it went, and wrecked the SWR sensing circuitry of the H1000 - at the same time it sent a great surge through the stations very dated electrical system blowing every fuse in the building, tripping transmitters with damage to one, blew the matching system on the receive antenna patch board losing the use of those antennas, and continued out of the station on the telephone/telex lines putting half of the telephones in North Connel out of order! By something of a miracle, the station was left with one telephone and one telex working! Some power in lightning!