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Lightning Direction Finding

Finding the direction of lightning strikes.

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In an old Scientific American "The Amateur Scientist" column, there was a device for finding the direction of lightning. I really love lightning, and I would have loved to build it, but the plans used CRTs and tubes, so it was nearly impossible.
What did make sense, however, was that the signal received was an audio-frequency electromagnetic signal.
My idea is to build a loop DF antenna and connect it to a phono preamplifier, and feed the signal to the stereo sound input of a PC. From this information the strength and direction of a lightning strike should be determinable.

In an old Scientific American "The Amateur Scientist" column, there was a device for finding the direction of lightning. I really love lightning, and I would have loved to build it, but the plans used CRTs and tubes, so it was nearly impossible. 
What did make sense, however, was that the signal received was an audio-frequency electromagnetic signal. 
My idea is to build a loop DF antenna and connect it to a phono preamplifier, and feed the signal to the stereo sound input of a PC. From this information the strength and direction of a lightning strike should be determinable.

DFSound.nb

First attempts to read sound date from a PC port.

nb - 9.09 MB - 01/22/2018 at 22:07

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stong1963.pdf

The original article that piqued my interest.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 908.16 kB - 01/20/2018 at 12:39

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  • Mathematica in Stereo

    Niel Malan01/22/2018 at 21:42 2 comments

    Today I tried to input sound into my laptop and process it with Mathematica. 

    It seems to work OK when I use the built-in microphone or a headset, but not so well when I try to input two channels. 

    My Dell Inspirion 15 has a only a single 3.5 mm socket for sound input and output, and somehow I must convince it to take two channels of line-in. 

  • Microphone preamplifier

    Niel Malan01/21/2018 at 20:02 0 comments

    This is the amplifier I plan to use in the project. I got cheap at a hamfest in Aberystwyth, Wales. 

    It has a nice metal box, so shielding should not be a problem. Nice sturdy microphone plug inputs, but RCA connectors for the output. I'm not very fond of those, so I might change it.

    The whole thing is very much 20th century inside. Only four transistors and a bunch of resistors and capacitors inside. The transistors are 2SC2240s, which seems to be the right choice. 

  • Useful Information

    Niel Malan01/21/2018 at 10:32 0 comments

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James Finch wrote 01/21/2018 at 12:21 point

This site inspired me to look into higher relative permeability materials for smaller size antennas: http://stormwise.com/

This wiki details different materials: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permeability_(electromagnetism)

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TheotherMike wrote 01/19/2018 at 20:09 point

Or, use an AS3935 lightning detector chip...  ;-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Niel Malan wrote 01/19/2018 at 22:28 point

Ah, we'll test that chip to see how reliable it is!

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TheotherMike wrote 01/20/2018 at 09:37 point

Using it outdoor with batteries works quite well ! Damping inside is a litle bit too much.

There´´s quite some info available, e.g. :

https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Pocket-Lightning-Detector/

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xof wrote 01/19/2018 at 17:51 point

See also http://BlitzOrtung.org . It is an open network for worldwide strikes localization.  It is based on GPS time synchronization and time of arrival of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_atmospheric

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Niel Malan wrote 01/20/2018 at 07:22 point

Thank you! I'll add a link on the project page. 

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