Adding Ethernet Lightning Protection to the K9ZW Shack
Based largely on FlexRadio System Community web posts and an a web-article by Al NN4ZZ (http://www.nn4zz.com/FLEX6700.htm#Ethernet_Lightning_Protection) I’ve added an Ethernet FiberOptic Isolation for my hardwired Flex-6700 at the home QTH. The Island QTH is on a WiFi extender so it is using that wireless break in cabling to achieve the same benefits, though I do expect to use FiberOptic Ethernet from the main station to the tower service shed for remote operation of equipment at the tower base.
The whole idea with isolation is to reduce the vulnerability of the on-board Flex-6700’s Ethernet adapter to stray static or electrical charge energizing a CAT6e cable, and as an added benefit decreasing the possibility of that cable picking up any stray RF or somehow coupling.
Basically there are three parts, an Ethernet Cable to Fiber box, a Fiber cable, and a second Fiber to Ethernet Cable box at the other end of the Fiber.
There are lots of sources for the gear to make the jump, and I selected an eBay vendor recommended to me for the Ethernet CAT6e to Fiber full duplex interfaces. With the variety I selected you need a properly configured pair (one an “A” and the other a “B”) to work.
Cables I picked from Amazon, as the original eBay cable vendor never delivered the cables ordered, which is okay (except they charged me) as I made a mistake ordering Siamese-Paired Fiber Cables which fits a different type of gear. What I needed was single cables.
I picked http://www.ebay.com/itm/151827507443 which is a matched A & B pair “10/100Mbps Ethernet to Single mode Fiber Optic Media Converter Transceiver- 25KM” set.
The cables are https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E6OMK68 “Gino brand, 2 Pcs Simplex Single Mode SC to SC Male Fiber Optic Patch Jump Cable Yellow 2M” cables. You only need one cable per pair of Ethernet to Single mode Fiber Optic Media Converter Transceivers.
(I bought two cables and two pairs of transceivers, as I usually buy a second set of components for projects like this as backups). One setup cost me $45.50 (or $91.00 if you consider the spare set as true backups).
Seems a very low cost to do both the RFI mitigation and EMP/ESD protection adding Fiber gives.
There are a lot of other vendors and possible components. Though I have NOT been able to find one, I have wondered if a dedicated all-in-one isolation unit exists? Maybe one of our hobby’s network gurus knows?
[EDIT – as a reader reminded me – don’t forget to protect the power supply inputs to the radio end of the transceiver pair, as it presents a way to energize the cable CAT6e jumper that plugs into your radio! I have small items like this somewhat protected by a small UPS and further by a protected power strip, but maybe that isn’t even enough? Thanks David for the reminder!]