In order to celebrate the people who have supported and allowed our company to grow and thrive, the entire NexTek team was treated to an afternoon out at Kimball Farm in Westford in early October. Here are some quick details!
Pizza Lunch @ NexTek
While not uncommon, this Pizza Lunch was special because it fueled the team up prior to our afternoon activity…
June 2-7, 2019 in Boston’s Seaport District – In June, NexTek helped to support our local Technical Sales Partner covering New England [Lighthouse Technical Sales out of Nashua, NH] who exhibited at the IMS MTT-S Show. When the image of a normal Technical Trade Show Booth comes to mind, you might imagine a “normal” booth with a few products, maybe some neat branding, and a few smiling sales folks…admittedly, most booth setups are not the most exciting or innovative things!
However, Larry Knight, the president and owner of Lighthouse Technical Sales is a dedicated hobbyist who has found a unique way to tie those hobbies directly into his work and trade show booth itself! It has been about 5 years in the making, and a slow process along the way, but the Lighthouse Model Train setup is a wholly unique solution the age-old question “How do we attract attention and people to our booth to be able to start conversations, without seeming to sell too hard or scaring folks off with technical details off the bat?”
As you can see, the booth attracts a buzz from almost everyone at the show… We received constant requests to “take a photo for my kids/nieces/nephews/etc.” even from folks who were not personally into trains, models, or the overall military theme.
One of the best parts about this attention is that the train setup provides an entry into real application-related discussions, as most of principals that Lighthouse represents have parts and ongoing activity on many of the platforms and programs represented on the board! This leads to effective and interesting conversations off-the-bat, with the opportunity to discuss technical details quickly if the conversation heads that way.
Check out the IMS 2019 official Video below featuring the Lighthouse Technical Sales booth, where Larry has a good chance to explain the concept, the models, and provide more details on the work involved! The Lighthouse booth is well-known around the show to anyone who has attended for multiple years, and they regularly get featured by IMS as a top booth during each show. It happened again this year, and we have this wonderful video to share as a result!
Thanks to Larry, Keith, Greta, and Vincent from Lighthouse for allowing us to support such an awesome booth and partner!!
We had a blast! Just don’t ask how long it takes to setup and break down : )
With Summer just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer Lightning Season is almost here! In order to learn more about Lightning and Thunderstorms so that you can do your best to stay safe during the season when outdoor activity and thunderstorm activity are both at their peaks…here are 4 Useful Lightning and Thunderstorm related resources!
These tips and information will be useful for any location around the world with a moderate threat of lightning and thunderstorm activity, so don’t hesitate to share them with others!
Learn About Staying Safe During a Thunderstorm
Have you ever wanted to learn more about how to stay safe during thunderstorm season…? This NOAA webpage includes proper planning and weather forecast-watching, but also what to do if you are caught in a dangerous situation outdoors. Follow the link to learn more and jump to the NOAA page!
Track Lightning and Thunderstorm Activity – Nearby or Across the World!
Did you know that there are real-time Lightning activity tracking systems available, where you can check for current lightning and thunderstorm activity all around the world? Primary coverage of the Real Time Lightning Map system is in Europe and North America, but the areas covered are expanding all the time! Now you can check out activity in your area, or the area you are planning to visit, and make more intelligent decisions with regard to Lightning and Thunderstorm safety!
The Science Behind Lightning and Its Awesome Power
Lightning strikes can be such awe-inspiring natural events, with the power to light up the night sky, travel 10s of miles, and enough energy to start fires and melt metal in their path! Learn more about the science behind Thunderstorms and the Lightning they produce by following the link to our previous post, where you can find the link to wired.com’s original article.
Watch Ultra-Slow Motion Video of Lightning Bolts – They Reveal Lightning’s Secrets!
Lightning Strikes form and disappear so quickly, (they are over within 200 microseconds, or <.0002 Seconds!) that it is difficult for the human eye and brain to process as anything other than a rapid single or multiple flash. However, the formation of a lightning bolt is actually an intricate and multi-step process that is much more complex than we have believed for most of human history. With the advent of ultra-slow motion video cameras, lightning strikes can be captured during their formation stages all the way through their connection and peak current flow (the brightest flash which results in Thunder.)
In order to kick off 2016 properly, we have decided to share something quite fascinating and cool for our first post of the year!
Lightning bolts and the thunderstorms that create them are constantly and exhaustively researched all around the world. Although we have a good general understanding of how a Lightning Strike forms, it’s general characteristics, and when conditions make a storm or strike likely… Even world-class scientists do not know nearly everything about lightning and how it works!
For example, we generally do not have any concrete evidence regarding what makes a lightning bolt hit a specific spot on the earth, as opposed to any number of other spots nearby.
Because there is still so much unknown about lightning, there some researchers who record thunderstorms and lightning activity with ultra-slow motion video cameras in order to try and learn more about what happens during the actual lightning event. The hope here is that by slowing down what is generally a “blink-of-the-eye” event, we should be able to pull out much more detail about how lighting bolts form and the sequence of events going on to make each event happen.
One source for this type of video is ZT Research (Vimeo: ZT Research), which has some incredibly detailed and interesting slow-motion video segments which capture multiple lightning strikes. In fact, in the video example above you will be able to see how each lightning bolt ends up choosing a single path at the last second, from many hundreds of potential paths that show up during formation of the lightning strike.
As the energy within the cloud builds up to a point where it is enough to form a discharge (i.e. a lighting bolt!), multiple small “leaders” begin to descend from the cloud… As the leaders travel closer and closer to the ground and form multiple potential pathways for the lightning strike, ultimately there is a leader which wins the race and makes a connection between Cloud and Ground….Once this connection is present, the main lightning strike and energy flow occurs as the main lightning bolt flashes (sometimes more than once) as the hundreds of kiloamperes are transferred. This is the main Lightning Bolt!
After the main Cloud to Ground stroke, there is usually also a return stroke which follows the same path and actually initiates from the Ground and is effectively an energy transfer in the opposite direction of the original lightning bolt, from Ground and Cloud in this case!
Check Out Some Other High Speed Lightning Strike Videos Here:
NexTek knows lightning, we have over 25 years of experience in designing world-class lightning and surge protection solutions. See our Coaxial Lighting Protection Product Page to learn more about protecting your radios, antennas, and systems from lighting-related damage.
Today’s post features a short but interesting article on wired.com, which explains the fundamentals behind how lightning is formed and works!
Also included in this post are some interesting lightning-related photos which include some unique shots of various lightning bolts and their effects! For example, did you know that the earth itself operates as a massive capacitor…developing and holding an electrical charge between the outer atmosphere and the earth itself? Lightning strikes are a discharge of this energy, and demonstrate the awesome amount of energy that can be stored within this capacitor (earth!)
Find the link to the original article, and some additional resource links, below:
Finally, to learn more about how NexTek solutions can protect radios, antennae, and other electronics against Lightning & Surge Damage… See our line of Coaxial Arrestors, and learn more about What We Do.
NexTek surge protectors are currently in-use all around the world…and we mean it when we say ALL AROUND THE WORLD!
Two interesting examples involve hyper-accurate GPS Sensors that are installed all around the earth in order to track tectonic plate movement of the earth’s crust. In order to get geological and geographical data from all around the planet, these GPS sensors are installed everywhere.
However, as with any type of equipment or installation where a coaxial cable or an antenna is installed outside…Surge protection may be required, and it is not always because of Lightning…Static, EMP, and other types of Transient Threats can be just as damaging!
HOTTEST PLACES ON EARTH: One such example is where the GPS Sensor is actually installed within an active volcanic crater, in order to measure sub-surface lava shifts [deformation] and better understand what is happening to a given volcano underneath the earth’s surface. However, the GPS sensor uses a coaxial cable and a powered GPS antenna…and during delivery by helicopter into the volcano’s crater, a static charge was created by the downdraft of the helicopter’s blades which ended up destroying the attached GPS Receivers on more than one occasion!
When the USGS contacted NexTek for assistance with the problem, we worked through the application details and recommended an FPLNFNFBP05 as a solution which would provide the best-available protection for a DC Pass GPS Receiver application. This type of NexTek protector has been used on this application for >5 Years and the static-related problems have disappeared!
COLDEST PLACES ON EARTH: The second example involves a similar type of sensor, highly accurate GPS receivers meant for tracking tectonic plate movement. In this case, sensors were being installed in Antarctica during the summer and then left unattended for close to a year each winter. In this case, the collected data was then remotely transmitted back to the United States via Iridium Satellite phone on a regular basis. However, the dry and relentless wind of an Antarctic winter caused a buildup of excessive static charge which was ultimately causing failures of the Iridium Satellite Phone modems. This led to a loss of remote communications with that GPS base station, and a decrease in the real-time functionality of UNAVCO’s network of sensors.
When UNAVCO approached NexTek for help in solving this problem with static energy, we ended up recommending a couple of protection options (QSSTFTFAU00 and QSSTFTFAD00) to install on the cable run between the external antenna and the internal radios (Satellite Phone and Local 900MHz communication.) These arrestors have helped to ensure maximum uptime/availability of every GPS base station and prevent any further damage from Static/ESD build-up in the dry environment.
As fuel efficiency becomes more and more important around the world, and the technologies behind Electric and Hybrid vehicles become more efficient, cost-effective, and prevalent, the number of these vehicles in the world will continue to increase.
As the power systems within these cars get larger and more complex, it can become more and more difficult to pass any EMI Emissions or Susceptibility standards that are applicable to a certain vehicle. With the rising power levels and increased complexity of the control circuits in combination with the environmentally challenging requirements that come along with any automotive application…Not just any high current filter will do. An effective noise filter is not enough, as the filter must also be able to operate in a vibration-heavy environment for years without failure!
NexTek High Current feedthrough filters are currently used across a wide range of Electric and Hybridized vehicles. We have delivered 1000s of filters for car and truck applications, so we have the knowledge and the confidence that only come along with real-world experience. The uniquely rugged and low ESR construction of the HPR family means effective noise-removal up to 1GHz and beyond.
NexTek’s range of filters are available with standard ratings such as:
50-400+ Amps RMS of Thru-Current
Cap Values up to 22µF+
DC Voltage Ratings from 100Vdc up to 1000Vdc
AC Voltage Ratings from 125Vac to 440Vac
Features that make this feedthrough filter ideal for use within Extreme Environments
Rugged Construction – Mechanically De-Coupled Center Electrode
Extended Temperature Range Rating
High Quality Nickel-Brass Construction
NexTek’s HPR Filters provide attenuation of 60dB minimum to 1GHz and beyond.
Did you know that NexTek parts are currently used in Electric and Hybrid vehicles all over the world…? Now you do!
Captured on video in June 2015, this amateur footage shows a lightning bolt hitting a Telecommunications tower directly! The awesome power that thunderstorms contain is on full display, and the speed and violence of a lightning strike are evident. It is easy to understand why lightning can be such a dangerous and damaging event when a strike is captured from this distance and with this much detail.
Up to 200,000 Amps and over 1 Megavolt of potential are contained within each lightning bolt. This is enough energy to melt, damage, or catch fire to anything in its path. In this case, the path is a Cell Phone tower…packed with expensive Electronics & Antennas. While towers (as with any outdoor radio antenna installation) are usually well-grounded and take most of the lightning energy to ground (earth) directly…A portion of the energy will directly or indirectly (induced charge) enter the coaxial RF cables and transmission path during the lightning strike event. This lightning energy can wreak havoc and cause terminal damage to radios, antennas, cables, and anything else in the vicinity as it travels through this equipment in search of a path to ground.
Luckily, there is a way to remove fear of lightning damage to any coaxial cable run or radio & antenna installation. Installation of coaxial lightning & surge protection at appropriate points throughout the system, especially high-quality surge protection designs such as those offered by NexTek, can eliminate concerns about lightning & surge damage. When arrestors are properly installed and grounded, the risk of damage is virtually eliminated.
Of course, the potential danger associated with lightning also extends to people! Be sure to follow Lightning Safety Guidelines…primarily, head indoors as soon as you hear thunder! We are glad that this lucky amateur videographer was OK after shooting this video, but DO NOT recommend trying it again!
As a Chilean volcano erupted in April 2015, photographers were able to capture some incredible lightning-related images. As the ash cloud from a Volcanic eruption rises through the air, the smoke particles buildup a static charge and can be a trigger for Lightning Strikes. This is commonly observed phenomenon during eruptions around the world…Proving that you don’t need a thunderstorm to create lightning!