I had to terminate my activation of GW/MW-025 very quickly this afternoon because of dangerous static build-up on the antenna. The first indications were a crackling noise in the receiver, similar to car ignition noise, slowly building up in strength and pulse speed until it was almost a high-pitched whine.
Then I started to get electric shocks from the Palm Key casing and the metal case of the rig. Concerned that the receiver might suffer damage, I unplugged the antenna from the rig … receiving several sharp shocks in doing so! When the coax downlead was disconnected, I was somewhat alarmed to see (and hear) a blue spark jumping between the centre pin and the shield of the PL259 plug every couple of seconds.
I was quite surprised that the short antenna I was using at the time (a half-wave wire dipole for 28 MHz at 7m height) was able to pick up enough potential to produce sparks across the plug. Interesting too that it was not raining at the time, no lightning was visible, but thunder could be heard in the distance. I packed up swiftly and headed for the safety of the car at the foot of the hill!
It certainly served as a timely reminder that one needs to exercise extreme caution when operating from an exposed hill-top in thundery weather.