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Daniel My Brother

Getting shocked

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I parked my car under high voltage power lines and went fishing in a channel near my home yesterday. It turned colder, my feet were wet and the fish stopped biting so I decided to head home.

I loaded my rod into the car and when I went to shut the trunk I got shocked. Then, when I placed my hand on the trunk I could feel a low vibration running through the car, almost like a hum. Every time I touched my car I would get a little shock, like static electricity. If I touched my door 5 times in a row, it shocked me 5 times in a row.

I was a little nervous about even trying to start the car, but it fired right up and I drove away. I will continue to fish this area, but I will avoid the high voltage lines in the future.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

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No.  You should report this to the utility company responsible for that area.  

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Similar thing happened to me years ago.

Was fishing during the summer when it clouded up and I could hear thunder in the distance, but didn't see any lightning. I casted and my line "levitated" a few inches above the surface of the water, like a static charge was repelling it. Just about scared the ***** out of me. No shame in telling you I dropped the rod and ran like a little girl back to my truck until it blew over.

Glad to hear you didn't get "bit".

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Similar thing happened to me years ago.

Was fishing during the summer when it clouded up and I could hear thunder in the distance, but didn't see any lightning. I casted and my line "levitated" a few inches above the surface of the water, like a static charge was repelling it. Just about scared the crap out of me. No shame in telling you I dropped the rod and ran like a little girl back to my truck until it blew over.

Glad to hear you didn't get "bit".

You weren't being a "little girl".  You did the right thing.  The line "levitating" indicated charged particles around you and indicated an area tha lightning could likely strike.  Some anglers report hearing a buzzing sound from their rod or the hair on their arms standing up.

If I touched my door 5 times in a row, it shocked me 5 times in a row.

Daniel, I think once would be enough for me.  :o  It sounds like there was definitely some extra electricity in the vicinity there.  Perhaps a power surge going on or something.  I agree that calling the power company might help keep others safe.  

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Glad you guys were alright.  Please remember, graphite rods WILL conduct electricity.

Eddie

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Similar thing happened to me years ago.

Was fishing during the summer when it clouded up and I could hear thunder in the distance, but didn't see any lightning. I casted and my line "levitated" a few inches above the surface of the water, like a static charge was repelling it. Just about scared the crap out of me. No shame in telling you I dropped the rod and ran like a little girl back to my truck until it blew over.  

There's nothing girlish about that in my book!  Electricity and lightning are nothing to screw around with.  Heck!  I might've even let out a shriek or whimper on the way back to the car.

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   I agree, running like a girl makes the difference between you being alive and getting a darwin award.

  I be sorry but dem levitatin' fishin' lines, is where I draw da line. I would be running like a pack of little girls

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Without getting too technical, electricity that runs through wires doesn't all stay within the wire.  The best way I can explain it is that it sort of acts like a magnet.  Remember in elementary school when the teacher used a magnet and iron filings to demonstrate the magnet's force field?  The further from the magnet, the weaker the field was.  Well, electricity acts very much the same way.  The higher the voltage on the line, the stronger the field is.  That's why very high voltage lines are suspended much higher off the ground than the power lines in your neighborhood.

In very humid conditions the field comes much closer to the ground because, as we all know, water conducts electricity.  It's never lethal, but it can be VERY disconcerting if you are unfamiliar with what is going on.

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Long Mike, Thanks for that explanation.

Update: I've learned that finding out what company is in charge of a particular high voltage line in rural Missouri is trickier than finding bass in deep water.  I did finally get in touch with the right company and the first thing they asked was if it was windy (yes it was) and after reading Long Mike's response that question makes more sense now.

They seemed genuinely concerned, but not alarmed, and said they would look into it.

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The magnetic field around the wires is dependent on the current flow in the wires. Normally a 3 phase system will produce a field around each wire. The three currents are 120 degrees apart, and, if equal the fields will cancel each other. For the situation you described, there had to be seriously unbalanced load on this system.

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You may also ponder this.

The Ten Commandments of Electrical Safety

I. Beware of the lightning that lurks in an undischarged capacitor lest it cause thee to be bounced upon thy backside in a most ungainly manner.

II. Cause thou the switch that supplies large quantities of juice to be opened and thusly tagged, so thy days may be long on this earthly vale of tears.

III. Prove to thyself that all circuits that radiateth and upon which thou worketh are grounded lest they lift thee to high-frequency potential and cause thee to radiate also.

IV. Take care thou useth the proper method when thou taketh the measure of high-voltage circuits so that thou doth not incinerate both thee and the meter, for verily though thou hast no account number and can be easily replaced, the meter doth have one and as a consequence bringeth much woe upon the supply department.

V. Tarry thee not amongst those who engage in intentional shocks for they are surely non-believers and are not long for this world.

VI. Take care thou tampereth not with interlocks and safety devices, for this incureth the wrath of thy seniors and bringeth the fury of the safety officer down upon thy head and shoulders.

VII. Work thee not on energized equipment, for if thou doeth, thy mates will surely be buying lunch without thee and thy space at the table will be filled by another.

VIII. Verily, verily I say unto thee, never service high-voltage equipment alone, for electric cooking is a slothful process, and thou might sizzle in thy own fat for hours on end before thy Maker sees fit to end thy misery and drag thee into His fold.

IX. Trifle thee not with radioactive tubes and substances lest thou commence to glow in the dark like a lightning bug.

X. Commit thee to memory the works of the prophets, which are written in the instruction books, which giveth the straight info and which consoleth thee, and thou cannot make mistakes.

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Gary, you are truly an eloquent man.  Incoherent, but eloquent.  ;D ;D ;D

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Did you know that you can light up a 4 ft Flourescent Bulb under HIGH VOLTAGE power lines ? Neither did I until I watched an instructor do it in one of the classes I took for work

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Did you know that you can light up a 4 ft Flourescent Bulb under HIGH VOLTAGE power lines ? Neither did I until I watched an instructor do it in one of the classes I took for work

We actually did that in class when I was going through my apprenticeship...In a controlled environment of course ;D

Tricky stuff....

Keep this in mind    it takes a little to scare ya and less to kill ya

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