(1) You could not know how much I wished I found lightning protection to be as simple as you describe. I nor anyone I know or have known in the radio and television broadcasting industry have ever been able find this task simple.
(2) For me lightning is utterly capricious.
You do everything that every informed homeowner must do. And then more. The simple stuff as described must be implemented by all. Homeowners need only worry about a destructive surge maybe once every seven years. Your tower means, for example, protection on the coax is more than just earthing its shield. Due to electrical characteristics not found in residential venues, your coax cable must implement a GDT that earths both shield and center conductor. Your single point ground must be more than ground rods. You probably also implement a bulkhead that also increases impedance to wires entering the building. To have earthing that is just a little bit better, you must expand that earthing system immensely and expensively.
But all surge protection systems implement the simple concepts as posted. Any homeowner that does not have that minimum has virtually no protection.
Lightning is not capricious. Any damage means a human has made a mistake. The number of possible mistakes can be so numerous that lightning appears to be capricious. But every failure means a human should locate and fix a mistake. To learn from damage.
A case study for a Nebraska radio station demonstrated the concepts. And yes, earthing at the utility transformer is important for station protection. In one west coast station, inadequate (maybe missing) earthing of the utility transformer therefore connected 33,000 volts directly into the station via the lower voltage service. If the utility transformer is not properly earthed, then plasma inside that transformer can short the 33,000 volts to 240 volt service. Into radio stations. And into residential homes. Just another example of what all home owners should inspect. And what should be carefully inspected (maybe upgraded) in all facilities.
From another industry professional:
> Well I assert, from personal and broadcast experience spanning 30 years, that you can
> design a system that will handle *direct lightning strikes* on a routine basis. It takes
> some planning and careful layout, but it's not hard, nor is it overly expensive. At
> WXIA-TV, my other job, we take direct lightning strikes nearly every time there's a
> thunderstorm. Our downtime from such strikes is almost non-existant. The last time
> we went down from a strike, it was due to a strike on the power company's lines
> knocking *them* out, ...
> Since my disasterous strike, I've been campaigning vigorously to educate amateurs that
> you *can* avoid damage from direct strikes. The belief that there's no protection from
> direct strike damage is *myth*. ...
> The keys to effective lightning protection are surprisingly simple, and surprisingly less
> than obvious. Of course you *must* have a single point ground system that eliminates
> all ground loops. And you must present a low *impedance* path for the energy to go.
> That's most generally a low *inductance* path rather than just a low ohm DC path.
The protector is simple science. If it does not have earthing, then it cannot make hundreds of thousands of joules irrelevant. Earthing is an art. An art that, if not understood, can make lightning appear capricious. Lightning always is electrically predictable. Because it is an art, sometimes prediction occurs after damage. But in every facility, earthing that energy before it can enter a building is always essential for effective protection.
So that lightning does not find earth destructively through a structure, earth lightning rods. So that lightning does not find earth destructively through appliances, earth a 'whole house' protector. Then do even more at facilities at greater risk such as radio stations.
The principles for all protection systems are same. Protection is always about where energy dissipates. A protector does not absorb surges. An effective protector shunts / bonds / connects / switches / conducts / diverts energy to earth. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. What every homeowner must understand to have effective protection.