|[AMRadio] PCB Inspection Warning! |
k4kyv at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 8 13:49:59 EDT 2004
I received a telephone call this morning from a lady who told me she was
doing a followup to a PCB inspection at the radio station that gave me the
Gates BC1-T broadcast transmitter about a year ago. She explained that the
station personnel gave her my name as the person receiving the transmitter,
and that she is required to follow up to keep track of where the PCB had
She asked me a few questions about the transmitter, and I told her what I
was doing with it, and assured her that I had worked with this type of
equipment for many years and that I was aware of the PCB situation and the
requirement that they be disposed of properly. I also explained that there
were many items on the transmitter, such as tar-filled transformers and
electrolytic capacitors that had been mislabeled as "PCB devices". I
explained that the only actual PCB devices in the transmitter were the HV
power supply capacitors and that none of the transformers contained PCB. She
seemed satisfied at my response.
She asked me if the parts that were mislabelled "PCB" had been tested or
otherwise how did I know they did not contain PCB. She seemed satisfied with
my response that I was familiar with the nameplates and part #'s on the
components (such as the UTC CG series filter choke).
She told me she was going to write in ther report that the only PCB
components involved in this case are "small capacitors" which, evidently,
are exempt from stringent regulations covering "large capacitors".
The lady was very cordial and pleasant to talk with. Hopefully this will be
the last I hear on the topic. I have LOADS of PCB capacitors in my 40+ years
I thought it might be wise to pass this along since many members of this
board have acquired transmitters from broadcast stations and may eventually
be contacted in a similar inquiry. Evidently all commercial users of
anything with PCB must account for every item they dispose of. To avoid
further hassle, it might be a good idea to have your story already prepared
and anything of significance documented in such a way as to satisfy any
inquisitors. This is especially true if anything in the transmitter has one
of the yellow "PCB" decals attached. This means that it is on record
somewhere that the unit contains PCB. I would suggest assuring anyone making
an inquiry that all capacitors are in the "small" category, still in use it
the transmitter, and that you know how to properly dispose of them, or at
least you know not to throw them in the dump.
In order not to cause the source of retired transmitters to dry up, we need
to bend over backwards to satisfy the PCB inquisitors. All it would take
would be one or two cases of a station management being hassled about giving
away PCP-laden stuff that was later improperly disposed of, for the story to
circulate throughout the industry, resulting in a standard corporate policy
not to release abandoned transmitters to private individuals. The person who
talks to you may not be as cordial as the lady who called me.
I recall a ham out west telling me several years ago that a station manager
refused to let him have a 1 kw transmitter with a quad of 833A's because he
was so paranoid about liability over PCB. When the ham offered to remove all
the likely PCB components and leave them on-site for proper disposal, the
manager still refused, apparently believing that the mere presence of one
PCB capacitor somehow contaminated everything inside the box, and that he
might eventually be held liable even for releasing the 833A's! So the
station paid top dollar to some hazardous waste disposal company to move an
entire 1000+ lb. tranasmitter to a special site for "proper" disposal.
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