[AMRadio] A special day today

robertcharles at att.net robertcharles at att.net
Mon Jan 19 17:07:01 EST 2009

You are a jewel for sharing your story with us. Fortunately for me, I have never experienced anything other then a shock across the CW Key contacts....and that was bad enough for me back in the late 60's-70's.
-------------- Original message from sbjohnston at aol.com: -------------- 

> It is indeed a special day today. I'm working on the restoration of my 
> old WRL Galaxy 300 SSB transceiver - my first SSB rig I bought as a new 
> General lo those many years ago. I had to pull use all my savings, 
> plus cash gifts from my parents and grandmother to scrape enough money 
> to buy it mail-order from Associated Radio in Kansas City. I think it 
> cost $229. 
> This is the rig that put me in the hospital on Martin Luther King Day 
> 1977 or 1978. I was 13-14 years old, fooling around one evening in my 
> room, trying to determine why there was a tube shield on the Galaxy's 
> 6BZ6 RF amp tube. It is located right behind the finals in the PA 
> compartment. 
> At one point I got very careless. With the transceiver turned on 
> (bad), in fact transmitting a full-power carrier (very bad), I lifted 
> the lid and reached back in with my right hand to remove the 6BZ6's 
> shield. Trouble is, to get to it I reached over the two 6HF5 finals and 
> their plate caps with about 900 volts DC, plus a couple hundred watts 
> of RF. My wrist touched the plate caps at the same time my fingers 
> reached the tube shield, and the shocking and the burning commenced. 
> My hand drew up in a fist, making it seemingly impossible to pull it 
> back out. With the pain of the electric shock and RF burns I couldn't 
> get my hand out! Fortunately I was only using one hand for this 
> madness, and I ultimately pushed myself away with my other hand on the 
> wooden desk. This also meant that the current had only flowed through 
> my hand and arm, not across my chest (very good). 
> I had some pretty serious and painful burns on my hand and forearm. 
> Clutching my wounded limb, I sat on my bed considering my options. I 
> had a VERY BIG CONCERN that if I told my parents what had happened 
> they'd stop my ham hobby dead. I was also very embarrassed to have 
> hurt myself in such a dumb way. But I was also hurting pretty bad, and 
> worried about the side-effects of a strong shock, so I concluded to be 
> up-front about it. Not sure now how I would have hidden the injuries 
> anyway. now that I think about it thirty years later. 
> They handled it very well, and took me to the hospital emergency room. 
> The doctor did not understand the situation very well and was checking 
> my feet for burns, worried about my heart, etc - and he demanded that I 
> be kept overnight. I was admitted and put into a bed in a room with 
> eight patients. 
> All night long, every few minutes one or another of these poor souls 
> needed a nurse for something and would start calling out, ringing 
> bells, moaning and crying. The nurse would finally enter, switching on 
> the gigantic bank of fluorescent lights that lit the whole room like 
> the surface of the sun. Click... zzzzzz.. , snap, snap, snap as the 
> lights fired individually and finally hummmmmm they were on and I was 
> blinded by the light. No sleep for me, and I spent part of the the 
> next day in the hospital wasting a school holiday - Martin Luther King 
> Day. 
> My parents never said a word in judgment of my foolishness or against 
> ham radio because of this accident. And I was able to "milk" my 
> injury to get me out of gym class for several months (very good). 
> "Before" photos of the Galaxy 300 at 
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/34505242@N02/sets/72157612756003726/ 
> Steve WD8DAS 
> sbjohnston at aol.com 
> http://www.wd8das.net/ 
> ----------------------------------------------------- 
> Radio is your best entertainment value. 
> ----------------------------------------------------- 
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