[AMRadio] Amazed any young ham made it to adulthood

CL in NC mjcal77 at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 19 21:00:33 EST 2009

I thought electric shock was a right a passage.  I tried to build a Jacobs ladder as a kid of about 10, using brazing rods, a Ford ignition coil, and a Lionel train transformer.  Yes, I knocked the stuffing out of myself, but I learned something in the process.  I had a real Gilbert Erector set too, with all kinds of sharp metal items, a real 110VAC electric motor, and an imagination to build twirling things of great danger.  My first electronic project was right out of Boys Life Magazine as a Cub Scout, a 2 tube audio amp, transformerless I might add.  Worked like a champ, and not a word of warning in the directions about how this could be dangerous, just if it hummed  turn the AC plug around.  The only 'real' shock I have endured was from my GE Prog Line, I had mounted to a 19 inch rack panel with speaker, discriminator meter, volume, squelch, and a pot to adjust the screen voltage of the final to change power out.  It was on, and I needed to turn it
 over, and when I reached around both sides of the radio chassis, I grabbed hold of the 110 in.  The weight of the radio is what broke the connection when it shook loose from my hands.

Everything in this hobby can be dangerous, just like everything in life is dangerous.  If you take care in what your doing, you can avoid the stupid mistakes, but failures of interlocks, insulation, or tower sections will claim even the most careful.  To leave the 'dangerous stuff' to a real technician is fine if you bought a Volvo just because it's a safe car.  But, to be afraid to open up a piece of equipment after following the safety rules because it says 'Danger HV', makes as much sense as buying a rifle and never firing it because it has the words, "may cause injury or death" engraved on top of the barrel.

Charlie W4MEC in NC


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