[AMRadio] Shocking Stories (was: amazed...)

sbjohnston at aol.com sbjohnston at aol.com
Tue Jan 20 00:32:36 EST 2009

> Someday I'll tell the story of the 300-watt guitar amp and the metal
> screwdriver...    it went to 11, alright...

Listen to the substain, man...

Steve WD8DAS

sbjohnston at aol.com
Radio is your best entertainment value.

-----Original Message-----
From: John Lawson <jpl15 at panix.com>
To: Discussion of AM Radio in the Amateur Service 
<amradio at mailman.qth.net>
Sent: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 10:53 pm
Subject: [AMRadio] Shocking Stories (was: amazed...)

    I lived in a coastal canyon for many years. Right after I got my 
I amassed the typical 'impossible dream of electronic childhood' - a 
Collins S-Line set-up.

   Before I had any antenna smarts, I stretched an enormous long-wire 
to one end of my property, very nearly 500 feet of copper. And, I 
it, with coax. (Well, I used RG8 - what could go wrong???)  No
counterpoise, no grounds (three-story house perched on a 50-degree 

    This mess was matched to the transmitter with a horrible home-brew 
I got at a ham-fest - a huge butterfly variable cap and a 4-inch tapped
coil and switch on an open aluminum chassis.

    One afternoon, I tuned 'er up, made a few contacts, chewed a rag or 
- then it was Dinner Time.  After relaxing a bit, I returned to the 
to see what Night would bring....   one of the things Night brought was 
15-degree drop in outside temperature.  And the 500 feet of copper 

    I had a footswitch attached to the PTT line, and, after checking 
the transmitter was still in tune, listened for a bit and called CQ - 
a station right back.

   When it was again my turn, I hit the footswitch and leaned into the
microphone, whereupon a nice fat little 1-inch RF arc leapt from the 
to the side of my lip.  Seems a voltage node had 'backed' back into the
shack with the change in length/tuning...

    "Okay, Station X, FB on the..." zzzZZAAp!  "*&{}#&*$*!!!$*(*@~!!!!"

  What I screamed into the open mike cannot be reproduced here, and
certainly has no place on the ham bands...   HIHI!!

    For months after that I cringed every time I opened the mailbox,
expecting a nice little note from the FCC inviting me to explain 
but, I'm still here, as is my ticket.

     Someday I'll tell the story of the 300-watt guitar amp and the 
screwdriver...    it went to 11, alright...


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