[AMRadio] Shocking Stories

D. Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Wed Jan 21 00:01:50 EST 2009

My shocking story dates back to November, 1960, the night of the 
Kennedy-Nixon election.

I had stayed up to the wee hours listening to election returns on the radio. 
In the meantime I decided to work on my transmitter, a homebrew pair of 
807's, which I was attempting to modulate with a hi-fi amplifier working 
into a backwards connected single plate to 8 ohms output transformer, which 
served as the modulation transformer.  I had about 1000 volts on the plates 
of the 807's.

I was holding the microphone in one hand and reached to make an adjustment 
on the transmitter with the other, when I got zapped from arm to arm from 
the 1000-volt supply between the microphone and transmitter cabinet.  I had 
not taken the precaution to ground the amplifier, and the 
backwards-connected output transformer shorted from primary to secondary, 
but the insulation in the power transformer in the amplifier held up intact, 
leaving the entire chassis of the amplifier 1000 volts above ground.

I could not turn loose of the microphone or release my grip from the 
transmitter case.  The only way I managed to disengage myself from the high 
voltage was when I stood up, I fell over backwards and ripped the microphone 
cord out of the connector.  I remember  falling to the floor and hitting the 
back of my head on a glass 6L6 that was lying in the floor and breaking it. 
My arms contracted towards my chest spastically and uncontrollably.  I had 
severe burns on both hands, and my chest and arms were extremely sore the 
next day.

If I hadn't managed to break loose more or less by accident, someone would 
have found me hanging on the transmitter the next morning, since everyone 
else in the house  had gone to bed hours earlier and I was in the upstairs 
ham shack well out of earshot.

Don k4kyv

This message was typed using the DVORAK keyboard layout.


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