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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Secret To Clean Ham Gear

from WA6MOW, Alan Vega on July 18, 2012
View comments about this article!

I love ham gear and enjoy using different rigs, keys, paddles etc. Most of the used equipment I purchase arrives filthy. If not filthy, knobs with dust embedded in the grooves, maybe a few miscellaneous stains( I'm not sure I want to know what they are), years of someone’s greasy fingers turning knobs.

Here is a secret but be sure not to pass it around. The miracle product I use to make my gear look new again is Pledge. The same product your XYL uses to dust furniture etc.

Pledge can be used on the entire radio including the screen if a new clean soft synthetic fiber cloth is used. A Q-tip with just a smear of Pledge on it will clean the dirt from grooves in knobs and also hard to reach places. It will not remove the lettering but will leave you with like new equipment.

Take a close look at the gear you stare at on a daily basis and do it a favor and make it shine!

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by LNXAUTHOR on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
thanks for the tip, but sorry, no, i wouldn't use Pledge on my rig's LCD panels

plus it would make my QRP gear slippery, and i've already named my MFJ-259 'Bouncing Betty,' after she feel off the dropped gate of the truck onto a concrete driveway (she still works fine, albeit with a few dings and scratches!)

:-)
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K9CTB on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea, Alan ... I've never tried Pledge (or any furniture polish) on my ham gear. I have used Armor All with similar results. I think I like the Pledge idea better because it - at least the Pledge my wife buys - has a nice scent.

73,
K9CTB
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K1CJS on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There are ingredients in Pledge that will harm some surfaces, especially the surfaces of LCD screens. Why do you think that the makers of most of those screens say to clean only with a soft cloth dampened with just water?
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NN4RH on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe for boat anchors, but I would never use Pledge on anything plastic.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NN4RH on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
If you really want to keep the gear clean, don't get it filthy in the first place:

- Don't smoke around it
- Don't drink anything around it
- Don't eat around it
- Wash your hands once in awhile
- Brush or blow dust off of it occassionally
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K9MHZ on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"- Wash your hands once in awhile"

LOL!

Also add....

- Bathe while you're at it


 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by VE7REN on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
i pull all knobs off, wash them in the sink with dish soap and water. hot cloth on all the other rig covers,etc. a little elbow action and a hot/warm cloth with some dish soap does wonders.....plege or any othe s would just leave more a build up of grime......yes people. wash your hands once in a while too.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by VA2FSQ on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Will this remove beer and pizza stains?
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K3AN on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There must be a few U.S. Navy vets here, where on board a ship, "It doesn't matter if it works as long as it shines."
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KB7XU on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
For the past 33 years, I've used WD-40 on the exteriors of my electronics gear with the exception of the LCD and glass displays. I spray it on a rag or use a cotton swab when needed. The label on the can has no warnings about WD-40 being harmful to plastics, nor have I experienced any problems with it over the past three decades. Just wipe it off well and take the grime with it. Rust prevention is an added bonus on metal surfaces and it doesn't attract dust anymore than any other cleaner if wiped off thoroughly.

I use alcohol on glass surfaces and lens cleaner on LCD displays depending on how bad the contamination is.

WD-40 has worked exceeding well for me over the years. The equipment shines when I finish plus I like the smell of the equipment once the cleanup is finished.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KB6QXM on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
But my radio has no buttons or knobs to clean. Just a blue on/off switch.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KJ6ETL on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use a Scotch magic eraser on anything but the soft plastic display.

Use some mild household cleaner (soapy water) to moisten (not wet!) the sponge and rub your gear clean. Finish with a microfiber cloth.

For display's use "iClear".


This is how I clean computers before I hand them back to my clients :-)

Rogier

KJ6ETL
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by HAMMYGUY on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge is great for shining shoes too!

For displays with scratches use a product called Displex.

For radios with the nasty stench of cigarettes give a quick cleaning then use an ionizer blowing directly on them for a few days.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by HAMMYGUY on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge is great for shining shoes too!

For displays with scratches use a product called Displex.

For radios with the nasty stench of cigarettes give a quick cleaning then use an ionizer blowing directly on them for a few days.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by HAMMYGUY on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge is great for shining shoes too!

For displays with scratches use a product called Displex.

For radios with the nasty stench of cigarettes give a quick cleaning then use an ionizer blowing directly on them for a few days.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by HAMMYGUY on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge is great for shining shoes too!

For displays with scratches use a product called Displex.

For radios with the nasty stench of cigarettes give a quick cleaning then use an ionizer blowing directly on them for a few days.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K4CMD on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
All kidding aside, I too am a bit of a cleanliness nut when it comes to my ham gear, most of which I purchase new and prefer to keep looking new. (This is the same way I've been treating my home entertainment equipment for years.) About once a month I go over the front panels and exteriors of all gear -- along with my computer keyboards, microphones and iambic paddle -- with the camel's hair brush attachment of the vacuum cleaner hose -- after I've rotated the vent on the hose so that the suction is minimal. Then I invade the linen closet and find the softest but thinnest washcloth I can find, and the softest and thickest hand towel I can find. I wet the washcloth with hot water and wring it out nearly completely. By the time I'm in the shack, the washcloth is warm but not hot. I go over the front panels, LCD displays, etc. (including the display on my laptop and 21-inch external monitor) with the slightly damp washcloth, and I "dust" all the cabinetry and the table with it after doing all the gear. (The thinness of the washcloth I selected enables it to get down into the grooves of microphones, corners of displays, indents in tuning knobs, etc.) Then I get the fluffy hand towel and dry everything off. Good as new. Every six months or so I open up the covers of anything that has a fan in it (rig, power supply) and hit those areas with the aforementioned reduced-suction vac brush -- gently. No damp washcloths there though! :) The results of these few moments of TLC are gear that looks new as long as I own it, and well-padded pockets from ebay or the hamfest when the gear and I finally part ways.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KG6YV on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have never used Pledge but I can attest to the value of two other products, 409 and Simple Green. 409 works
well to clean knobs and surfaces on newer radios. If you wish you can follow up with some form of spray polish. Simple Green is the only product I have found that will dissolve nicotine and skin oil residue without scrubbing hard. Both products need to sit on the surface ~5 minutes, but I have sprayed Simple Green
on old boat anchors even the chassis. It take off grease, oil and nicotine with "no sweat". It won't harm plastic either. I've used it on old dials withno adverse effect.

FYI,

Greg
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KE7FD on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
One thing that is often over looked that can have multiple benefits is using a can of compressed air or my favorite, an air compressor. This will blow dust out of the rig allowing it to cool more effectively saving it from premature heat failures and if used right clean a lot of the gumbo clinging to the tight niches. It's still good to use something safe, like a Windex type of cleaner that wipes off without leaving an oily, dust attracting surface followed by the blast of air. A Windex type of product is safe to use on the screens too, just don't spray on the screen directly; apply to a soft cloth then wipe the screen.

This topic as a whole is however, one that is often neglected and I appreciate the reminder from the author.

Thanks!

Glen - KE7FD
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K7LA on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Our professional window installer with 25 years experience in the business recommends Pledge as a track lubricant for the new generation energy efficient windows. He's right, the windows slide open with virtually no friction and is extremely cost effective.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N0AH on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Powerade ZERO has no goo in it except the electrolytes we find, especially in the mixed berry, that has restored our aluminum on many antennas to their shiny new luster-
 
Q-Tip insanity??  
by W8KQE on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I make my own plastic rig covers using a roll of cheap drop cloth plastic from the hardware store. Q-Tips with a tiny dab of Windex work wonders on tuning knob grooves, and between pushbuttons and knobs. I am obsessive about clean, grease-free gear as well, and even use the Q-Tips to press my rigs' pushbuttons! If I could afford a truly expensive, all out high-end rig like a Yaesu FTDX-9000 or an Icom IC-7800, i'd probably operate it with rubber gloves and a hazmat suit! LOL!
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by VE3BJY on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Keep the gear covered when not in use.
Windex sprayed on a paper towel or clean soft cloth damp to clean.
For dirtier stuff WD40 sprayed in a paper towel or clean soft cloth damp to clean followed by Windex as above to take the film off. No WD40 on plastic displays but great on knobs, etc. Q Tip for detail stuff if needed.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W6CAW on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Windex, an old tooth brush, and a soft hand towel. To keep the LCD screen on your HT's new cut a correct size off the plastic screen covers used for smart phones and stick it over a clean display. One of the many good motorcycle face shield cleaners / scratch removers can make an old scratched LCD display look great.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K6CRC on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
For old stuff, Ammonia works the best. Takes off nicotine, and the unknown/gross stains found on most old ham stuff. In my experience, it doesn't remove paint or damage the old style plastic. I used Ammonia on an old Hammarlund RX. It removed all the outside crud, no damage to the paint, even on the dial lettering. Need to use in a well ventilated area, and far away from bleach.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K9CTB on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I wanted to amplify what Craig, W6CAW said (above) about the display cover plastic. I didn't know about those until my wife had bought a multi-piece kit and had cut one out to cover the touch-screen display on the digital-tape video camera I bought for her years back. They work using static electricity so there's no gummy adhesive. We made a cover for the screen of my I-phone and then we carefully cut a piece to fit my IC-746pro display ... then my IC-718! They all look great. Now it's sort of become the "Frank's Hot Sauce" of my household. We put that s[tuff] on everything! Haven't found sheets large enough to place on my touchpad, but we're looking!!

73,
K9CTB
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NP3NU on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Baby wipes are the must “diabolic” degreaser I ever used, and it’s safe. (Use on babies…dhaaaa..). Just try it on knobs and metal not on displays, just water or alcohol on displays. And like other fellow said WD-40 is excellent especially on metals.

73.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K8AXW on July 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Some of the products mentioned here will clean finger oils and other time accumulated crud.

However, for daily or weekly dusting nothing beats a Swiffer! I introduced my wife to Swiffers a couple years ago. She was very skeptical until she finally tried one and hasn't looked back since. It reduces the time to dust everything..... including our ham gear with all of the windows, knobs, switches, etc.

It will reduce the time needed for dusting with Pledge or any other rag applied product by 98%.

K8AXW
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by G3LBS on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I clean mine by entering contests.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K7NNG on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
For the last 50 plus years, I have just put the rigs in a dishwasher....never had a failure because of that type of washing. Of course, certain components must be protected.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N0YG on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Since we are telling LIES here, how about flushing the toilet and with rubber gloves slosh the equipment it in the water. Then wrap with a towel around equipment and duct tape the towel on so it won't come off and through it in the dryer for 18 minutes. The towel polishes the equipment to such a shine you will think that 20 yr old boat anchor is brand new.
DISCLAIMER::::
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME AS IT WILL PROBABLY DESTROY YOUR EQUIPMENT !
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N1DVJ on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"an air compressor"

Be VERY careful using compressed air in, on, or around a chassis.

It can physically damage caps that have exposed plates. It can blow particulate matter into non-sealed pots causing them to go noisy very quickly. And blowing it on a dc fan can cause the fan to turn into a generator. If you have any microprocessor or thermal circuit control of the fan it can destroy it. Not the fan, but the controlling device or circuit. If you DO want to blow a fan, PIN the fan so it doesn't spin while you blow it out.

Blowing air in a chassis also can cause dirt and debris to just go into corners. Overall, a VERY bad idea. Unless you only care about now and not about down the road.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K1PJR on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Metal Armor paint and hard surface polish is by far the best hard surface polish I have ever come across. I heard about it at an antique radio restoration forum. Not cheap but put a few drops on metal or plastic and buff with a cloth and the resulting shine is amazing. No left over film or residue.

http://www.metalarmor.net/products.htm
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K1FPV on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
For sure, I believe in using WD-40 on a soft cloth to clean rig cabinets as well as any boat anchor chassis. It gives the rig, both plastic and metal a nice shine, removes grease, not to mention a nice smell too. I use Windex for the displays on the rigs as well as computer monitors.

Once a month, I use the XYL's Swiffer to dust the vents on rigs as well as heat sinks and the air ports on my computers. Speaking of computers, besides keeping them clean and free of dust, I once a year open them up, use a soft paint brush to loosen any dust inside and use a compressor to get any other dust out, then use a touch of WD-40 on the fans. Maybe that is one reason I'm still able to keep my old 13 year old Athlon machine using Windows 2000 running reliably.(It is more reliable than much newer machines....it doesn't crash either....love the stability of Windows 2000 !!!)
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by WX7G on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use Windex on my radios. It's the universal cleaner.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by EI7IR on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have always used a make-up brush to clean dust from the front panel and all around the outside of all my radio gear.Although some of it is 14 years old it looks like it just came out of the box.It only takes a minute to do it I would recommend this to anyone.

Regards Paraic EI7IR
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W4HLN on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'd rather strap it to the roof rack of the car and run it through a car wash!


Seriously though I use WINDEX for ELECTRONICS....It's made for paint/enamel/powder coat surfaces and is gentle on LCD's and plastic. Works great!

Ernie
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W1RKW on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A DC fan controlled by Hall Effect devices will not produce a voltage if spun up.

<<"an air compressor"

Be VERY careful using compressed air in, on, or around a chassis.

It can physically damage caps that have exposed plates. It can blow particulate matter into non-sealed pots causing them to go noisy very quickly. And blowing it on a dc fan can cause the fan to turn into a generator. If you have any microprocessor or thermal circuit control of the fan it can destroy it. Not the fan, but the controlling device or circuit. If you DO want to blow a fan, PIN the fan so it doesn't spin while you blow it out.

Blowing air in a chassis also can cause dirt and debris to just go into corners. Overall, a VERY bad idea. Unless you only care about now and not about down the road. >>
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N1DVJ on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
OK... Take Roberts advice and take your fan out and see if it's a hall effect controlled fan first...
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N3IG on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use end dust on the case and front panel since I don't think it has as high of a wax content as regular furniture polish. I apply it by spraying it on the rag then wiping down the radio since I don't want to be spraying it in any heat vents and letting it set on a circuit board.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K9CTB on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Heh - for N0YG's benefit -- Had a mentor tell me about the diswasher thing. I actually placed a TR-4C in the dishwasher. Minus the meter and the VFO, however. I decided to get my courage up due to a procedure we used when I worked as an overhaul technician on military radio (mostly navy) gear. We actually *did* strip it down of paper items (speakers, etc) as well as meter movements and such (some meters on military gear are sealed), but the rest got scrubbed with soap, water and a sash brush. Honestly. When I first observed the technique, I was appalled. But after a visit to the paint and lettering shop .... the gear looked brand new! And darned if my TR-4C didn't look just as nice when I was finished. Now, you *do* have to go through each and every potentiometer with spray-clean and take them through their range several times, as well as lubricate all variable capacitor bearings ... but the technique worked -- quite well.

73,
K9CTB
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N1FOY on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
On the below linked page is an article about cleaning your amplifier and also about installing a temp sensor. Caution, it may cause some to disagree and some to chuckle....maybe.

http://home.roadrunner.com/~imageteklabs/n1foy/org.html

www.n1foy.com

73

Foy
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N8RFI on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Two products that seem to work well for me. 3M Office & Electronics cleaner in spray can. Not sure what is in it, but I think some sort of ammonia product which melts off nicotine from smoke. For cleaning plastic and especially clear lenses, I use a water less car wash product. Not only does it clean, but it has wax properties in it that make plastic shine and helps take out light scratches.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by WA6MOW on July 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge is different than 409 or other degreaser type products which could easily damage equipment.
I have used Pledge for years on my expensive aircraft avionics including moving map screens. I would never recommend a product to clean a beloved piece of ham gear unless I knew for a fact there was no chance of harming it. I thought I would pass my knowledge along to my fellow hams as a recommendation so be guided accordingly.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KB1LKR on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There must be a few U.S. Navy vets here, where on board a ship, "It doesn't matter if it works as long as it shines."

Thought that was "If it moves: salute it, if it doesn't: chip and paint it"

LCD screens, plastic meter windows, etc. can also be cleaned w/ Novus No. 1 Plastic Clean & Shine.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W0CBF on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Nothing smells better than a new rig in the shack. 73's
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W8AAZ on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Trim you nails? That must be the explanation for the scratches and paint chipping off around all the knobs. You see radios with the bare metal showing thru there. I have no idea how people must live to tear up their rigs in the shack, judging from the used stuff I see.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K8QV on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
And I thought motorcyclists were obsessive-compulsive. We also use Pledge, by the way.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KJ4RHB on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My recommendation for electronics is to use specially formulated computer wipes which are safe for LCD screens.

One can also buy telephone wipes in office supply stores which works wonders on removing dirt and grime on most plastics.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W5GNB on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It's hard to beat WD-40 and a tooth brush but I really keep my gear Clean by staying AWAY from 14.313................
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by AC5UP on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
W4HLN Wrote:
" I'd rather strap it to the roof rack of the car and run it through a car wash! "

That's how they do it at the annual GOP dog wash & fundraiser.........
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KJ4YAC on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
And if you dump a hot bowl of chili on your computer keyboard, go and buy a new keyboard.

Trust me on this...
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K2FOX on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I never use any type of cleaner. Just a small soft brisle brush (it came with an electric razor that I never use)and a can of compressed air (not an air compressor as they tend to produce moisture). And I cover the radios when not in use.
 
For Knobs and plastic parts  
by W4DSN on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
For knobs and small plastic parts, get yourself an ultrasonic cleaner, like the ones they sell to clean CDs. I think I paid about $30 for mine. Just take the knobs and put them in the cleaner with plain, distilled water. You may have to run them through a few cycles if the are really cruddy.

Also works good for variable caps, meter face covers and just about anything else you can safely submerse in water. It is much more gentle than a toothbrush and more effective than Q-tips.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by AK4EC on July 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Agree with KB7XU ..WD40 works best
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by G3LBS on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Get a French Maid to do it.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KQ9J on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Really, people? Wash your grubby hands once in a while. Dust the gear with a swiffer. The Endust for electronics is great.

But seriously, if you have to go after your rigs with WD-40 that I'd hate to see the rest of the house :)
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K1CJS on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The main ingredients of WD-40 are kerosene and oil of wintergreen. This was told to me by a manufacturers rep. Kerosene will remove paint if you leave it on long enough. So, the result of using WD-40 is that you're actually softening the paint finish of anything you're using it on every time you use it. Added to that, the oily properties of the stuff actually attract dust, and will take the grime off your fingers and leave it deposited on the knobs and surfaces of your rigs!

Hey, if you don't mind the paint flaking off your rigs in the future, go ahead--but if you really want to keep your rigs looking good, you really don't want to use WD-40 on them. 73!

 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K4IQT on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
But kerosene will keep it shiny!! Next thing, we should brush our teeth with WD-40 ...
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KD4WPC on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
A wash rag n rubbing alkeehaul and or vinegar for the rig... pull the knobs and use a bowel of soapy water n a toothbrush... the teeth brush works also for those hard to get spots on the rig too.
A lens cloth for those lens's n lcd screens.

You should never use the bath tub and a garden hose...
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by WB5JNC on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I haven't tried Pledge: have to think about that one a bit. Alcohol cleans well, but seems to leave a slight residue on occasion. I've had the best success with a very mild solution of dish detergent followed by a careful rinse.

On the lighter side, G3LBS said "Get a French Maid to do it." A word of warning here: a ham friend of my dad's back in the 1950's (+/-) had a maid (AKA cleaning lady) who periodically came in to take care of the housework. One day she decided that said OM's ham gear needed cleaning, and clean she did - turning every knob in the process. Needless to say, this being back in the "boatanchor" era, it took said OM a while to get everything adjusted back where it needed to be. He in no uncertain terms told the cleaning lady that if she ever touched his rig again he'd "come back to haunt her."

73, Al
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NK6Q on July 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"pull the knobs and use a bowel of soapy water n a toothbrush"

I'm confused: are we talking about cleaning gear or colonic enemas?
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NN4RH on July 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'm amazed that people's rigs get so filthy that they need to be scrubbed frequently with kerosene or alchohol or soap or simple green, etc. . .

I mean, they're radios, not plumbing snakes. Where is all this gunk coming from? We get RFI and we spend time tracking down and eliminating the source. We get sticky radio dials, we should track down and eliminate the source.

If your radios are that greasy and gunky, I hate to think what the rest of your house is like.

Quit smoking. Quit slobbering beer and Coke all over everything. And Wash your hands a couple times a week maybe.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NN4RH on July 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well on second thought, not so amazed.

You see hams at hamfests with filty pizza and beer stained clothing, weighing 350 pounds, sweaty, smelly. It's no wonder their radios are sticky.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by NC2P on July 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Please do not use Windex or any other ammonia product on Flat Panel displays.. It destroys plastic over time.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by AC0I on July 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been using Pledge for 9 years to clean the plastic parts on my Honda Goldwing 1800 motorcycle, and for those who do not know the entire body is made of molded plastic. I also use it on the windscreen and insturment panel with no adverse results.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W4VR on July 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My maid uses windex on my equipment. I clean my display with a soft cleaning cloth that would normally be used for cleaning eye glasses....I use the same cleaning cloth on my computer monitor. I also clean my keyboard with a can of compressed air...it gets the crumbs out.
 
RE: Pledge and mold  
by W3HKK on July 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge: I used it to good effect on my Hallicrafters S-76, which resided in my basemnt shack for many years.

One note about basement humidity: mold loves to grow on pledge surfaces. Guess its the organics in the wax. And it wont come out.

So dont just put it downstairs and forget about it.
 
RE: Pledge and mold  
by WB4TJH on July 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Pledge has petroleum solvents in it...that's murder on anything made of plastic. It's a good way to ruin modern radios. Just because it's OK on some old 50 year old junk boat anchor doesn't mean it's suitable for new radios. People should read labels before posting some asinine idea.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KC9UUB on July 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It's being used by thousands of airplane owners for lexan windshields with no harm. Sheads rain and bugs
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by M0HEM on July 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
i use baby wipes to clean radio gear with and use them on babies bums that simple

jon m0hem

 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K1DA on August 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"That's how they do it at the GOP car wash and fund raiser"

I'm SURE the dog would prefer that to being EATEN as a SNACK.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N9YNG on August 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I use a solution of 50% distilled water and 50% rubbing alcohol.

Using distilled water seems to cut down on streaks.

The alcohol is good for the 'human grease' from handling.

I use microfiber rags, since they're soft and won't scratch. Or, I may use a new cotton t-shirt. I spray my alcohol solution on the rag ot q-tip, never directly on the equipment.

I also use the same solution to clean my 60" HDTV screen.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K9MHZ on August 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by WN9HJW on July 22, 2012 Well on second thought, not so amazed. You see hams at hamfests with filthy pizza and beer stained clothing, weighing 350 pounds, sweaty, smelly. It's no wonder their radios are sticky.<<<<

LOL! If you're ever really bored, go to a Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shop, or Cabela's and shop for a camping cot or folding chair. They're now rated in HUNDREDS of pounds of load bearing capability, along with extra wide widths for all of those plus-sized Americans hitting the great outdoors.

It is just nauseating what our society is becoming.

And really folks, if your expensive gear is getting cruddy.... figure out why instead of experimenting with which solvent or cleanser will clean it. I'll bet a look in the mirror will help immensely.

Sheesh....
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W2JLB on August 3, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I see a lot of great ideas here.

Here's one I did not see. I use a Swiffer duster on my radio. It gets all the dust even on the ventilation and speaker openings. It's also good for the PC keyboard and monitor.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by N8CMQ on August 3, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Don't forget to use black or neutral shoe polish on the coax to keep it clean and shiny. I hear it reduces RFI because the wax makes it too slippery for it to stick to the outside of the coax...
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by K9MHZ on August 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
CMQ....pretty witty.

I remember in the 70's we thought it would be fun to go to a local CB coffee break and watch the show. One guy there was upset that his radio wasn't working, so one of the hams in our group told him to go home and wash the transistors inside his radio. The guy bought the idea.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KA6AKH on August 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
With all this cleaning going on, when can anyone operate? Sounds like there is a market for a ham maid.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by WB2NGX on August 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I couldn't agree more with WN9HJW's post.....

If you really want to keep the gear clean, don't get it filthy in the first place:

- Don't smoke around it
- Don't drink anything around it
- Don't eat around it
- Wash your hands once in awhile
- Brush or blow dust off of it occassionally

I can add a couple of things.........

...don't have a carpet in the shack
...don't have a dirt floor shack
...don't have your shack in the garage / work shop where you cut wood, grind steel or spray paint.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W2MV on August 15, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Wow...there are some cleaning fanatics out there!
The only "dirt" my ham station seems to attract is dust, and for that I use both a feather duster and a Swiffer thingy.
 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by KA8OCN on August 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I would like to know how you guys have time to worry about "House Keeping" in your shacks?

I'm lucky to have time to turn on the rig once in awhile. I have my Shack in my Basement, also my office for my 2 retail stores. There is also a corner of the tables I built for my Grand Daughter when she is over and I happen to be working.
I, we eat, drink and do everything else down there.

I or my Grand Daughter have never dumped anything in my equipment, I have a Icom 756 Pro III, Kenwood TS-480 (GREAT RIG) I have the control head mounted on one of the monitors next to my IC-2820 control head bolted to the other monitors base.

Install your equipment with a little care so its out of harms way but easy enough to get to. Use the equipment when life permits, if it gets dusty then so be it. I purchased my stuff to use. For me its not a investment, its my toys, when I have time I like to play with my toys.

When Im working on a computer (Cashregisters, fileserver, my 2 kids office computers) I always start the work with some compressed air, while I have the compressed air in my hand I always give my Ham Equipment a blast, it gets most of the dust off the stuff just fine.

Do we really need to tell other Hams to take a bath and wash their hands?
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W8LV on August 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Quit drinking Coke around ham gear! Take all of the above suggestions and "distill" it into one basic concept: Drink vodka around your rigs! Your hands will remain grime free! And you can always place a smidge on a towel to clean off your gear AND the displays. A lifetime of drinking vodka during your QSO's will, I AM SURE make you the the life of the Roundtable! ( This is an FCC station licence prerequisite on certain SSB 80 metre frequencies..check yer Part 90 reg book for details.) Not quitting smoking with all that vodka carelessly hovering over the rig means that you can easily engage in another "home brew" project (you should pardon the expression): converting your rig into a handy alcohol stove or cigarette lighter/bunsen burner all with a single quick modification!
With all of this vodka consumption, one fine sunny morning after an all nighter ragchew, the "F" layer will be dead gone, and hey, so will you! (Some people refer to this as being a Silent Key. But the real International Code Designator should be adopted from the military term, hence, you are not merely a Silent Key, you are QSF'ed...) As they haul your carcass out of the shack, Your XYL will have nice used clean gear to post on eham.net, and you won't even need embalming fluid before they nail the lid shut. And with all that electricity and alcohol floating around the shack, you just might make that SK list sooner than you think, and possibly qualify for the coveted Dual SK/Darwin Award.....remember, you only get ONE shot at it!



 
The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by WA6MOW on August 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for everyone's input on my article. I have used Pledge for 15 years on aircraft and avionics including expensive displays with no problems. I would never suggest a product that has not been thoroughly tested. I cannot recommend any other cleaning product other than Pledge.
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by W3JKS on August 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Dip it in a bucket of Freon TF. :-)

We used to get it in 55 gallon drums...
 
RE: The Secret To Clean Ham Gear  
by WB6DGN on August 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"i use baby wipes to clean radio gear with and use them on babies bums that simple"

Before or after cleaning the babies???
 
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