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Author Topic: Heath Cantenna and PCB's  (Read 1481 times)
KC9KEP
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« on: February 14, 2010, 06:17:47 AM »

Hello all,

In my recent edition of QST magazine, a ham is warned about the probably that his Heathkit Cantenna maybe be filled with transformer/PCB oil instead of mineral oil.

I have a Cantenna but have no idea what it's filled with.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Is there a way to determine what kind of oil is in my Cantenna?

If it IS PCB laced, how can I safey disposed of it?

Thanks/73

--Tom Nickel
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KU4UV
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Posts: 374




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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2010, 07:05:51 AM »

I read that article as well.  I am a 35 years old, and I used to work at a radio station that used an old Gates transmitter from the 50's.  The transmitter was housed in a small building out in a field.  I used to have to go out to the transmitter building an turn the AM transmitter off at dusk, after my shift was over.  The transmitter operated on 1500 KHz, so we had to sign off the air at 6:00 P.M.  I was a college student at the time majoring in Broadcasting, and working at the radio station as well to make some money.  I had never even heard of PCB's until one day in class our professor was talking about how a lot of the older radio transmitters and equipment used an oil-based product called PCB's that was known to cause cancer.  He said that the stuff had to desposed of somewhere up in Indiana or something.  
     I was talking to our chief engineer one day regarding our AM transmitter, and he mentioned that the transmitter building was full of PCB's.  After he told me that, whenever I had to go into the transmitter building, I got in and out of the place as quickly as I could.  I remember I used to like to just stand back and marvel at all of the tubes glowing in that 1KW Gates transmitter.  Once I found out about PCB's, I wised up.  I would guess that there are probably still a ot of old transformers and radio equipment that use oil that still contain PCB's.  I'm not that familiar with the Heath Cantenna, so I don't know.  I guess you could maybe take the equipment to a knowledable electronics house or engineer.  

73,
KU4UV
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W8JI
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2010, 07:29:23 AM »

Tom,

Cancer doesn't happen because you are near something, and it does not happen because you briefly touch something. If caused by an external stimulus, it comes from years of exposure to something.

My buddy who worked for a power company used to give me pole pigs in the early 70's. Back then they were pull-outs of older 4160 volt transformers from the 50's and earlier. They used PCB oils back then. He cautioned me to wear gloves and wash my hands when done handling the oil-soaked transformer when removed from the can because the fellows in his department that worked there for years would often develop skin cancer from having their hands in the oil.

That type of oil was banned in the late 70's. It is unlikely, unless you have a really old load, that it has PCB's. I would worry a whole lot more about a vented dummy load than a sealed capacitor or transformer, but I doubt you have a load with PCB's unless it was filled with transformer oil sometime back in 1978 or earlier.

73 Tom
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KB2DO
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2010, 08:35:10 AM »

If u have doubts, why not just call ur local gov. and ask them how u can dispose of the oil

Its easy to replace with mineral oil from the local
pharmacy.

73,
robbie
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N0XE
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 10:10:07 AM »

You can also run that dummy load 50 to 100 watts with no oil of any kind as long as you keep your testing time short, if you don't have an amp to test and just run a 100 watt rig no need to fool with it or worry about even using mineral oil. The resistor can take it. I have been doing it for years with no ill affects.  73 Jim N0XE
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K6AER
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2010, 02:05:57 PM »

I havean old cantenna and I filled it up with motor oil. Works fine and the SWR did not change at all.

A buddy of mine filled his up with corn oil. No problem.

Don't forget we did not have cancer until man started to live long enough.
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N8EKT
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 02:18:38 PM »

YES PCBs are KNOWN carcinogens
And you should NEVER come in contact with it if it can be avoided.

They have been banned for a number of years

When the power company has the SLIGHTEST leak on an older transformer, they have to jackhammer up the sidewalk and haul the contaminated concrete to a hazardous waste facility.

The safest replacement is mineral oil that can be purchased anywhere
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KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2010, 02:27:37 PM »

oooh, CAPS 
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