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Author Topic: RF and a PaceMaker  (Read 2407 times)
VA2PBJ
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Posts: 174




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« on: April 22, 2013, 07:29:12 AM »

Just setting up shop and the Mother in law is moving in with a brand new pacemaker.

I run uhf/vhf under 10w (fm) and hf (10m) Under 100w, but mostly around 5-10w. The uhf/vhf ant is a jpole 3 ft above the dining room and the HF is a wire dipole run along the short side of the house, all for visibility reasons.

What are the odds of something going bad? What do I need to watch out for?
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7 3 Peter VA2PBJ
KJ4OBR
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Posts: 104




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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 07:52:51 AM »

Pacemakers and the like are designed to reject interference pretty well. At those power levels I don't think I would worry too much, but 1. I'm not an engineer of those devices, and 2.  nor am I a doctor. ;-) I can tell you I worked with a TV transmitter engineer/ antenna site manager who had a pacemaker and he never seemed to have an issues working around RF power levels hundreds of thousands of levels of magnitude greater, TV/AM and FM at the transmitter site.

That said, what you should watch out for.. if your MIL starts flopping around like a fish when you key up you might want to stop.. or not depending on how well you get along :-D

73
Dave


Just setting up shop and the Mother in law is moving in with a brand new pacemaker.

I run uhf/vhf under 10w (fm) and hf (10m) Under 100w, but mostly around 5-10w. The uhf/vhf ant is a jpole 3 ft above the dining room and the HF is a wire dipole run along the short side of the house, all for visibility reasons.

What are the odds of something going bad? What do I need to watch out for?

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VA2PBJ
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 08:17:47 AM »

That is good to know. Thanks.


73
Peter
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7 3 Peter VA2PBJ
KD0REQ
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Posts: 934




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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 08:46:22 AM »

have her dig out her pacemaker card (medical device installers aka surgeons generally hand the patient their device maker's alert card on discharge) and check their RF recommendations on the website.  do the quick calculation on your radiation at the site.  if under the barrier, don't sweat it.

however... the lead length from the pacemaker to the affected section of heart muscle is an antenna.  if it's resonant, all bets are off.

ideally, if the pacemaker has a remote diagnosis feature, you could arrange a remote session with the cardiologist.  if it looks clean at the time, key up and call CQ.  if the pacemaker whines during the remote session, you need a stub tower to get the RF level down.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3836




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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 09:50:32 AM »

LOL..... I was wondering how long it would take for someone to make a MIL joke! 

OBR: Thanks for the needed therapeutic laugh!

PBJ:  With your setup and power levels I wouldn't concern myself.  I went through this very thing about 8 years ago.  My wife had a pacemaker implanted and this was the first question I tried to resolve.  I'm running a legal limit amplifier with a beam antenna.  ERP is up around 12KW. 

I contacted the pacemaker manufacturer and if you want to hear double-talk, do this.  Bottom line is they won't tell you anything!  They're so afraid of law suits that they simply won't confirm or deny anything.  When I finished I wasn't even sure they made a pacemaker!

While it might seem terrible, I kinda had a go at it and waited to hear my wife hit the floor.  It never happened so for eight years I've operated with impunity.

Now that she's just had it replaced and also with a different brand, I've had to go through this same thing.  So far so good.

I wouldn't worry about it but be observant.  I wouldn't mention this to you MIL because that could open a can of worms for you. 

There isn't anything worse than a hypochondriac with a pacemaker!
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VA2PBJ
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 10:13:17 AM »

I would not even of thought of it, if it wasn't for me looking at the MFJ-1780. In the pdf MFJ states not to operate too close to those people pacemakers. It may be just cya.
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7 3 Peter VA2PBJ
K5ML
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 05:03:21 PM »

In March 2009 I had a Medtronic pacemaker implanted. I operate from 160 - 10 meters using an Ameritron AL-82 linear that is capable of running legal limit. I use 2 ground mounted verticals for antennas. One is less than 20 ft. from the shack and the other is about 70 ft. from the shack. I'm on the air almost every day and have never had any problems whatsoever. Prior to the surgery I was very concerned, but the electrophysiologist who did the surgery assured me that there would likely be no problems. He also told me that he had implanted pacemakers in other hams in the past and RF had not been a problem.



73,
Mickey, K5ML
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12840




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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 05:59:25 PM »

The American Heart Association has some info posted on-line that indicates amateur radio and CB radios should not be a problem. The indication would be missing beats while the transmitter is keyed.
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VA2PBJ
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2013, 07:55:17 PM »

Good to know. As it turns out, the house is covered in metal siding. No antennas in this attic and a shield for anything I put outside. Wink
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7 3 Peter VA2PBJ
G3RZP
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Posts: 4572




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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2013, 03:54:18 AM »

Pacemakers are tested to 10V/m to meet the international standard and in general are OK at 30V/m. At 70 cms, the body attenuation is about 25 to 30 dB, so the level which would need to get to the pacemaker and cause trouble would exceed the safety limits anyway. However, if the pacemaker has a radio transceiver in it, the radio needs to operate at up to 3V/m.

Until yesterday when I retired, I was the Chairman of the European standards committee on Wireless Medical Applications, which included radio standards for implanted devices. One application that an Australian company was looking at some time back was a radio control for fixing erectile dysfunction - QRM would be most unwelcome!
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3836




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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2013, 09:25:29 AM »

RZP: 
Quote
radio control for fixing erectile dysfunction

Do you mean like....with a TV remote control?  Just think of the amount of time THAT would save!!
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VA2PBJ
Member

Posts: 174




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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2013, 09:43:37 AM »

I would settle for a mute button...... inlaws... Wink
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7 3 Peter VA2PBJ
G3RZP
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Posts: 4572




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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2013, 02:09:54 PM »

AXW

You got it! Press the correct button and you're up and running........the wrong button and there's a lot of disappointment.
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ONAIR
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Posts: 1741




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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2013, 01:18:33 AM »

Never had an issue with my neighbor or his pacemaker.  However, I almost drove the poor old guy insane with his hearing aid!
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