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Danger in St. Elmo

Created by Paul Signorelli, W0RW on 2019-09-22

Danger in St. Elmo

A box of old blasting caps (mercury fulminate/KClO3 mix) was just found in one of the old buildings in the mining town of St. Elmo, CO, 2 July 2015.

When members of Historic St. Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon Inc. cleaned out the outhouse behind the Home Comfort Hotel in St. Elmo, they found a potentially explosive surprise. On the floor of the outhouse, they found what they believed to be dynamite, said Walter Roth, a member of the historical group. Later in the day a bomb squad found blasting caps rather than dynamite.

I had operated there with my PRC319 Pedestrian Mobile right in front of that Hotel several times before. (See CQ Magazine June 2016, p. 16-18).

While the electric blasting caps are usually shorted and would not be effected by a QRP radio, my 50W radio was at a dangerously high level to be transmitting near a box of blasting caps.

It would be a smart idea to avoid operating in any old mining areas where unexploded dynamite might exist.

Paul, W0RW

WB4BTL 2019-10-22
Danger in St. Elmo
I don't know anything about blasting caps per se, but as soon as I saw "KCLO3" in the verbiage, then I remembered the powerful reactionary characteristics for the formal Potassium Chlorate!

KB2CPW 2019-10-02
RE: particularly old stuff
KA7EKW wins the internet!! lol
KA7EKW 2019-09-29
RE: particularly old stuff
"Apparently one of them was an IFF set which for some reason had got out still with demolition charges in place....."

Early version of the RigBlaster . . .
K9MHZ 2019-09-28
RE: Danger in St. Elmo
That’s good comedy ^^^^^^
WA4NUN 2019-09-27
Danger in St. Elmo
Until now I did not think there were too many ways to put out a booming signal,
W1ER 2019-09-27
Danger in St. Elmo
... and if this isn't scary enough, try this out for size

K6AER 2019-09-26
RE: Danger in St. Elmo
The example given says nothing about the carrier accident being a result of RF radiation.
K4MLA 2019-09-26
RE: Danger in St. Elmo
As a Certified EMC Engineer at a naval facility, I designed and constructed fiber optic telemetry equipment to monitor induced or conducted currents in various fuzed devices within weapon systems. This is the Hazards to Electromagnetic Radiated Ordnance (HERO) Program. But extensive testing and I mean EXTENSIVE TESTING is done on any weapon system before putting it into service to prevent such accidents. On board ships, the RF levels can be EXTREMELY high across the spectrum.
But to answer the question "Has a device ever been set off" as the result of high RF field? In a word, yes. For example...
KA3JLW 2019-09-25
RE: Danger in St. Elmo
The snow would be enough to keep me away. :)
N9AOP 2019-09-25
RE: Danger in St. Elmo
You are supposed to read a magazine--not transmit next to one.
W0BBB 2019-09-24
RE: Danger in St. Elmo

An interesting read about RF energy and electronic caps
WA8OJR 2019-09-24
Danger in St. Elmo
Can anyone provide details of an incident involving accidental detonation of explosives where the cause was definitively traced to radio transmission? Just askin'...
N7KFD 2019-09-24
Danger in St. Elmo

St. Elmo's Fire?
(Sorry, I had to say it)

W6BP 2019-09-24
Danger in St. Elmo
For most of us hams, French fries pose a bigger risk than dynamite.
K6AER 2019-09-23
RE: particularly old stuff
You forgot the greatest fear among hams world wide.......OLD AGE.
KC7MF 2019-09-23
RE: particularly old stuff
Well now I an truly terrified. Not only must I not use my radio in mining towns (like my own) but I can't use it in neighborhoods where some monumentally stupid person might have stashed explosives in the shed. Maybe we should ban radios at all. And anything else that might spark and make a "radio" wave.

But I suppose that we live in a dangerous world. In my neighborhood alone, in addition to the ham radio equivalent of spontaneous human combustion (being blown up by your radio) we have the following things to worry about:

Other insects
West Nile Virus
Pit Bulls
Runaway geezer cars
Runaway geezer golf carts
Rogue everythings
Paper cuts
Drone Strikes
Drone Surveillance
Neighbors droning on about communism
Bad brakes
Bad breaks
Sewer breaks
The government

This is not a complete list of course but you get my point. While I cannot say that I will not cast a glance around to see if there is the odd H-bomb standing in the corner, if my neighbor has unexploded ordnance in his tool shed then he is a good candidate for a posthumous Darwin Award.

G3RZP 2019-09-23
RE: particularly old stuff
Some years ago, there were reports of a garden shed in west London exploding. In the shed was a number of bits of WW2 surplus gear belonging to the deceased some years previously owner. (House had been inherited by his son) Apparently one of them was an IFF set which for some reason had got out still with demolition charges in place.....
K9MHZ 2019-09-23
RE: particularly old stuff
Should combine threads...this thread and the one right before it. Bring those linears up to the high country and watch the show.
KD0REQ 2019-09-22
particularly old stuff
old explosive materials are typically unstable, aka, look at them and they go boom. if they weren't intrinsically unstable, they would not be commercial explosives.