dullara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 37 NUMBER 4

Jet Trails

Wally Kenyon,  W8WLK

Where'd it go...

I had just made the final connection to my new linear amp and was about to make a test of my radio equipment  when my wife came in with the question "what is this?" She was holding two things, a glass of water in one hand and in the other a clear package containing the new blue LED strip lights I had bought for my truck (don't ask) and had never opened. I told her what they were and to just lay them down anywhere and four things happened simultaneously. She laid the package with the LED's down right on top of the coax which was going to the dummy load from the amp, I keyed the mic and called test, the lights in the package glowed a bright blue light and the water in the glass went "PFFFT" and disappeared without a trace! That was weird. My wife wanted to know what happened to her water and I had no idea. Then I had an idea. I asked her to go get another glass of water and stand exactly where she had been and I keyed the mic and called test. "Pffft" and the glass was empty. Ok, I showed a power level of 1.2KW coming from the amp and going to the dummy load and that was somehow activating the LED's. I then asked her to get another glass of water along with a glass of ice. She returned, stood in the same position, I keyed the mic and "PFFFT" both glasses were now empty. Oh my gosh...    What followed was several hours of intense testing with different power levels and I discovered that 100 watts would make the LED's glow and evaporate (or whatever it did) the water and ice. Then I had an epiphany. The LED's were reacting to the RF from the cable, but what if I wired them directly to the output of the radio? A fifteen minute hunt ensued for two alligator jumper wires. Then I took the coax from the radio, and after digging the light strips out of the package, connected the two together.   The lights run on power from a vehicle and I had no idea how to figure what wattage would give me fourteen point three volts so I got my volt meter, disconnected the lights from the radio and connected the meter to the coax. I really didn't want to take a chance of damaging my radio but couldn't figure out a better way so I set the radio to one watt and called test.  The meter read a quarter of a volt. Ten watts got me four volts, 20 watts, eight volts so I got out my calculator, and then spent ten minutes replacing the dead battery. I then calculated I needed fifty seven point two watts.  Knowing the LED light strips don't require much current, I hoped it was enough to not be a dead short and destroy the transmitter. So I got another glass of water and one of ice, set the radio to fifty seven watts transmit power, and called test (fingers crossed). Hallelujah! The lights lit, the ice and water went  "PFFFT, " and the transmitter didn't destruct. My next step was to attach the strips to the front bumper of my truck, install the radio, and spray some water on the driveway. Because, if it instantly got rid of water and especially ice, the implications were huge! Think no more icy runways, roads, bridges, aircraft wings, and the list goes on and on. My brain was on overload thinking about all the uses it could have, and how could I spend the billions of dollars I would make so I crawled under my truck to start attaching the strips when the world exploded with light. And then I heard the words, "are you out here?" to which I answered a weak, "yes?"  "Where are you?" and I started to crawl out from under the truck. "What in the world are you doing, is that my good shirt?"..." It is my shirt?""Now it's all stretched out and I'll never be able to wear it again." She looked at the clock on the wall. "Are you nuts, it's after three in the morning." And all I could think of was oh no it happened again so I asked my wife what day it was and she answered with Sunday.  And I told her I meant the date to which she replied "it's the first of April!"