How I almost electrocuted myself - Thanksgiving 1998


Here is the "post" I made to the Drake and Heathkit reflector shortly after arriving home from the hospital at around 2:30am on the morning after Thanksgiving 1998. I had just spent several hours in the emergency room. This is unedited from my original wording of the event. It's intent was to serve as a warning to others who work around HV circuits and who might be tempted to play "fast and loose" at times - and that is why I have included it here on my page.  I had been hit with HV numerous times in the past, probably the worst was the incident with a grounded D104 in one hand when my other arm touched the modulator plate cap on a 32V1 - I thought that was bad - and it was, but that was only a lead-up to what this felt like and the physical damage I suffered. I was careless and it almost cost me my life. The memory of that evening now becomes very vivid to me every time I even come close to lethal voltages.

This made it's way around the internet, appearing on various reflectors and lists. HERE is one that still comes up with a Google search

Friday Nov.27, 1998

"Hi All, I usually don't post to multiple lists but thought my recent reminder of the dangers of getting to comfortable around HV should be shared in the hopes it will prevent someone else from going through what I just did this eve - OR WORSE. ...Spent most of the day putting the finishing touches on a very nice SB-200 I just picked up - had put the top shield on and just had it on the bench "burning in" this evening as my family and I had our Thanksgiving dinner etc. I went downstairs to my BA bench to give it a look and for some reason I put my right hand on the right side, feeling for heat from the bleeder resistors safely inside. My little finger must have curled under a bit and what happened next is just a blur as it came in contact with the 2400 volt runner on the outside edge of the PS board - felt like I had been hit with a sledgehammer. My right little finger split open like an overcooked hotdog. The amp sounded liked firecrackers going off and fire came from under the board - I was in too much of a daze to even turn it off - finally tripped the breakers. After returning from the emergency room about an hour ago, where I had a painful session of having skin cut away,etc., I checked the amp out (yes, my wife could not believe that either), runners burnt open, most of the bleeders open, meter pointer bent -- all of this damage caused by my skin sticking to the board. .. I have been working with this stuff for 39 years and I know better, been inside the Collins KW-1, the Johnson KW, T368, and numerous linears. I am a radio tech by trade - guess all of this low voltage stuff can make us forget what is just an inch away. I certainly am thankful to God for sparing me this time, and I just wanted to remind all of you how easily and quickly this can happen - yes I know all about it too, but as I look at my bandaged hand, I realize we all need a reminder from time to time. I realize this may be a bit off topic, so thanks for your time. ...BTW - It sure is hard to type now. -- 73, Dave - W3NP Ft. Ashby, WV"

Just after the bandage was removed