> The mercury switch is a vacuum. The leads are about 1/4" apart as they
> escape the envelope. At 21 volts per thousanth of an inch (handbook #), a
Voltage breakdown varies greatly with shape and rate of change in
the electric field between the two conductors. I think the number
you saw is for a uniformly distributed electric field and likely it was
for some set of moisture conditions and doesn't allow for surface
> 1/4" gap should handle many KV. (I only run 1KW max here at this time ~~
> 3KV). I know nothing about the conductivity of mercury. For all I know
> it will explode in this environment!
If it does explode, don't let it get into your water or food supplies.
You'll be known as "Mad-as-a-hatter-Ford".
Now that I think about it, maybe mercury exposure is more
common than I realized in ham radio. Perhaps grabbing an 866 and
swigging it down instead of an 807?
73, Tom W8JI
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