Topband: "What The Heck...?!"

EP Swynar gswynar at
Fri Oct 12 15:21:03 EDT 2007

Good Day All,

Well, I've just had another one of my regular --- and much-needed, I hasten to add --- lessons in humility's worth sharing with the group, only because it demonstrates that no matter how smart I think I might be, there's always someone (or, in this case, someTHING!) that's even smarter.

Alert readers may recall how I have always championed the use of grains of rice as an ideal "green" method of moisture absorption within sealed enclosures housing antenna tuning networks, etc., outdoors. Well, last spring I dismantled two of the three  plastic Folger's Coffee "cans" used at the bases of my three inverted "L" antennas --- but I left one on the ground, "as is", with hopes of utilizing at least one "L" during the course of the summer.

Well, I didn't use the antenna...but I never cleaned-out the rice from last season, either...

This afternoon, while tuning-up the single "L" for a bit of possible Top Band action this weekend, I noticed that the reflected power would "waffle". This waffling turned into a regular windshield wiper action on the meter when I fired-up the linear.

Hastening outside to see if I might see what the matter was, the first thing I did was pop off the Folgers!

I was greeted with a veritable mushroom cloud of acrid smoke, and, after it had cleared, was amazed to see what appeared to be wads and wads of cotton batting stuffed in & all around the enclosure, almost completely engulfing the air variable tuning capacitor...

Mold...! From the rice...!

Lesson learned: rice is a seasonal absorptive element ONLY --- once the weather warms up, clean it out, completely. 

If anyone wants to see jpeg e-pix of what was inside, just ask & I'll be happy to forward same...meanwhile, it's off to the junk box for a new capacitor, and to the grocery store for more coffee...

~73~ Eddy VE3CUI - VE3XZ

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