Are you running power?!

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Are you running power?!

Post by wulff » Wednesday, 26 February 2014, 14:02 PM

I thought this was funny that happened to me back in the mid 70's, my brother and I had been into radios since school and I had recently got married and had to leave my nice 3 element Mosley at my parents. We moved to a mobile home that was surrounded by trees and no close neighbors, I couldn't afford a beam antenna but someone gave me an AS groundplane and this got me back into the group of us that used to meet up everynight on channel 11 AM (couldn't afford SSB) what I could do though was I got pretty good at building sweep tube amps and I used to run my 4-tube most the time (stupid, but I was a kid!) when I put the antenna up I remember reading it was good for 200 watts and I thought "Thats stupid, what happens if you run more? Probably splatter, noise, etc".
So one night about 9 or 10 of us were chewing the rag and as usual I was running my homemade amp, one of the guys about 20 miles out in a mobile said "Gawd Phil, you are sure pushing the watts tonight!" I said, "I'm running barefoot, always do!" he said "yeah, sure whatever you say!" So I keyed up and noticed I was running over 300 watts but I keyed up a long time explaining how I had 'peaked' my radio and was running without any power, then it happened: My tubes suddenly glowed almost white and one of the tubes literately exploded blowing up nearly at eye level, I quickly unkeyed and then a secondary crashing as my antenna came crashing down on the metal roof from 30 feet above it!
My wife came in and my 'shack' was full of smoke, the radio was hissing and I was still trying to find out what happened and said "WHAT the H*** was THAT?" Of course I said "what was what?" trying to trivialize it! She shook her head and walked away, I went outside and my once shiny ground plane was on the roof and there was just a stub on the top of my mast! I got a ladder and checked my antenna, the lower loading coil looked like a burned sausage!
I went out to my mobile and one of the guys said "what happened to your base? You were talking and there was a weird crackling noise and your carrier dropped out!" So I had to admit what I did, Buck (the guy that said I was running power earlier) said "Uh huh, I told you I knew!"
So, moral of the story, if an antenna said it's rated at a certain wattage DON"T DOUBLE it!! LOL!
PS: I did make out though, my brother felt bad so he bought me a Lafayette 3-element for Christmas (Wow that was not as nice as the Mosely but it was free!).

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