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Other than the fun and games that come with ham radio operations

How Safe Is Your Ham Station?

Other than the fun and games that come with ham radio operations

How Safe Is Your Ham Station?
Other than the fun and games that come with ham radio operation, there’s a reason why the US government only allows it to happen if you have a license- so you can be aware of its risks. These risks include both the biological risks of the radio waves themselves amongst other parts of your station 

The Radio Waves 

Throughout radio communication history, radio waves were assumed to be harmless unless you touch the antenna. However, there has been growing evidence regarding the biological damage that could be caused by radio waves or “nonionizing radiation” through dielectric heating. ( source : amateur radio forums ) 

As radio waves’ electric field changes, your body’s molecules end up getting agitated, causing you to heat up. This mechanism is the main principle used in microwaves, but at a much higher frequency. To be able to notice your body heating up, the radio waves would need to be much stronger. However, it has also recently been acknowledged that there are still some biological harms from low frequency radio waves, including RF burns, where flesh underneath the skin gets burnt without the skin itself being broken or damaged. Be aware of all these risks and play around with your station with caution and awareness! ( source : dx news )

Other Dangers 

Electronics generally contain some exotic substances, not all of which considered as safe. One of these is Beryllium, which is found in some valves (high power tubes), and is extremely toxic even if it’s in microscopic quantities. Beryllium oxide is found in RF amplifiers, power transistors and the casings of high-power semiconductors. Substances with BeO are very dangerous if ingested, inhaled or when in contact with an open wound. Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before eating or drinking, and making sure you avoid putting your fingers on your mouth or nose.

Electronics can also contain cancerous oils such as Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Hexavalent Chromium. Most of those are inside the electronics. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you don’t break something or pull anything apart without remembering to wash up.  

The electronics industry also uses solvents which happen to be toxic when in confined spaces without proper ventilation. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your ham radio station is in an area with frequently refreshed air. Avoid putting your station in attics or basements where there aren’t any windows.

The batteries you use in order to back up your radio station should also be in a well-ventilated area, as in confined spaces, hydrogen can build up, which is an explosion hazard. 

It is generally important to read all warning labels on all your electronics to the letter and make sure you’re not slacking off in terms of your safety!

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