DIY Audio Projects Forum

Annual Spring Cautionary Post - 2017
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Author:  Peter W. [ 02 Mar 2017, 10:51 ]
Post subject:  Annual Spring Cautionary Post - 2017

I understand that this is a worldwide forum. And, this post is written primarily for the vintage radio crowd. But, it applies pretty much to anyone who dabbles in vintage equipment of unknown provenance - and so I believe it has its place here.

I have changed the format a bit, and put all the links at the beginning. I am also sending this out a bit earlier than usual by about 2 weeks as we have already experienced multiple days of 75F degree weather here in Pennsylvania, our crocuses are in full bloom, our Forsythia is also in full bloom, and the non-migratory butterflies are out already. ... e-WEB.ashx ... 00_301.jpg

Now that there are actual flowers in bloom (Crocus, Forsythia & Snowdrop), it is time for the annual post on stalking the wild radio (or other collectible) - and what accidental passengers that may come along with it:

1. Insects and other arthropods: Anything from spiders to wasps to fleas and more. Any radio that has spent substantial time in a barn, basement, shed, garage or any other damp or exposed area may well be inhabited by or infested with various small and potentially painful critters. Especially those found in the southern states, home to the Brown Recluse and Black Widow spiders. Wasps, centipedes (quite poisonous as it happens) and other vermin are no fun as well. And, if you do find some critter of this nature, KILL IT. Being soft-hearted and releasing it into _your_ environment may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but that creature may then cause considerable harm being somewhere it does not belong and where it perhaps has no natural predators. EDIT: Global Warming (whether you believe in it or not) has pushed the Recluse range into southern Maryland – mostly by human transport and not as successful breeding colonies but more and more common, with some few transported by human agency as far as Michigan and Pennsylvania. This is one NASTY spider with a very nasty bite.

2. Evidence of Rodent Inhabitation: Handle with GREAT care.

Hanta-Virus (a relative of Ebola) is endemic throughout the entire United States, Mexico and parts of Canada. It is a disease without effective treatment and an over 50% mortality rate worldwide (36% in the US). It is carried in the feces and fresh urine of many rodents...and there is limited recent evidence that reconstituted waste (dried but inhaled) will also spread the disease especially if inhaled, a possibility not accepted in the recent past.

Lyme Disease: Carried by deer ticks that winter over in the white-footed deer mouse (an omnivore, BTW) that will winter over anywhere it can find shelter. The ticks that mice carry will leave the mouse to lay eggs... perhaps in that radio that served as their temporary winter dorm and latrine. Various other tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and a whole bunch more *very* nasty diseases not worth risking, are all endemic in the US.

3. Bird Dung & Old Nests: Per a recent paper, there have been over sixty (60) diseases that may be carried in wild bird poop including Avian Flu, Fowl Typhoid, Infectious Coryza, Paratyphoid, Salmonellosis, Schistosomiasis, strep and on-and-on. ((Those of you servicing your Bluebird and other bird houses about now need also keep this in mind.)) Most wild birds are carriers of these diseases and show no visible symptoms. We bleach our birdhouses - THEN we clean them out. Amazing the number of dead insects and other vermin we get out of them every spring.

Asbestos: Dangerous only when friable - small particles able to become airborne easily. If you are a smoker, even more dangerous. A single (one (1)) fiber can cause a fatal reaction over time – although that actuality is extremely rare and will (usually) take many years. For all that, it is fairly easily made safe with a little bit of care and caution. But even if you do not believe it is dangerous, you do not have the right to expose others, or transport it in conveyances where residual material may come in contact with others - that is, do not transport it openly in the family minivan.

Bottom line: A proverbial ounce of caution beats the hell out of a pound of care. Common sense, rubber gloves, a breathing mask, Lysol, Bleach, Moth-balls, Insecticides (which often do not work on Spiders or Ticks, so read the label), and other elementary precautions conscientiously and carefully applied will "safen" even the nastiest of wild radios.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

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