Heathkit Cantenna oil

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K7URX, Dec 4, 2019.

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  1. K7URX

    K7URX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was given one of these in like new condition. Is there a way to tell if the oil is transformer oil or mineral oil?
  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your friendly local power company should be able to tell you. And if it happens to be PCB, they can dispose it for you (and supply you with the right kind of mineral oil)
    K0UO likes this.
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's a quick n dirty way...but you want to do it outside. Soak a little piece of paper with the oil. Light it...if it burns it's mineral oil, if not, it's PCB.
    AB6RF, K0UO and K7URX like this.
  4. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think chances are that it's not PCB laced transformer oil.
  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Not all "transformer oil" is deadly PCB

    Mineral oil is NOT "transformer oil" - it works but can't meet the full ratings of the dummy load before running risk of it flashing over - mineral oil is flammable - transformer oil is not.

    Were it me, I'd buy a gallon of proper transformer oil and dispose of whatever is in the can now. Most urban trash recycle facilities have safe oil disposal provisions

    N4NYK, K0UO and KB0MNM like this.
  6. K7URX

    K7URX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks guys. I'm going to do the burn test. I'm that kind of guy.
    AG5CK and WR2E like this.
  7. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    An ex-supervisor once told me that the PCB-laced transformer oil is a suspected carcinogen if burned. He also claimed that it is so inert at room temperature- for example- that a man drank some ( in a courtroom ) to prove that PCBs are O.K. at room temperature. The court case had to do with another party not wishing him to store the material on site. NIMBY ( Not in my back yard ) is frequently also heard regarding cellular towers in northern Minnesota. Few things come without a cost, eg. Tantalum is frequently mined in the Congo- yet that tends to displace Gorillas. It can be mined elsewhere, yet the cost of labor is higher in those places. Kudos to W7UUU for the suggestion that the oil be disposed of properly, with the words "may contain PCB ( unknown )" on a similar-sized metal can. Some oils are known to dissolve plastics in a relatively short time. Others can be stored in plastic milk jugs, maybe someone knows this answer about mineral oil and transformer oils.
    K0UO likes this.
  8. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page


    and this:



    But I'm just lazy... I'm sure you can find the proper oil for less with a bit of hunting.
    N1VAU and K0UO like this.
  9. W4KJG

    W4KJG Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is just a sidebar about oil filled canned dummy loads. I'm not trying to hijack the thread. It is about using relatively safe oil in oil cooled dummy loads.

    In the last couple of years I have built several dummy loads using the approximate $8-$10 per five 50 Ohm 100 Watt resistors. On a heatsink, with lots of tender care soldering to the tab, they are great.


    About a year ago when I built the first one, I figured I'd go to the local chain pharmacy t0 get two pints/one quart of pure mineral oil. I've got two 1/4-full pints of mineral oil that are about 5-7 years old. One is marked $1.78 and the other is marked $1.89. I went to the first chain pharmacy, and the identical $1.78 bottle was now $6.99. I went to the second chain pharmacy, and the identical $1.89 store-brand bottle was now $5.99.

    I'm not a chemist, but I did quite a bit of research on safe substitutes for mineral oil and the older PCB-laced transformer oil when used in RF dummy loads. I found that Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) seemed like it would work quite satisfactorily, and it has. Store brands are about $3.99 per quart.

    I have since found that pints of mineral oil at Target and Dollar General are $1.99 each. So, it is the same cost as the ATF. It is what I used in a dummy load I built last week. No issues. I'm using just one of the resistors shown above, attached to a small aluminum heatsink in a quart can filled with mineral oil. It will run for quite some time before it even begins to where I can feel a temperature change. I have only tested it to 30 MHz MHz, but it remains at about 49.6 Ohms with Z=0 fr0m 1 MHz to 30 MHz.

    VE3CGA, N4MTB, KW4UP and 6 others like this.
  10. W9WQA

    W9WQA Ham Member QRZ Page

    got a cantenna(2) but want some of those for fun...

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