Reference RF Exposure
Printed with permission from the author, Gary H
(April 5, 2006).
1994 a co-worker and I were correcting some problems on a newly
constructed 900' tower in Memphis, Tennessee. Our work was at 700' in
the midst of a 5 bay FM (100kw). The conduit ran along the outside face
of the tower by the FM. I worked below the bay and my co-worker (a
lighting rep.) was in the middle of the bay. We were replacing damaged
wiring in the conduit. The engineer had arrived earlier and took the
station off the air and transferred over to the old tower some miles
away. His only request was to call master control when we were done so
they could transfer back.
about 5 hours of work, I descended the tower to make sure our problem
was corrected on the ground while he remained at his position on the
tower. After seeing our fault was cleared, I radioed to him to come on
down. There was no response. I thought we had a radio malfunction so I
stepped outside and yelled. Fortunately, he heard me and began his
decent. It wasn't until after he cleared the FM that we finally regained
radio contact. I glanced over at the FM transmitter and seen we were at
full 100% power. I picked up the phone, dialed master control, and the
kid whom answered told me that he powered up the antenna "hours
ago" when he came on shift. It seems the engineer had left the
transmitter in remote instead of local control. Who's at fault and who
failed is not the reason for this post. What happened afterwards is.
he was on the ground, I told him what happened. He said he felt fine. I
asked if he felt like he was getting warm up there. He replied that it
was 91 degrees today and I agreed as if I had asked a stupid question. I
also noticed that he had killed 1 Gatorade and 1 Dr. Pepper upon
reaching the ground. As we drove back to the hotel, he had managed to
drink everything we had in the cooler. He consumed about 6 bottled
drinks in all. After cleaning up at the hotel we went to dinner where I
personally watched him drink at least 2 pitchers of ice tea. He had even
made the comment that he had never been so thirsty.
had doubled up in the hotel and were asleep when I was awakened to him
moaning at about 11:30pm. I asked if he was ok and he replied that he
had a really bad headache. I turned on the light between the two beds
and he screamed bloody murder. I thought it was a migraine. I got to my
BC powders, poured some water and walked over to him. He took the BC
powders and downed the water. I went to get him more water when he tried
to stand up. He looked like he had splints tied to each leg as he walked
toward the bathroom. He fell straight over onto the TV and then bounced
onto the floor. He couldn't get up. I helped him to the bathroom (where
he was trying to go)….held him up so he could relieve himself (that
much fluid…you do the math). When he was done I noticed a substantial
amount of blood in the toilet. I told him we were going to the hospital
and he didn't argue. I helped get him dressed, carried him to the truck
and away we went.
arrival to the hospital, I informed the doctors that he may have RF
Poisoning. To my amazement, neither doctor knew what that was or how to
treat it. Finally one doctor decided to call his old University which
was Duke. A doctor there asked him to pull blood and due an enzyme
count. His enzyme count came back 14 times greater than normal. As the
doctors explained it to me, it is if you were placed in an oven and your
muscles were being cooked. This releases a huge amount of enzymes into
your blood stream. The other confusing fact to the doctors was that his
cholesterol count was so low. So low that one of the attending doctors
had his checked to make sure the lab equipment had not malfunctioned.
They even asked my co-worker about his eating habits. Waffle-house,
McDonalds and a Meat and Three was his response.
these doctors finally decided that the RF had burned up most of the
fatty corpuscles in his blood steam. This made sense to us as fat is
mainly oil and isolated. The other factor was the eyes are isolated as
well and could be the cause of the migraine. The testicals are also
isolated which could have explained blood in his urine. For the next few
hours I watched two nurses latterly squeeze his IV's into his blood
stream…there was not a drip method. They would finish one IV and then
squeeze another. One in each arm. After a couple of days in the hospital
he was discharged. It took him a couple of weeks to walk normal again
and has never had a headache since then. Urination had return to normal.
So, if the above can help anyone determine if you have
been exposed…then I hope the telling of this story helps. Also, never trust the
engineer and always make sure that if powered down you are in local
control and not remote.