From: richard hull[SMTP:rhull-at-richmond.infi-dot-net]
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 1997 2:54 PM
Subject: I'm back!
Well, there I was trapped in Orlando and worse still, trapped in the Sony
VIP center in the middle of Disney/MGM theme park!! Kids yelling and
scraming in their countless trillions... Adults droning on and letting loose
with the big buck so their kids wouldn't whine. I went straight from the
park to my motel in the evenings. Even though I had a full week long
complementatry pass, I never spent 1 minute in the park except to travel
through it as fast as my feet would carry me amongst the dulling humanity.
I did succeed in completing two major tomes during the period.
1. Wizard (Tesla Bio.) This was actually much better than I thought it would
be. The major plus is an incredible bibliography near the end with full
refs.. Unfortunately a lot of quotes supposedly from the lips of Tesla and
his associates go un referenced. This is really bad! The technical
accuracy in most areas is surprisingly good in others (most notably the 1899
work) was very bad. Overall, I would give this a very good rating and the
"best" of the Tesla bio's. Seifer did his homework and picked up a lot of
2. Ionized Gases by A. von Engels. A standard major reference on the subject.
This really did apply to a lot of Tesla spark speculations raging on the
Tesla list and I was gratified to find that mean free path means nothing
even at atmospheric pressures provided we have a large incident and somewhat
uniform E field (electron multiplication) and a continuous source of pumped
ionization energy. (ion lifetimes in seconds!!!!).
The book is old- 1964- but the author is at least very forthright and notes
that most of the equations... and there are countless hundreds... are for
rigidly controlled conditions. He often states that outside of a sealed
tube (laboratory conditions) the gas ionization equations are "not even
order of magnitude accurate". In sullen momments, we are admonished that to
determine operations in rapidly changing, uncontrolled environments, rules
of thumb applied by experienced researchers might do as well as the
Basically, this is what we have with the Tesla coil sparks.
For all this, the book is excellent although very dry and matter of fact.
(As such often hailed and revered texts are traditionally supposed to be.)
Any one dead serious on the issue of sparks in air should have this work........
I also spent those dull evenings toiling over a design for the opposing H2
thyratrons. I have a method but it might be madness... we will see.
Finally, I hit the treasure trove, Skycraft surplus, on fairmont avenue in
Orlando. This place is a must see. Forget the Disney crap, this is what
Orlando really has to offer us all! I was constantly comparing the joint to
Grand Junction in Va. Beach.
It is much smaller than Grand Junction, ~1/3 the floor space, and has less
stuff...But different stuff!
Grand Junction has more large pieces of gear and odd ball items to intrigue
the hunter. It has more of any particular item, but is a zoo to shop in as
the organization of materials is really only good to fair. Sky craft is a
fine tuned well oil machine by comparison. Everything (every single piece
or part is fully catalogued, organized, binned, and readily available at an
instant!! Super nice!!! Not a one of you can comprehend the order. It is
like the place is run by a bunch of anally retentive nazis. (In this case a
At hamfests we pay almost nothing for merchandise which is scattered over
hell's half acre and are one a kinds. Hamfests are the only place to fine
the bizarre, the unusual the item that would never see the light of day
anywhere else. It is feast or famine. You never pay what is asked...ever!!!!
Grand junction is a place where known hardware deals are found, but
scattered and a deal might be made if you get the owner on a good day. It
is a good place to pick up deals on actual gear and instruments. The prices
are high compared to festing, but still very low, overall or compared to list.
Skycraft is a place to go where there are no deals, no talk downs and no
humor, but fair prices, and you can go to what you want in literally the
time it take to glide the isles on foot. I loved it and hated it. Call me
jaded, but I am not used to paying a marked price! The largest and best
selection of wire on the planet exists only at this store! From #36 magnet
to #1 magnet wire can be had by the foot or pound. All forms of rubber and
plastic insulated cables and wires are had from #30 insulated to #0. Fully,
half the store is devoted to wire! They will cut, weigh and spool to your
specs immediately while you wait!
I saw resistor drawers against a wall 1 ohm, 2-10 ohms, 10-100ohms, etc for
100 drawers. I went to the drawer marked 10 meg and above and the two
following drawers (high meg). I found 20 watt 500meg power resistors, 1
gigohm power resistors and those rare glass vacuum 10,000 megohm resistors
by victoreen (brand new) $1.00 each I bought them all and tried to cut a
deal for less, but they were not amused. I picked up about 20 priceless HV,
high power, multimeg resistors too.
I will go no farther, but you get the gist... Get to Skycraft in ever forced
to "do Orlando".
Richard Hull, TCBOR