Re: Believe it or don't

As a teenager in the hobby, perhaps I have a few things worthwhile that I
can contribute. I got interested in Tesla coiling back in the 8th grade when
I was reading an issue of Popular Elecronics and saw some interesting photos
of coils and other HV machines in an ad. I had already been in the hobby of
electronics for several years now, and the idea of electricity in its "pure"
state captivated me (alot). Within the next few months I saved up and bought
a neon "open" sign from Sam's club:-). After getting home I removed the
transformer from the case, hooked up the HV side to a little bolt gap I had
made, and strung about 20 feet of twine on the pull switch all the way out
my garage door. I pulled the string, OH SO CAREFULLY, and a 1" spark jumped
accross the bolts. WOW. For the next 3 months or so, I familiared myself
more and more with HV under the supervision and help of my grandfather, an
electricity mentor of sorts. We built Jacob's ladders, played with tubes,
lightbulbs, etc, etc, etc. I fondly remember the hours of enjoyment I had
just playing (playing is a bad word choice) around with the neon. Soon I
aquired a 10kv OBIT which broadened my knowledge as well. Sometime around
this time I received my first shock, doing something stupid. I tried to
light a propane torch using the spark. Dumb? your bet. It didn't occur to
me: metal torch, metal tank, my hand. It wasn't a bad shock, but it served
to "knock sense" into me. Realizing that it could have been much worse
(debilitating shock, gas explosion, etc.), a new respect was gained for the
force that I was maybe becoming to comfortable with. I built my first coil
that summer. I moved to a new "lab" and then came my second shock. How did I
do it? Doing something stupid of course. I thought I needed to "test" the
ground rod i just installed. Losing my mind for a moment, i set the tranny
on my lap and plugged it in. It arced to my leg a couple of times before I
yanked the plug out. Why did I get shocked? I was careless (in this case, i
think i must have been half asleep or something). Well, that was three years
ago. Now I'm 16 and have have several coils, became a member of TCBA, and
have built my first magninfier. I have not been shocked since. What am I
trying to say? Not for sure. We do have a hobby that demands respect. It can
be very dangerous whenever we get careless and too "brave". For me,
experience was the best teacher. Being careful, I was able to (very) slowly
work my way up to where I am now. Even getting shocked, however unecassary
and dangerous, helped to teach me about safety. In a couple of years, I'll
probably invest in a non-shunted type transformer. And more than likely I'll
probably taking similiar "overkill" precautions like pulling strings from
outside the lab again. Be careful, do your part, be a mentor. It is our
responsibility to hold all High Voltage experimenters accountable for their
actions, especially if you worry about government bans. Hope my  $00.02 was
of some help.