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From: "Barry L. Ornitz" <>
Subject: Re: 'Tis the Season: A couple of cautions
Date: 08 Apr 1999

Peter Wieck gave an excellent warning about old radios that might be found
containing insect eggs or mouse droppings.

The danger with the Hanta virus is not just when the droppings are wet; it
is also dangerous when they are dry and you breath the dust too.  Always
wear a dust mask when even moving these radios.  Better even than Lysol for
killing the virus is Dow Foaming Bathroom Cleaner.  This does not stir up a
dust, it is a good disinfectant, it kills many insects and their eggs, and
the foam works its way into inaccessible areas.  It also does a great job
of loosening the dirt and cleaning the radio too.  While I do not recommend
this treatment on radios that do not need it, it works well for those that
do.  Remember the radio is basically worthless if it damages your health!

Be sure and rinse the radio afterward with fresh water.  Naturally all the
precautions about avoiding getting water into transformers and paper items
should be followed.  But with mouse droppings, you really have little
choice.  If you have hard water, do the final rinse with distilled or
deionized water.  I have found that these radios can take several days to
dry, even when heated in a warm (140 F, 60 C) oven.  Do not go any higher
than this in temperature.  Since this treatment also removes oils, you will
need to relubricate all switches and the bearings on capacitors and

While the Hanta virus is mainly a problem for the southwest, it cannot be
ignored elsewhere - as Peter indicated.  Histoplasmosis spores are found
almost everywhere, and other molds and mildew can cause problems for people
too.  My brother-in-law still occasionally coughs up "rocks" - calcium
deposits from lung scarring from histoplasmosis contracted years earlier.

Thank you, Peter Wieck, for bringing this up.

        Barry L. Ornitz     WA4VZQ

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