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Microwave Mortuary 2012

Have you ever thrown a shopping cart out of a convertible at 80 mph to observe the sparks? How about hooking up a power amplifier to 115 volts AC just to see how it craters? Your fellow engineers have done these things and more! If you have a great picture of totally destroyed hardware, or a photo of a blown circuit, send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If it gets on the web site you will receive a free Microwaves101 key chain pocket knife! Impress your friends, if not your boss!

New for January 2013: the mortuary has now been separated by year, as we have had a few complaints about how long it takes to load. But maybe it is time some of you considered a better broadband connection to the internet?

Note to mortuary contributors: please consider that your boss may not find your submission in the best interests of your Big Company. Lately we've been getting a lot of "please remove my submission" emails, try not to send us anything that you might regret.

Note to Big Companies: Don't blame us for posting your spectacular failures, we only post what your employees send us. On the other hand, please don't rip off Microwaves101 pictures for presentations without permission, that's bad manners. Maybe it's time for some training!

Note to mortuary fans: In many cases, if you click on pictures on this page you can see higher resolution images.


New for December 2012: these photos came from Kerry:

Ran across this on ebay; Airborne radar receiver I think. This seller is an optimist given the starting price of $200; he also has the subtle gift of understatement; “Item looks in non-working condition. Can't test it.  Sold as is.”.


New for August 2012: These fine photos came from Nicola, from Italy. and sat on our email in-box for several months (sorry!)

File 0 is taken from one of the two sides of a 2KW LDMOS UHF amplifier: as you can see, all the 250W class AB modules inside have burned their hybrid output coupler, for unknown reason.

File 1 is taken from a site in a very windy location: as you can see, wind stole the dish from the mounting brackets.

File 2 is... the dish found somewhere around there.

File 3 and File 4 are the same situation of above, in the same location: the parabolic antenna was attached at the corner of the building because we were not able to find satellite from the lattice tower: there was another tower just opposite the dish.

File 5 is a very old tube linear amplifier, found in a site before installing our systems.

File 6 is an inner damage of a rigid transmission line in a 2KW UHF amplifier: from the right, the line damaged, the coaxial cable of that line, and the new part

File 7 is a very annoying obstacle met in the street trying to reach our broadcasting site

File 8 are damaged antennas because of ice blocks fallen from the lattice tower.

File 0

File 1

File 2


File 3


File 4

File 5

File 6

File 7

File 8


New for July 2012: from Chris:

Attached are three pics for your microwave mortuary.  One morning while making a cup of coffee I saw a lightning bolt hit my backyard near a flock of turkeys.  I learned turkeys really can fly, but didn't think anymore about the strike until I went to get a tool from the shed and found my invisible dog fence controller blown across the room.  The lightning bolt did strike in the vicinity of the buried wire and apparently imparted enough energy to vaporize something within the controller, but what?  The damage clearly originates at the terminals for the buried loop antenna.  The MOV was never installed (no leads poking through on the back side of the PWB).  The teardrop shaped hole was for a case standoff.  My guess is that enough energy was input at the loop antenna to vaporize plastic and circuit board/resist so rapidly as to jet propel the controller across the room.  I've blown stuff up real good before, but nothing beats what mother nature can do.


Also new for July 2012, from Cliff:

The attached picture is the security ECU from a Porsche Boxster.

I live in a quaint English village with a central green and duck pond. Most of the residents here park their cars alongside the pond. Unfortunately about once every 5 years England has some sort of deluge rain storm which leads to the river that fills the pond being overwhelmed with floodwater and as the pond has a sluice gate at one end it acts as a natural dam to any floodwater that comes downstream. Rather sadly I happened to have parked my Boxster right next to the pond last time this flood happened. It was totally unexpected overnight or I wouldn't have been fool enough to park the car there. The first I heard was rather bleary eyed at about 06:00 the following morning when I could here a car alarm going off and then a sudden realisation that it was MY car alarm. Unfortunately the alarm only triggered as the car was in the latter stages of dying and the security ECU is positioned in a well beneath the passenger seat of the car so once the water reached it it not only triggered the alarm but completely immobilised the car so it had to be pushed out of the water. It sat for about a week in the hopes that it "might just dry out" (I didn't know the ECU was waterlogged at this stage) but when it still would not start it was then towed away to a garage who were astonished to find the ECU in the condition seen in this photo. Needless to say Porsche replacement parts are not cheap!

where I usually park my cars and the pond at its normal level

the flooded pond after dead cars removed and level had started to subside

what a Porsche ECU looks like after it's been for a swim


New for June 2012: this came from Reid:

I am a master's student who recently learned a fun lesson in checking part numbers.  I am working on a VHF power amplifier. I received a power amplifier pallet from a trusted source and promptly hooked everything up to test it out.  After having a metal clad SMT capacitor explode in my face (twice), I took the case off of the transistor to see if it was blown a long with the capacitor.  After removing the top casing I realized that this transistor did not look like the others I had opened of the same part.  I found the pieces of the case and found, in fact, it was not the part I thought it was.  Attached is a picture of a  blown UHF 1KW pulsed transistor.   Long story short, always check the part numbers to make sure the manufacturer put it together correctly!

New for May 2012: these came from "Ed 2":

Here are some images of the inside of a weather radar radome that suffered a direct lightning strike.  Two of the images show pieces of fiberglass and gelcoat that were blown off of the panels onto the floor.



New for May 2012: This came from George. Check out how "amplifier" is spelled in Japanese...

While looking through my radio shit/radio humor folder, I found this. No, it's not RF per say, but it is the real data plate on the back of a Sherwood quadraphonic amplifier that I purchased for $20 at a hamfest a few years ago. Despite its dubious nomenclature, it does work well - after I blew the cobwebs out of it and chased the cold-solder demons out of one of the left channel outputs. Enjoy.



New for April 2012. From Ed, his second contribution on failed rotary joints, which makes a great argument for AESAs...

Here are a couple of pictures of an X-band rotary joint that failed and caused the WR112 waveguide connected to it to twist at least two times.


New for March 2012: these came from Chris:

These seem pretty much self-explanatory; the birds are Long Billed Corellas (aka the juvenile delinquents of the bird kingdom), which come in flocks of anything up to a couple of thousand. You can imagine the chaos when they descend on an antenna farm, or even a household TV antenna.

I suppose you have to admire the neat way they have stripped the coax…...


Also new for March 2012: these came from David:

The fried board comes from a 1kW HF transmitter. One of the capacitors had overheated during an experiment, burnt out and taken the board with it. There was also a generous amount of conductive carbon deposits spread around.

The other photographs are of the remains of a protective coaxial spark gap which protected another 10kW HF installation from a nearby lightning strike. The flashover welded one end of the removable spark discharge capsule (about 1cm diameter & 1cm long) to the centre of the coaxial housing as a blob, damaged the outer casing and loosened the central conductor. The rest of the removable spark discharge capsule had been reduced to fragments and hadn't been saved for photography.

Here are links to our archived Mortuary pages:

Main Mortuary Page

2012 Mortuary

2011 Mortuary

2010 Mortuary

2009 Mortuary

2008 Mortuary

2007 Mortuary

2006 Mortuary

2005 Mortuary

2004 Mortuary

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