Quack, quack - it's a Wood Duck


Technology used to bamboozle.
No area of the sciences is immune to misrepresentation to make a quick buck.

One of my past life experiences was servicing cardiac monitors and other Intensive Care Unit and operating theater electronics. I also worked the “Alternative” festival circuit for some years.

809 triode, Rife - Egregious nonsense - DIY, Radionics, Electromagnetic pest repeller, TENS - DIY, MindBeam glasses, Kirlian photography, Colloidal silver, Ionisers

The 809 Power Triode

30 watts, 1000 volts, 125mA, 60MHz, 6.3V @ 2.5A
145 watts from a pair in class B with 1kV HT. :)

And here is a Rife Beam Ray Unit using one. This is apparently a powerful RF oscillator modulated by an audio frequency oscillator. Pardon me for remarking that either “beam” or “ray” in the name is redundant.

Rife Beam Ray Unit
Click for full size 31kb jpg.

L to R: big wirewound pot on the (polished silver) front panel; metal valve; small tranny; handsome 809; big tranny; rectifier (5Y3 ?)

In a reverse view there are two more metal valves and a four-gang tuning cap with vernier drive. In a transmitter this would normally be part of the output matching network, but in this case I think it's part of a cap tuned Wien-bridge audio oscillator.

Now, please fasten your seatbelt and take a firm grip on your favorite electronics textbook, we are about to leave the planet.

Egregious nonsense

Whatever problem you've got,
from lung cancer to bed bugs,
from moldy bread to an unwanted partner,
this gizmo will get rid if it for you.

When I go to a newsagent these days I find astrology magazines filed under “astronomy”, and Nexus between New Scientist and Scientific American.

Nexus? Its' masthead reads “Conspiracies - Behind the News - Health - UFOs - Future Science”.

So what's a nice big valve like you, doing in a mag like this?

The basic idea is that undesirable things can be resonated to death. The shattering wine glass effect.

Each of these things has a particular frequency associated with its resonant explosion, and these happen to range from the low audio to around 40kHz.

The variable audio oscillator modulated the transmitter which ionises a glow tube of some sort that is waved over the patient and they are instantly cured of everything. I thinks that's a fair precis of the five pages of part one (Nexus, Feb-Mar 98). Since argon is the authors favored gas ordinary light globes might be employed, avoiding the huge cost of a specific “Rife Tube”.

This must have looked pretty impressive in c1932. And it still looks pretty weird when Hams wave fluro tubes around energised antennas at HamFests and the like, like a LightSaber.

And that's where the metaphysical codswallop starts. This glow radiates what the author has named “plasma waves”, whatever they are, that causes all the baddys to explode.

This is one mean emination, whatever it is, because it can pass through concrete, steel, and even lead. Put in perspective, if the authors claims were true Rife's discovery would clearly exceed Roentgen's discovery of x-rays, widely employed within months of discovery, to the present day.

And since then we have known that hard (high energy, penetrating) radiation causes considerable biological damage. These so-called “plasma waves” are apparently harder than x-ray/gamma rays and we could therefore reasonably expect them to be even less discriminating and more damaging. But even within known biophysics this gizmo has its own health risks.

When I say “baddies”, this covers viruses, fleas, cockroaches, spiders and rodents, something like The Electromagnetic Pulse Method (below).

What has really got me puzzled is how “Dr” Rife was able to cure like Christ, and never accidentally explode someone, kill off all their gut flora, zap their liver or something. What about his mistakes? What about his research work on animals, all those rabbit pies his wife kept giving away until even Church fetes were turning them down?

And how much different is the resonant frequency of a cat to a rat? What happens if your hand slips on the frequency dial? Does Moggy explode? Dial up “mouse” and the goldfish and budgy vaporise?

Anyway poor “Dr” Royal Rife was suppressed by the medical establishment for fifty years until the author, James E. Bare, DC, of Albuquerque, re-discovered his work. (DC? Doctor of Chiropratic.)

By “the medical establishment” Dr J means, of course the drug companies. I despise the multinational drug cartels as much as the next bloke, but why supress what they could make a motza selling alongside overpriced x-ray machines, ultrasounds, CAT scanners and the like?

Looking at the background of the photos this discovery was made in a very well-equipped modern electronics workshop. But I don't think it can be Dr J's workshop because he says:

“By using an AM wave rather than a frequency modulated (FM) wave, a phenomenon results: the creation of sidebands. ” (my emph.)

FM doesn't have sidebands? Really? “An electronic tinkerer since his teens...” Dr J's library seems to lack some basic texts, given his aim to produce the widest possible signal (known to CB'ers as “splatter” and considered very unsociable in radio circles).

“An fm or pm signal therefore inherently occupies a wider channel than a-m.” (ARRL, my emph.)

Sidebands in FM and PM
The Radio Amateurs VHF Handbook, ARRL, 1972 p219.

Now ya gotta wonder what this guy has been doing during his 20-plus years of “research” into a supposed modulation phenomenon, because he's managed to learn virtually nothing about the basics of signal modulation critically related to his alledged “research”.

The author implies this unit dates from late 1920's to the early 1930's. One of his endnotes implies 1987-50=1937. After a careful scrute I'd place it a bit later, about mid-1940's. My problem with dating this before WW2 are the metal valves. Here is a dated example for comparison.

Ham equipment built c1931

And Dr J will sell you a video that shows you how to build your own using modern bits (thus neatly avoiding any liability for selling a medical device).

Nobody could accuse Nexus of consistancy. Alongside this article showing how to irresponsibly irradiate people with high levels of electro-magnetic radiation there are ads for various devices, potions and powders specifically touted to combat or reverse the effects of e-m radiation. These include gemstones, teas and herbs, compounds of rock, and clay with magic properties.

In the interests of Amateur Science, Cancer Research, and a possible answer to the cellphone plague, here is my suggestion for how to assemble a modern version of Dr Rife's Beam Ray Generator.

  1. Buy a 27MHz CB radio and a regulated power supply good for 40-50 watts.
  2. Only talk to AM CB'ers who have foul overcompressed audio, maybe with echo, and squillions of channels.
  3. “Hook up” and “eyeball” (meet) them (generally at the local all-night).
  4. Find out who does “extras” (illegal modifications).
  5. Get this person to go the full max for power, disable the mic ALC, and tune the output for maximum wick.
  6. You need a square wave oscillator, anything from a 555 to a function generator, that can put out at least a volt.
  7. Buy a linear amplifer of the required power rating (25 watts in the original).
  8. Buy a fluro or what ever gas tube you desire (old neon sign?).
  9. Connect the audio generator to the CB microphone input, turn it right up.
  10. Connect the output of the CB to the input of the linear amp (which your “extras” buddy can tune up too).
  11. Connect the output of the linear amp to your glow tube.
  12. It's entirely up to you if you want to turn this contraption on at this point. Even at 25 watts RF burns can be unexpected and very painful pin-points.

Now you are set to cure HIV/AIDS, cancer, set up as a pest exterminator, petrify the cat, and obliterate all radio communications in your area. And possibly at some point on the other side of the planet as well.

A portable Rife generator could be invaluable for those moments when you are stuck in a lift or a train and somebodies cellphone rings. With a simple flip of the switch you will never again have to endure somebody yelling “YOU'RE DROPPING OUT!”.

Think of all the fun you'll have discovering which frequency does what.

“Oooh, look! Grannies false teeth just exploded!”


If the Rife device is the transmitter, then a radionics box is the receiver.

The “theory”

Like the Rife device, Radionics is supposedly based in resonances and frequencies (but be warned these terms, like most technical terms used in this area, don't have their normally accepted meanings, “energy” being a real trap). In this case the object is diagnosis not direct treatment and samples are scanned using a Radionics box.


Samples for testing (which seems to include anything that will fit) are placed in an ornate test cell, then the operator twiddles knobs and flips switches, makes a show of reading dials, theatrical hocus-pocus and some pseudo-scientific baffle-waffle, then announces the result, the detected condition, and prescribes treatment.

Radionics and variations have been found in stables treating race horses. This makes good sense because generally owners don't know a lot about equine disorders, animal treatment is less regulated than human treatment, and if the owners can afford a racehorse, they can afford a quack.

One unit on offer is ominously called an “Electronic Mind Control System”, but they don't make it clear whos.

The Hardware

Most Radionics boxes are very impressive-looking equipment, large polished wooden case, lots of dials, switches, lights and meters (a bit like the original Theremins).

Published circuits for Radionics boxes make a nonsense of the term. A circuit is named for the fact that electrons flow in closed loops, or circuits. The Radionics box has many parts interconnected in ways that go nowhere.

The real circuit is another matter. The many dials are on pots, and these are arranged in various ways to deflect the various meters in different ways. It is a pure theater or conjuring prop. It has been quite well devised because casual dial twiddling seems to produce random results and the meters move gracefully. But with a bit of practice just about any desired set of readings can be produced as required.

The Electromagnetic Pulse Method Pest Repeller

This gizmo is a plugpack/wallwart with two LED's. The green LED shows power on, and the red LED is flashed by “silicon technology” that looks like a 555.

The “theory” in the TV shopping shows is that it produces “elecromagnetic pulses” that spread along the house wiring and repel all “baddies” (defined above). The pulse is the LED flashing. It does not claim to cure cancer or HIV/AIDS.

A food shopkeeper in Collingwood, Vic, told me his was approved by the local health inspector as effective pest control.

At almost $A200 this device has no merit at all.

Transcutanious Electro Neural Stimulation - TENS

(I kid you not)

If you want to entrain your brainwaves as part of NLP - Neuro Ligusitic Programming (no, I didn't make that up either), you need a TENS unit.

Don't pay $A499 or more for a commerial one when you already have most of what you need, and personalise it in a way you can't with the commercial units.

First the hardware. You need: Method: How to make the brainwave entraining tapes: Use:

The bad/sad news is this is a real device, real cost, real price, and a bloody stupid idea.


Yet another “brainwave entrainment” device.

This battery operated device turned up for repair, consisting of a small box with a knob, and a pair of cheap sunnies with the filters replaced by black plastic with a LED fitted through each. The LED's flashed at a rate controlled by the knob.

While quite expensive and poorly constructed the claims for this unit were limited to it being a mind expanding aid to meditation.

The problem was a broken wire to the glasses, easily fixed. The box contained yet another 555.

The glasses themselves were quite disconcerting to put on because the mounting of the LED's gave an impression you were going to be poked in the eyes.

In operation with my eyes closed I found the flashing of the LED's irritating and distracting rather than soothing. And the $3.99 frames very uncomfortable, but what do you expect for only $A300?

More modern versions are now available with lots of buttons for around $A450.

Kirlian Photography

This is a process of producing a photograph of an object in contact with the film, energised with high voltage. Most of the exposure takes place around the edges of the object, and the technique can produce some lovely images.

By its nature, in Kirlian photography the film must be in contact with the subject, so no outdoor scenes.

This does what you would expect and produces images with lots of fine lightning-like tendrils all around. By itself this is a potentially satisfying artistic backwater of photography.

The only techie bit is the HV power supply which is generally a very limited and simple blocking oscillator.

The Theory

Kirlian photography exposes “auras”, human and other.

The variability inherent with high voltage photography allows a wide field for interpretation of images for the practioner.

Colloidal Silver

There are a number of small battery operated units with silver electrodes that are supposed to create colloidal silver suspended in water.

All of these seem to pulse their output so they are likely yet more 555's. One version has a switched timeout so it may be based on a 4060 instead. Prices range from about $150 for a unit to $250 for a silver-making kit.

The “Theory”

Drinking colloidal silver is claimed to cure illness.


These are low-power high voltage supplies connected to one or more sharp points. Mains or battery they generally consist of a small oscillator driving a Cockroft-Walton multiplier chain.

In operation a light draft can be felt in front of the discharge needles. This is actually air accelerated by the electrons spraying off the points.

There is no doubt that ionisers ionise air. One of the effects of running an ioniser for a long period is that the walls and surroundings get impregnated with charged dirt and smoke particles from the air, which no amount of cleaning will remove and requiring overpainting.

In fact this high voltage technique is used in dry painting and powder coating to get an even coating of the object, the charged paint particles being electrostically drawn to it.

This is hardly surprising since similar units are used in air conditioning systems and power station smokestacks to precipitate dust.

The claims that ions are themselves healthful to inhale is doubtful.

Most of these units also produce ozone, O3, which is highly reactive and toxic and has a sharp metalic smell even below 1 part in a million.


Most people are reasonable and honest, and tend to see others in that light. So when they come across offerings like this they tend to think, “well it must be okay; there must be something in it or it wouldn't be on the market”.

It's not nice to think that there are people who concoct a bunch of scientific-sounding jargon to flog a techno-gizmo that is a plain fraud. Or that you have been taken in by it. Many of these seem to have been very carefully thought out and produced and cynically marketed. The buyer invests trust in the product and supplier in proportion to the price, and the alternative to being one step ahead is looking like a stupid dill. Which is why so many frauds go unreported and the fraudsters simply move on to greener pastures.

Since these are nominally electronic devices they sometimes turn up on the bench for service.

In this situation there are some things to keep in mind.

The person has come to you as a last resort after their chiropractor or local guru couldn't fix it.

There are two sorts of people in the world, those who imprisoned, cut up and kept secret the aliens who crashed at Roswell, and those who are trying to expose the truth. As a tech, engineer or whatever, you are on the wrong side. They are communing with the enemy.

Just fix anything that is broken and do not enquire into it's theory of operation - it won't end well.

If the complaint is that the device doesn't deliver the goods, e.g. “My silver generator can't be working because I still got sick”, run a mile. Otherwise you will end up being the first person to tell them they have been defrauded when they are actually listening, and they generally won't thank you.

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