RF and my artificial hip- med professionals welcome

I have had a total hip replacement.
I work at a plant testing 2 way radios.
Will the RF, sometimes over 50 watts, affect my hip?
I am in close proximity to the radios,a couple of feet, and sometimes 8 radios at a time.
I have had RF burns before,minor finger burns from touching something ,so I am wondering if you can get burnt internally.

It depends.

Are you testing with an antenna or a dummy load? If you are on a dummy load, then you are in absolutely no danger that you weren’t in before.

If you are using an antenna, then there is some slight danger. I’m going to assume that you’ve got a metal hip replacement - I suppose they might make them out of plastics but I’m not really up on that kind of thing.

You might have a slight chance of a burn - IF you are using antennas and if you should happen to transmit on a frequency close to a resonant frequency of one of the pieces of metal. You would have to be standing very close to the antenna, and you’d probably be more in danger of getting y burn from the antenna itself.

If you are live testing equipment with antennas, you shouldn’t be that close to the antennas, anyway. Basic safey rules ought to keep you further back than that. I don’t know why you’d do a live test with antennas in the factory, though.

The company I used to work for built repeater stations (amongst other many and varied strange things for radio communciations.) We never did full power testing with antennas on them in the shop. We’d assemble the units, and test them on a dummy load. Then we’d test all of the cables and the antennas for proper match and for shorts or opens - but not on the radio. If each component tests OK, then there should be no problems at power. After testing we’d ship them to the customer for installation, and the first run with antennas and transmitting full power would be on site. We never had a failure.

It also greatly depends on the dimensions of the replacement, the frequency being used and the type and gain of the antennas. Even so, 50 watts isn’t all that much. I’ve worked with antennas operating across a wide range of frequencies and power levels, and barring direct contact (d’oh!) I’ve never had an RF burn from radiated energy.

The hip is a combination of stainless steel and plastic.
Its 3 years old.
The job is barely 1 year old.
What I’m mainly wondering is what happens with constant exposure to RF.
Am I more suseptable to problems since I have the hip replacement?
It would have to be by radiated RF.
It appears that before myself and the other temps there wasn’t just one tester. My exposure is at least 8 hours a day. It seems the regulars traded off running the benches quite often.
Some of the repair techs are balding and blame RF.I dunno.

I should also point out that the radios are not complete units yet. Its a board test.

Then in all likelyhood you are testing into a dummy load, and you should have no problems with RF burns - unless you touch something on the board when it is live.

I’ve heard a lot of claims about the supposed ill effects of RF, but baldness is a new one for me.

There are a bunch of people trying to prove that RF causes cancer, but after a couple of decades of research they haven’t managed to make a convincing case of it.

RF isn’t proven to do much except cause heat, so I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you.

Quote engineer_comp_geek
RF isn’t proven to do much except cause heat

Well, I’m not too much in favor of cooking my leg either.:slight_smile:

I think you guys are right about the power being pretty low.
Maybe 1K watts or more would be a concern.
I’m mighty careful about the thing. Its not a neat experience having a joint so badly worn you need it replaced. If all goes well they will only have to do it once more before I die.

If it helps any, the plastic is almost certainly High Molecular Weight Polyethelyne and not likely to respond to RF in any interesting fashion.

If you’re sure the prosthesis is stainless steel, it’s probably either 316 or 316L. (Google and) I couldn’t find anything useful on implant response to RF fields. However, 316 and 316L stainless are both pretty common materials for use in RF applications, so odds are with the right power and signal, you could use your implant as a reciever. I’d leave that part up to the other experts on the board who actually know about RF. My experience is limited to playing with hip implants in a biomechanics lab.

Some good articles on the metals in implants:
http://www.orthopaedics.com/institute/teaching/talks/Metals%20in%20orthopaedics.htm

Good luck with your hip!

Since he is bench testing, there is no significant transmission of RF energy. A properly matched connection and dummy load absorbs the RF and converts it to heat. Very damned little escapes - and most certainly not enough to cause heating in a metallic object a foot or more away.

Your greatest danger is simply touching an exposed connection and getting an RF burn where you touched it.

BTW: May I ask which company you work for?

Mort Furd - Radio Technician

I’m a temp working for Adecco at Celestica.
The radios are Motorola.
There will be some RF, don’t know how much, radiated from the radios since it is not completely assembled.
Most of my testing is at board level.
I’m testing a newly designed radio which is being tested at 80+ watts. This one is VHF.
The engineer I talked to,a visitor I’ve gotten to know, isn’t involved in this project.He is the one that told me
test at 50w operate at 80w.
The case for this radio is cast aluminum so at board level its not as well shielded.Our test fixture does include an
enclosure though.
Thanks for your responses.

justwannano- 30 years electronic S&R experience just not with radios.

I should explain that the tests are computer controlled. I have no control of them at all.
In this position I’m basicly just a factory worker who knows a little more about what is
happening than most.