Probably an impossible request

Thread Starter

Jeff Shepard

Joined Oct 8, 2018
12
I have several boxes of individual neon letters that were part of a sign made many years ago that allowed you to change what the sign said as you saw fit. Here is an example of one of these signs lit up:

http://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=279151

I do not have the backing structure you put these letters onto that generated an RF field that lit them up. Does anyone have any idea what type of circuitry would generate a relatively localized RF field that would excite neon filled letters placed in close proximity to it? It was a tilted metal surface with little slots that the bottoms of the letters fit into. No electrodes are on the letters, they lit up just by being placed in the slots.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,646
When I was a kid and during my early years I was active with ham radio. A popular trick was to place a fluorescent or other gas filled tube like neon in close proximity to a transmitting antenna to ionize the gas in the tube. Running CW (Continuous Wave) transmission the gas would ionize and give a cool effect. While I have no idea what the power was as I recall the gas would ionize when working the 80, 40, 20 and 15 meter ham bands. I do know we have a few active hams in these forums so hopefully another old timer will remember more than I do. The trick would be dumping enough RF power into a plate serving as an antenna driven by a RF amp source. Hopefully one of the members has a better idea as to the details. Pretty cool stuff really.

Ron
 

BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
Hold one close to your wifi antenna. It's not much power but see if it glows at all. Have you got a CB? I have lit florescents at closed gas stations with a CB. Like an awning at a Sheets station. This was decades ago with illegal power. Lit it right up.

A CB properly loaded to a chicken wire frame might light them. One could mount letters near frame. Experiment and play around with it.

Either a high voltage gradient....or a fast voltage gradient, should light them. But it will require power.




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_lamp
 
Last edited:

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,090
When I was a kid and during my early years I was active with ham radio. A popular trick was to place a fluorescent or other gas filled tube like neon in close proximity to a transmitting antenna to ionize the gas in the tube. Running CW (Continuous Wave) transmission the gas would ionize and give a cool effect. While I have no idea what the power was as I recall the gas would ionize when working the 80, 40, 20 and 15 meter ham bands. I do know we have a few active hams in these forums so hopefully another old timer will remember more than I do. The trick would be dumping enough RF power into a plate serving as an antenna driven by a RF amp source. Hopefully one of the members has a better idea as to the details. Pretty cool stuff really.

Ron
Seen that permanently fitted in ships' radio rooms. Never done it myself when active as a ham.

BTW, creating an RF source, is creating an eventual source of interference to some service out there. Better the OP is aware.
 
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