As I recall, shortly after "Parasitics Revisited" was published in the September and October 1990 issues of QST, I received a telephone call from QST Associate Technical Editor, Paul Pagel. He told me that Ameritron-MFJ's chief engineer, Tom Rauch, W8JI, had been complaining often to him about my article on VHF parasitics. Paul said that he could not follow Mr. Rauch's technical arguments on the matter, so he recommended that Mr. Rauch telephone the author. Later that afternoon the telephone rang. Mr. Rauch introduced himself and demanded to know if I was tape-recording the telephone conversation. I told Mr. Rauch that I was not tape-recording the conversation. He was hard to convince of this fact. Mr. Rauch said something about not wanting to hear a recording of the conversation being played on the air.

The main event began. Mr. Rauch said that he was angry because owners of Ameritron amplifiers, who had their bandswitches burn up, were telephoning the factory and complaining that their burned up bandswitches looked like the burned up bandswitch in the VHF parasitics article {October, 1990 QST, page 33, photograph B} Mr. Rauch unequivocally and somewhat stentorianly denied that any amplifier he designed ever had a VHF parasitic oscillation, period. I asked Mr. Rauch why this why his amplifiers never had parasites, and he replied "because Tom Rauch designed them". He said that the bandswitches burned up because of bad antennas, bad operators and cheap coax.

The cheap coax argument didn't seem to wash. I had previously compared inexpensive coax with mil-spec. coax at the calibration-lab where I worked, and there wasn't much difference until I got got to 9+GHz. Sure, an antenna tuner arc or an antenna trap arc can send a spike back to the amplifier and arc the bandswitch, but the bluish arc this produces results in little metal erosion. OTOH, VHF parasitic arcs vapourize metal with impressive ease.

The bad operators argument didn't wash either. I had been phoned by a number of the Ameritron owners who had spoken with Mr. Rauch about why their bandswitches burned up. All of them seemed to be aware of how to tune an amplifier up -- i.e., full rated drive, tune and load for maximum output. Most of these owners said that they were treated like ignoramuses by Mr. Rauch, as if what happened was their fault . The subject of NIH (not invented here) syndrome was discussed.

Since I realized that Mr. Rauch was not going discuss VHF parasitic-oscillations in any of the amplifiers he designed, period, I began talking about parasitics in somebody else's amplifier -- Heath's SB-220. Mr. Rauch seemed to relax a bit. He said that he had seen plenty of parasitic damage in the 400 SB-220s he repaired. . So far, so good. Next, I said that I had some bad news. He said: what's that? I told him that his amplifiers use a VHF parasitic-oscillation suppressor design that is virtually identical to that used in Heath's SB-220. At this point, Mr. Rauch began to speak so loudly that I removed the telephone handset from my ear. I laid the handset on the table. I could still understand every word. At this point, my wife came home. She was standing in the doorway -- and she could plainly hear what Mr. Rauch was saying. The conversation ended a few minutes later.