The CFL is coming and Im not referring to the Canadian football league….

The way of the future?
I was doing some reading in the November issue of CQ and in the U.S the incandescent light bulb will "somewhat" come to an end as of January 1 2012....hmmm not to far away eh! Maybe a pre New Years Eve resolutions should be to get out and grab up the incandescent lights before they are gone. Not all is lost there is a reprieve for the tri-light, the appliance bulbs and get this flamed shaped chandelier bulb???? Light bulbs from 40 watts to 150 are soon to be no more!! Up here in Canada as of 2012 the light bulb will still populate the store shelves, for at least the time being anyway. As for the VE3WDM household we have gone (well almost) compact florescent (CFL) for about 4 years. Now back then these puppies were not cheap and well to be honest they have come down in price but not a whole lot. So how many of you ham's out there are into the
CFL thing??? Now since I have had them for some time now I do want to clear up some myths and truths about these types of lights. One of the myths is they just don't last long....well for 4 years I have not changed one CFL!!! Oh and believe me we do not live in the dark here either. I get my exercise up and down stairs turning off lights that somehow just get left on???  They do take some time to get to full illumination that is an annoying truth and if the room is cool it's even longer. There are some newer ones out there that are supposed to be "instant on" I have seen these CFL's in action and  they are not at all like our friend the incandescent light were we are used to poof and there is light.  Another myth....well for my home is that they cause RFI. I have not found this to be the case my rig (Elecraft K3,K2) does not show any S meter change if the lights are on or off. It's the Plasma TV here that kills me!!! Another truth is they do cast a "different" type of light from the light bulb, you do get used to it. The CFL market now offers cool white, warm white and reading lights so they have come a long way. I have not had a chance to test these as my darn CFL's wont burn out!!! Here is a myth and a truth combination, the myth is you will save on your hydro bill each month.....the truth is not until you have paid for the out of pocket cost of the CFL's!! Speaking of cost I did say in the opening paragraph that our household has "almost" gone CFL. In our bathroom we have a vanity light that is just great. It takes what is called 6 fat Albert 40 watt bulbs. I still have the incandescent ones and this past weekend replaced them all guessed it with the BAD incandescent ones. Why you ask???? well for 6 it cost me 12.00 to go with CFL fat Albert's your looking at 96.00!!!! It sure would take a long time to get that money back in hydro savings.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

16 Responses to “The CFL is coming and Im not referring to the Canadian football league….”

  • Alan, WA4SCA:

    I tried them in my bathroom. They lasted exactly one shave, because the rfi was bad enough on BCB AM to be annoying. They have since been relocated to less sensitive areas. I have about 10 years, at normal consumption, supply of “real” lights. I figure that by then, CFLs will either be working correctly, and/or replaced with something which does.

  • Stewart VA3PID:

    CFLs? Old news.

    I’ve been using CFLs for about 20 years. The first Phillips SLs cast a brownish-green glow, and were frankly a bit rubbish. Last I heard, my first SL was still working in my parents’ old house.

    Some CFLs don’t last as long as you’d expect. I get about five years out of them. When they go, I’m replacing them (where practical) with LEDs.

  • Tom Kb3hg:

    I have been using CFLs for years also, I have found That they do not last much past 18 months. The ones that last seem to have been the brand name ones. For some reason they won’t work in my garage opener (sears Craftsman).I have not run into the RFI , although in colder weather they don’t like to come up to full brilliance quickly. I saw a big difference in the electric bill when I switched. My ROI was right at 90 days.


  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Alan, I have the old fashion lights in the washroom and they are great except in the morning. Turn the lights on when your half asleep and it’s POOF full tilt light.

    Good morning Stewart, Yes the LED’s seem to be a better option but the price right now is very high.

    Good morning Tom,I have now seen CFL’s for outdoor use and I have one at the front door and it seems to do just great. The winter cold does not seem to affect it at all.

    Well Alan, Stewart and Tom thanks for stopping by the blog and putting your comments out there. Each of you have a great weekend.

  • Matt W1MST:

    Has anyone found any LED lightbulbs at anything approaching a reasonable price? If so, what’s the brand and where did you find them?

    I would love to hear some LED lightbulb reviews if anyone has any firsthand experience. I’m especially interested in any RFI issues.

  • Paul kb2muq:

    I read an item here on line about the new CFL and believe me I will not have them in my home, it showed the results of a man that dropped on and then stepped in the broken glass, the result was an extended stay in the Hospital and the photo’s of his foot scared the living H— out of me, he was lucky in that he didn’t lose his foot.

  • Tom Kb3hg:

    Just saw 7 or 9 Watt LED bulb sale for 9.99 in the last couple of days I forget where. (Newspaper insert) I have had one of those LED night lights for years. No problems, should have purchased many more, they work great in the camper. I just happened to be in the right place at the right was on sale due to lack of sales at full price.


  • Good evening Paul, its true you can get into major trouble with infection. But the big picture for me is there are folks who have been in bad shape after a plan crash…..but I still fly. I have read about electrocution…..but I’m not going to live in the dark. Also have seen crazy car crashes…..but I am for sure not going to walk 60 miles to work. Paul get the CFL”s but walk softly. Thanks for stopping by Paul and thanks for your input.

  • KQ2RP Chris:

    CFL’s are dirty, slow, noisy technology. Most people don’t understand the steps that need to be taken for disposal and breakage. They do not reach full output immediately, aren’t dimmable and many do report RFI. A poor intermediate step to LED, IMO. The PHilips Ambient LED 12.5 W will replace a 60 W bulb and last 20+ years. Right now, typical cost is about $27, but deals can be had.

  • Good evening Chris, very informative insight the way I see CFL”s is a very good step in the right direction. True they are far from perfect but on the road toward ideal there has to be less to get toward the best. Thanks for stopping by the blog and your input.

  • John Yochom KB3KEM:

    Yeah,their great all right. Let the cost burden fall to the working class man.
    Im stocking the “edison” lamp.

  • Eric AJ4LN:

    Most of my house has CFL or regular old fluorescent tubes. Mostly, the only places where I still have incandescents are the 4 places where we still have dimmers. In a few rooms, I’ve removed the dimmers, since they weren’t needed, and installed CFL’s.

    In the bedroom, for the past 25+ years I’ve used a variac next to the bed as a light dimmer, to completely eliminate the bulb buzzing caused by triac dimmers, and to be able to get very low light levels, even when coming up form off, and the only lights that will work with a variac dimmer are incandescent.

    In the master bath I have a regular triac dimmer, and hope to someday find some CFL’s or LED’s that will work well on a dimmer, but they also have to be inexpensive since I will need 8 of them.

  • Mark W3LZK:

    I use CFL bulbs in all but a couple of light fixtures, the main 3 are my wife and my bed lamps which are 50-69 years old,(my wifes mother got them for some event back in the mid to late 40′ very early 50’s) Our son’s room inhs fan/light combo..which is laughable, cause that lamp fixture the lamp is like one of those refridgerator bulbs..tiny 40 watt thing, gives out a pretty bright light though. We have two small table top lamps we got with S&H Green Stamps back when we first got together 30 years ago. How many of us remember Green Stamps? We got a lot of decent stuff for the house wth Green time flies.

    I digress though, as to our table lamps..both have CFL’s in them, the one is less than 5′ from my Icom 746Pro, the other is 6′-8′ from my 746Pro..nither one produce any RFI what so ever. we also have a hanging lamp we’ve had a CFL in it since we put it up. I found through trial and error that different mfg. of these bulbs will yield varying degrees of reliability. As with anything you get what you pay for, we get not necessarily the top of the line nor the cheapest, but something in between, the CFL’s we have now..I haven’t had to change..and we’ve had them in anywhere from 2-4 years now. As our incandesent bulbs fail and burn out we replace them with CFL’s..however I doubt seriously that we will ever find a CFL to fit in our bed lamps..let me rephrase that, we wnt find any CFL’s that we’ll be able to put the shades of thes pretty, old lamp, not pretty old..but pretty lamps that they are nd old to boot. Just can’t use CFL’s in em and have the shade fit. All our kitchen lights are CFL or the 48″ long floursecent bulbs. My desk in the back room I have the short floursecent bulbs which have been in thereway longer than I’ve had the lamp, and that lamp sits over my Icom 756 ProIII. Yes we do like the CFL’s, as much light as the old incandesents, none of the heat adds up, and it shows on our utility bill.

    73 de Mark
    Going all floursecent

  • Larry VE8NX:

    have been using cfl for several years. I just watch for sales and pick them up. Got a schwack of them at IKEA last year for less than a dollar each! Disposal is in the same boat as fluorescent tubes which most of us have been using for a long long time. I can remember breaking them open as a kid and collecting the small amounts of mercury. Of course it wasn’t a toxin back then :p

    they do take a moment or two to warm up but I kind of like that in the morning.

  • kd5rgj:


  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Hi John, very good point but as I remember it…seems to me there is a heck of a lot that falls on the working man/women eh.

    Good evening Eric,there are dimmers out there for CFL’s but you first have to purchase a dimmer type CFL and then the dimmer. A lot of cost to just dim the lights. Stick with Edison until they get it figured out to a more cost effective method.

    Mark that is a very good point I too have some sockets that will just not take the CFL’s. These babies are not as old as the ones you are talking about either.

    Well Spencer that is true of lots of things these days…lots of money is spent on the car that still does not seem to run well. On the 25 year shingles that barley make it to 10 years. The diet food (which cost more)that is supposed to taste great…..yah right!! Then there is the new yet just a bit more expensive cell provider that will not drop a call…”hello can you hear me now??” The list can go on and on…..

    Evening Larry, I too have gone to Ikea and found them for a good price when we have gone there for other things. At the time we did not need them so we just pasted them by.

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