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Sherlock Ohms

West Wind Tilts Radio Antenna Out of Range

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S.Wimmer
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Silver
Re: Visual inspection beats all
S.Wimmer   6/14/2012 12:10:31 PM
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I was the 'new guy' at that shop.

By that time I had 10+ years experience under my belt, terrestrial and shipboard.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Visual inspection beats all
Ann R. Thryft   6/14/2012 1:35:56 PM
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Sounds like "new guy" here means last hired, not inexperienced. And I would not apply for that job either. I didn't know how bad my vertigo was until I had to test it driving a 4-wheel drive stickshift big-tire pickup (all for the first time) down a mountain "road"--more like a wide deerpath--from near the top of the continental divide to about 1500 feet below. It was the tennis-racket-shaped hairpin loop with 1,000-foot drops on 3 sides that did me in.

streetrodder
User Rank
Gold
Re: Visual inspection beats all
streetrodder   6/15/2012 4:53:13 PM
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To the comments about designing for high winds.

At 1200 feet, I suspect there's a delicate balance between strngth and weight.  Also, given the region (nebraska), it's pretty hard to design for the strongest potential winds (it IS tornado area).  A wild straightline gust, or rotation that doesn't reach the ground would damage anything in its way.  Putting a shack up there adds to the wind load...

GlennA
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Gold
Re: Visual inspection beats all
GlennA   6/18/2012 10:18:34 AM
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Nancy Golden;  Sort of like when the 'stuff' flows downhill.  I have been the 'new' guy that was handed the problem a few times.  In my experience, sometimes the 'senior' techs, (sometimes by tenure at a company vs. actual practical experience), will make a quick decision that the problem does not warrant their attention.  That could be because it is percieved as a simple problem, or an unimportant problem.   And that could be linked back to the 'assume' comment from another post.  Since troubleshooting always begins with some assumptions, my take on that is to 'Know your assumptions, and know when to re-visit them'.  And the culture is usually that the senior techs have the most 'valid' assumptions.  Many times they do - occasionally they don't.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Visual inspection beats all
Nancy Golden   6/18/2012 4:15:37 PM
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I see you what you are saying GlennA. Test engineering in the semiconductor industry is rather tame compared to other areas of electronics such as the one under discussion - so the decision to send someone to fix something like a test set is not physically demanding or uncomfortable - the pressure is mostly mental (Can the guy fix it - and if it's a production tester - can he fix it really fast because we are losing money). As test engineering manager, rather than sending the "new guy," I would evaluate the situation. If it was "hot" a senior (meaning experienced) tech would be asked to take care of it. A "new" (meaning inexperienced) guy might be sent along to learn. If not "hot," depending on the newbie's ability, I might ask him to take care of a problem so that he can gain both experience and confidence, knowing we have senior techs to back him up if needed...sounds like a very different work culture - each one growing partially due to the physical environment that they are operating in.

jljarvis
User Rank
Gold
Re: Visual inspection beats all
jljarvis   6/19/2012 4:14:39 PM
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Nancy,  where it may cost $250 an hour just to OWN a fully operating semiconductor tester... and thousands more in product that's not processed, the pressure to get the tester or test handler back online is substantial.

Having paid for college in the broadcast industry, I can relate to Glenn's experience aloft. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" often translates to "if it ain't reducing revenue, why bother?".  

When the wind blows from the west, we lose the signal in that direction?   Yeah, sure.  Tell me another one.  Particularly if the station had contract people doing tower maintenance, the urge to wait for the next inspection, rather than go up 1200' would be awfully strong.  

Plus, the cracked legs on the standoff-section of tower might not have been visible unless the wind was right.  

They were lucky the thing didn't get ripped off the tower.

Good story, though, Glenn!  See you on the radio!  de N2EA

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Re: Visual inspection beats all
notarboca   6/19/2012 9:06:05 PM
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ab3a- I just could_not_climb a tower, young or old.  Kudos to those who do, it is necessary.  I watched a video of a tower climb on YouTube; amazing how much sweating vertigo induces.


streetrodder- I once worked on a design for an island to island radio system in the Caribbean, pretty hard to design for Cat 4/5 hurricane winds, just like tornado alley.

ab3a
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Visual inspection beats all
ab3a   6/19/2012 9:13:16 PM
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I have not climbed the big towers. I've been up towers to the 300 foot level. I usually had the luxury of choosing when to climb and I usually take a water bottle and a snack with me. You never know what you'll find when you climb, so stay in shape and be prepared to get off the ladder. I've been on the side of the tower on step bolts too. That was 20 years ago. I don't think I can do so well today... Jake Brodsky

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Visual inspection beats all
Tool_maker   6/20/2012 1:03:32 PM
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Since I get nervous on a step ladder, I am glad there are people like the author willing to do the high wire stuff. Oh yeah, we just had some trees trimmed around our lake house and imagine or surprise when we now have 7 over the air channels instead of 2.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Visual inspection beats all
Rob Spiegel   6/21/2012 5:04:52 PM
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That's amazing, Tool_maker, that the trees would make such a profound difference in your ability to receive signals.

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