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
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.
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.
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...
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.
Nancy, I'm always surprised when in a group of people discussing what to do about a problem with a structure or a machine and most of them want to theorize about possible problems/solutions or wave their arms trying to describe the problem instead of going and looking at it. That sometimes includes engineers, I'm sorry to say. Good point about the tower legs design--why weren't they tested in/designed for high winds?
I apologize Jake - I did not mean to imply it is a "walk in the park." My point was only that I would never apply for that type of job because if going up that tower was in the job description - I would be scared to death! But visual inspections are important and a part of any technical job. I guess I am thinking that different people have different personalities and heart stopping heights are a part of that field so it is something people in that field do. As far as seniors - of course I agree. But again, that is a work culture - youngsters doing that type of work is traditional and should be. Seniors have earned a pass. But experience does not necessarily mean senior - No offense intended!
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