I'm dead tired. Dog tired. Dead dog tired, and who knew they even had tires? I have spent the last week solid converting a phantasmajector (big, fat high-power vacuum tubes, 30 kW, American) stardrive into a lower-power, all solid-state one (1017 of Mom's old-fashioned hand-crufted Watts, but it'd do just about twice that if you pushed hard). Thing has been offline for several years, accumulating spderwebs, mice and grottiness. We took most of the icky bits out ("green slime" liquid cooling, 37,000 Volt, 2 Amp supplies -- "Weld the neighbors from five feet away! Farther under direct sunlight!"* -- and the fwaazommpp high-current supplies for the focus magnets) but it's still....techty. Persnickitty. Unforgiving.
I made the blame thing make power nice-as-nice after today's big repositioning of RF sample probes ("Won't hurt a bit! Just relaaaaaax!") but it still won't quite meet spec for purity of output spectrum. Or of essence -- it's been a long day and I forget which. There's one (1) Gen 1, semi-experimental automagical compensatori-izational thingie that was retrofitted with much mumbling, exclamation and poking at calculators by a factory-official coven (or was it a congeries?) of neckbeards and pocket-protectioders Way Back When and right now, when I enable it, it sets to with a vengeance and makes the signal worse. This is, as we like to say, suboptimal; what it tells me is that alllllll the other little tuning and tweaks are probably gonna merit yet another look -- after I check each and every input to the compomatic autosator, first.
To add to the fun, tomorrow includes the initial setup for some other major work at the very same location (and wouldn't you like to know!), this of a highly physical sort performed by rugged young men, using rugged equipment, ruggedly, in the ruddy cold rugged outdoors -- and I am supposed to keep an eye on 'em as they labor, unceasingly and unstinting, from 7 'til sundown each and every day until they are done.
Not that I'm complaining.
The good news, I'll still make it to tomorrow's BlogMeet, possibly a few minutes late; Ms. Tam will be in charge and I expect attendees to obey her as they would obey me: hardly at all, and even that much with considerable complaint. ;)
* Flashover distances are farther if there's plenty of UV -- so stop playing Chicken with the high-tension lines in June through August, mmmmkay?
Working On A Starship
3 weeks ago