Thursday, March 31, 2016


     I spent some time yesterday at a radar site my employer owns.  It's haunted.  Benevolently haunted, but haunted nevertheless.
      Radar, you see, was the special province of my late co-worker Dave B. -- the main source for the character "Handsome Dave" in my Hidden Frontier stories -- and it bears his imprint through and through: notes posted on the equipment, the careful-but-not-fussy way tools and supplies are organized, odds and ends of infrastructure, labels on the less-obvious widgetry.

     I started up the stairs -- a dizzying spiral climb, 100 feet to the top -- and was reminded of the hot day the radar acted up and Dave went to the site alone, charged up the stairs, reached the top (over a hundred degrees, the thing was a chimney with no outlet before we added thermostatic vents), opened the door to the outside walkway and collapsed, only to wake a few minutes later, looking down through the grating deck at concrete and gravel far below while his cellphone buzzed with a call from the office, wondering if he was there yet.  It's a measure of the man that he told the story with a laugh -- and he disliked heights intensely.

     The equipment is crammed into a tiny space inside the base of the radar tower; two people fit but they can't pass one another.  I was taking an RF jumper apart to make a power measurement and reached over to the toolbox for an SMA connector wrench.  The wrench drawer had the usual assortment, with a flat bag of tiny "ignition wrenches." One of them was sitting next to the bag and I picked it up first, confident it would be be 5/16", the standard size for those connectors.  Yep, it was.  Thanks, Dave.

     When my co-worker and I left, we made sure tools were up and the site was in good order.  I'm not quite that organized and neither is he -- but Dave would have razzed us about it if we'd left a mess.

1 comment:

JC said...

I've been known to tape wrenches on the side of equipment, in fact I once bought a neat dozen of 5/16s for that purpose. Hope your mom is doing well.