I spent some time yesterday at a radar site my employer owns. It's haunted. Benevolently haunted, but haunted nevertheless.
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.
Working On A Starship
3 weeks ago