"Midnight" engineering

A case of PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair)? Tell us about your war stories!
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davek
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Location: Sydney, Australia

"Midnight" engineering

Post by davek » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:05 am

Was wondering what other examples of "midnight" engineering are out there?

For example, the other night an intense electrical storm passed over a TV translator site I help maintain.
The site took a direct hit causing 2 UPS units to go into permanent bypass, killed the security alarm panel, and curiously took out 2 GPS antennae (which are used to sync the digital TV translators).

After the storm passed I managed to cobble together a makeshift GPS antenna mounted on some plastic conduit (recently removed from a recently scrapped analogue TV transmitter). Strapped it to the fence, called it a night, and figured it was not a bad effort for 12am...
WP_000971.jpg

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Deep Thought
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Re: "Midnight" engineering

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:20 am

Looks good. Actually, I've seen some "permanent" installations that looked worse. 8)

Nice electric fence, too. :shock: You'd never get away with that up here. :lol:
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

jeeisenz
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Re: "Midnight" engineering

Post by jeeisenz » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:07 pm

Very nice - although I got nothing as close as you.

The one I remember is when our DAX-1 was having PA_BRIDGE faults. Knowing we needed to get a new module for it - and having none avail - i tried to coax the MW-1A into the antenna. No matter what I did - had no output. it was about 12:30-1:00 AM. Got frustrated, kicked the front panel. *bing* all the meters came up and it loaded int the antenna nicely. Tune it quicklike and let 'er buck until I got new part for the DAX-1.

Funny thing is - every time I load it into the antenna for a "test" - I haven't had to kick it. Maybe we just see eye to eye.

grich
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Re: "Midnight" engineering

Post by grich » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:17 am

My mentor made the local newspaper for a repair he did on a Harris FM2.5H3. The plate cap for the final tube (5CX1500A) somehow became unusable. No spare copper strap around, so he cut a strap from a Pepsi can. Lugged the high voltage lead to that strap, put it on the tube, and back on the air. As far as I know, that transmitter retired with the strap still in place.

This was around 1980. Back when Pepsi cans contained a more substantial amount of metal. I'm sure the same stunt with a modern Pepsi can would result in vaporized aluminum. :D

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RGORJANCE
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Re: "Midnight" engineering

Post by RGORJANCE » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:47 am

Oh, boy! Real steel soda and beer cans. Made a "beer can vertical" in the early 50's to try out on the ham bands. Spent a lot of time soldering them together.

One of our "tea totaling" Oklahoma neighbors complained to my dad that it was "not appropriate". Needless to say, It remained vertical until a really strong wind took it out many months later. I must say, it was rather picturesque with all the different brands prominently displayed.

Even the newer lightweight aluminum cans can be re-purposed into useful material. One of my uncles made birdhouses modeled on real old style classic buildings making door hinges,etc out of the easily shaped aluminum.

Fossi

Radio Ranger
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Re: "Midnight" engineering

Post by Radio Ranger » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:57 pm

Bob, I remember reading about beer can verticals in QST a long time ago but then forgot about them until years later when I read somewhere about Beverage antennas---which I thought were one and the same until I looked them up in an ARRL Antenna book!

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w9wi
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Re: "Midnight" engineering

Post by w9wi » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:32 pm

A long-since-retired WSMV engineer once cut the top off a Pepsi can, then cut the top half of the can into strips. Bent them out straight at a 90deg angle to the rest of the can. Twisted them a few degrees. Drilled a hole in the bottom. Ran a clothes hanger through it & hung it from the ceiling.

We were having trouble with the ventilation fan kicking off. If the Pepsi can stopped spinning... it was time to reset the breaker.
--
Doug Smith W9WI
Pleasant View, TN EM66

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