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Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015
Old SchoolPosted Wednesday, February 23, 2011, at 1:12 PM
Close But No Cigar
I've heard the term "old school", and though I have no idea why that truck driver had it painted on his truck, it reminded me of my mission for day.
I've mentioned that I passed my amateur radio exams recently, so now I'm in the process of assembling a ham station. Part of that process is putting up an antenna, and part of antenna installation is proper isolation and grounding. Now here is where my "old school" gets in the way...
The way I want to ground my station involves an old school switch. Most of us have seen those old Frankenstein movies where the mad scientist flips the lever of a large electrical switch and things happen... well that's the type of switch I intend to use. The only problem is I don't (didn't) have one.
I started my search on Ebay and... I found one! Switch showed up and wouldn't you know it, it's half right for my application. It seems I didn't pay close enough attention to the product description, and bought the wrong type switch. Now these things have not been made since the 50's so what am I gonna do now...
Off I go to the guy who has more stuff of all kinds than anyone I've ever met and ask if he might have a part that I could use to modify my existing switch. Well to make the story a bit shorter, he dropped by with a different type switch that I couldn't use, but recommended that I check with the electrical supply house in McCook.
Off I go thinking that the chances of the electrical supply house in McCook having what I need are about slim and none. And I was right. The counter man looked at my switch, listened to my wish of finding the specific parts necessary , and smiled broadly. "Not a chance" he says However he says, "there is a guy..."
Again, to try and shorten the story a bit, the counter man calls "The Guy" and tells him what I'm looking for, he grabs some parts from his secret stash, appears at the electric supply house about 5 minutes later, and guess what... he has exactly what I need. The old copper parts used to be readily available, but try finding them today. Well, I asked "how much?", he said "how about free?", and I replied "you just made one amateur radio operator very happy" and walked out the door with the biggest grin you can imagine.
I discovered that being "old school" around here really is possible with the right support network. And a special thanks to "The Guy"... I wish I knew your name.
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