[time-nuts] Vintage Frequency Measurement
wes at triconet.org
Mon Feb 13 00:10:09 EST 2017
This reminds me.
Many years ago the Titan Missile sites around here in Tucson were being
decommissioned. The people at Davis Monthan AFB who maintained them were going
to be out of work but had an opportunity to bump into something else on base if
they got some more training. I and a coworker, who had quit a tenured position
at the U of A, were both teaching part time at the local Jr college. The AF
approached the college to request a class be developed to help their people
prepare for the new work. The college in turn approached my PhD friend. He was
happy to do the lecture part of a course but wanted nothing to do with teaching
lab work. He asked me to share the job with him.
I don't remember all of the particulars but I do remember that after each lab
session the AF folks removed all of the lab gear from the work benches and
locked it away in storage cabinets before wiping down the benches and mopping
the floors. This included unplugging an HP-5245L and tucking it away. I
admonished them about this practice and actually taught them about crystal
aging, etc and the need for time for stabilization. This was years before GPS.
I had one woman Sgt confess to me that when she went to a silo to check some
frequency or the other, she was supposed to use a piece of equipment that took
hours to stabilize. From the sound of it it was some WWVB phase comparison
equipment. Instead of this process, she grabbed the frequency counter from the
lab, threw it in the PU and hauled it 50 miles to the missile site, plugged it
in and tweaked the widget using the counter. I had visions of a Titan Missile
targeted to hit Vladivostok landing on Tokyo instead.
2/12/2017 7:31 PM, Bob Camp wrote:
> If you look at a typical BC-221 in use, it goes from “calibrated” in a nice warm hut to the back
> of a jeep. It heads out to an ice cold flight line and the switch turns the batteries back on again.
> It bumps in and out of a batch of B-17’s setting each one up for the day’s net frequencies. You
> would be doing very well to hold 50 ppm under those circumstances. That was indeed adequate
> for the purpose.
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