by Roland Ayo. This Story first ran on the exOTC website in late 2001. It was reprinted in the OTVA newsletter in 2002.
My first install in OTC was to Western Australia (the Carnarvon Installation). Barry Thomson led the team to remove the Ground Equipment from the caravans to the new building, and for the first time OTC was to run and joint rigid wave guide from the NASA Sugar Scoop Antenna to the Ground Equipment room. Tradesmen had under gone training at Marrickville and jigs had been developed for the precision cuffing and methods to sweat the waveguide to its termination. Measurements of return loss would be the final arbitors as to the jointing success. Everything had to be perfectly clean and the pressure was on for us to better the loss figures that NEC had predicated. The wave guide arrived from Japan protected with plastic covers at each end. Each bit was measured, cut to size, terminated and installed in the trench. There was a nagging doubt as to how could we be sure that each WIG was perfectly clean after fabrication.
Some one came up with the idea to pull through waste cotton, much like the way one cleans a gun barrel, but could you be certain that the cotton rag was clean and that all the rag had actually come out without leaving any lint behind?.
I don’t know who thought of the method, but there we were at the Chemist in the shopping centre buying all his stock of Sanitary Towels on petty cash. On site, each towel was used twice. Pulled through then folded and pulled through again and discarded. The amount of dirt that was removed was astonishing the ST being the perfect size for both the 6 and 4 Ghz W/G runs.
The next day Barry was attempting to explain to the Station Manager why OTC install had found it necessary to purchase the entire stock of ST’s in Carnarvon Incidentally we dramatically improved the loss figures for the WIG Runs.