Station Design – What is the Fallback/Rescue if something goes wrong?

This weekend in a heavy snow I seriously hung up my skidsteer clearing the drifted snow.  I’m not going to post pictures, as in the end it all turned out okay, but only after I enlisted several people to help with additional equipment.

The point I’m going to write about is the simple fact than without help – without added manpower and equipment – I could not undo the mess I got my skidsteer into.

My very Independent way of working became highly Interdependent really quickly.

Fortunately I had available resources to sort the situation out, though it wasted several hours of several folks time, and was highly embarrassing in the process.

What I learned was:

  • Make sure I have a Plan-B and a Rescue plan.
  • Avoid pushing operations to the edge – when my safety margin was lost I was done.
  • Don’t try to do a rescue plan by oneself.

The event was precipitated by my error in judgement to clear sidewalks with the wrong piece of equipment that are only used when we have visitors in a wheelchair or using a walker that need to use the ramp we had built for the elderlies in our family.   If the sidewalk was left snow covered, it really wouldn’t matter as I don’t think anyone would use them in this weather.

But it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Actually it was until my skidsteer didn’t have traction after I scraped the 8 inches of heavy snow off, and there was only the 3/8 inch of ice left.  Zero traction and the machine slid sideways beaching itself.  My good intentions because a really dumb idea fulfilled.

Sounds a bit like some of the things that happen around a Ham Shack – the good intentions transformed into a really bad idea when the safety margin is exceeded?

Sure does.  Whether hooking stuff up hoping there will be no smoke when it is energized or thinking of one station in particular putting more antennas on a tower than it might be rated for, I think we all do things like this.

How about firing up your soldering gear, maybe end one of those small butane torch type ones, without having something at hand to put out a fire?

Or making just that last coax connector preparation without safety glasses?

Or considering a feedline QRO (high power) rated just because it doesn’t catch fire when you run the amp, but you never check the feedline with a TDR to see if those tight bends combined with high power didn’t do damage?

What is your plan if any item in your shack goes down?  Do you have a backup or a workaround?  Or are you okay to be QRT until replacements are found?

Extend that out into two failure factors – what happen then?  Just like my poor decision to use the wrong equipment was compounded by the layer of ice under the snow, things have a way of cascading when they have a failure.

Can you answer these questions in terms of failures in your shack:

  • What is your Plan-B and a Rescue plan/workaround?
  • Are you well within the safety margins?
  • Do you have a plan to get some help when you need it?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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