My introduction to percussive microwave engineering
I was sent to study what a tech was doing to tune a waveguide manifold for a radar antenna feed. Picture a rectangular pipe ... machined to incredible precision ... with a large number of branch lines coming off, each fed through a carefully designed and calibrated slot. Opposite the slots are dozens of little screws (with lock nuts) that partially protrude into the guide for tuning. Tens of thousands of $, and hooked to hundreds of grand worth of test equipment
And the tech? Carefully filing off all the exposed cal screws and brazing the stubs to render useless. He has a stick with quarter wavelengths marked off and is industriously beating divots into the E plane with a ball peen hammer or crushing the guide with a C clamp on H, with his beatings or bulges aligned with the quarter wave marks. He's concentrating very hard on the network analyzer display while beating the hell out of the guide.
Me: "why dont you just use the tuners?"
Tech: "you gotta eliminate any adjustment. Leave a screw head exposed and some sailors gonna turn it and fsck up everything "
Tech: "do it my way and she stays tuned forever"
"Tech: what happens when you give a sailor three large ball bearings?
"Tech: ones gonna get broken, ones gonna get lost, and ones gonna get pregnant "
And so I shut up and learned f