We’ve asked for your equipment horror stories (mashed meters, etc.), and you’ve delivered-in spades. We can’t fit all the letters we’ve received into this issue, but here’s one of the first. Watch for more such letters in the May (and possibly June) issues of Communications Technology. Expensive Wheel Chocks "In 1997, two senior headend technicians who worked for me arrived at the master headend site in separate vehicles at about the same time. One fellow stopped first, opened the door and released his seatbelt; the seatbelt buckle clipped his Nextel radio, which was attached to his waist belt, on the way by. This caused the Nextel radio to become a short- range flying object. The radio had just hit the ground as the other technician brought his vehicle to a stop. The radio nicely placed itself under the front left tire, causing the radio to act as a wheel chock. The radio … err, wheel chock … displayed a rather low coefficient of friction since it caused the wheel to stop rotating while allowing the vehicle to slide forward one extra foot. The radio was a complete write-off. The formerly rectangular unit had been forced into an interesting but completely useless trapezoidal shape, the keypad and display were heavily abraded, and the battery pack-which was now permanently crimped to the trapezoid-overheated and emitted a foul, acrid smoked for a few minutes. I think these radios were about $2,000 at the time." "The moral of the story is that portable two-way radios and cell phones make rather expensive and underperforming wheel chocks." Brian K. Holmes IBI Group

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