Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Thousand Ways It Won't Work, One Way It Will

I loved the challenges of research and development
by Tony D.

I started my career at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California, in July 1960 as an assembler doing wiring, soldering and building parts for the space program. After about nine months, I became the lead man with 21 women and three men achieving zero defects. I was good at building RF cable assemblies and became interested in the RF field. I became a technician in the electromagnetic research test lab. I then moved on to research and development as an electromagnetic technician for eight years. 

In 1964, I worked on an antenna project that consisted of two teams, with one technician and one engineer per team. The first team got its antenna to work. The part I worked on with my team did not. After about eight months of trial and error, we were ready to scrap it after trying everything known to science. In our shop, we had a small metal brake that I used to bend the flairs on the antenna. The brake was too short to bend the full length that was needed, about eight inches too short. I had to splice pieces on for testing. I decided to leave off the extra pieces, centered it and ran a test. It worked perfectly! We completed the final product and went on to other projects. Three-and-a-half years later, the division manager told me it did its job and I received a commendation.

I've always loved mental challenges!