Thursday, March 31

Radar (that's radar spelled backwards)

We spend a lot of time complaining about the boat. The heater broke, the fridge broke, shit's always leaking... and it always costs a lot of money to have it fixed. Every once in a while, I jump in and do the work myself and it really makes me feel good. In fact I just had a moment like that when our toilet started leaking (for the second time). I purchased a new pump unit and installed it myself. Now, any long-time boat owner out there knows this is not a difficult task, but hey you gotta start somewhere, and I'm happy with myself.

Sometimes, though, it's not at all the boat's fault when something breaks. Everyone note the date - sometimes it is MY fault. I know, I know, I'm shattering your perfect image of me, but yes, it's true: sometimes I make mistakes. Let me explain.

Last summer as we were getting ready to paint the boat I was prepping the top of the pilothouse around the radar. As you might know, radars have a cable that runs from the array (the spinning thing on the top of the boat) into the boat... well I didn't want to sand and paint the cable, so I wrapped it up onto the radar array to keep it out of the way. (My guess is you all just sucked air in through your clenched teeth as you can see where this is going.) Weeks later, when it was time to use the radar, I flicked it on and HMMMM, BZZZZZ... BEEEEEEP (that trusty beep again) Aw crap. Turns out I had never unwrapped the cable. When I turned on the radar the cable got tangled in the array, preventing it from rotating and throwing the radar into a noisy fit. I had just screwed up the radar. Fantastic. In one stupid second I broke the boat. How much is THIS one gonna cost!?!

Thousands. It would take thousands to replace it with a similar radar system. Not only would we need a new array but a new display too. Damn it. I was convinced I had just lived the most expensive single second of my life (maybe 2nd only to the day I closed on the boat). I tried to figure it out myself. Hey, maybe it was something simple. I thought I had slipped a gear in the motor (nope) or maybe I could open it up and see a burned wire (nope). Since replacement was so expensive, we decided repair was the only option and budgeted 1 or 2 BUs to take care of it... but of course we put this off till the spring.

Guess what. It's spring.

I called The Offshore Store, as I have heard they are the experts, to see if they service Ratheon Radars. "Yes, at $85 an hour. But we give free advice, what happened?" So I told my story, and he laughed at me but assured me I wasn't the first. The he said (with choirs of angels in the background) "Did you check the fuse in the back of the display?" I didn't know there was a fuse back there... but 0.0025 BUs later the radar works. Sometimes it just works out that way.

- Tom


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