By: Mark Abrams
It was a warm summer day when Loren & I were working on our 800MHz system in the Denver area. We were at Lee Hill all day, working on re-racking the equipment from being in radio cabinets to being mounted in open frame equipment racks to save space in the building which was overcrowded. By moving the equipment into the racks, we reduced our space by 40% over having each repeater in individual repeater cabinets which freed up full rack spaces in the building.
The building was noisy and dirty. The building was located at the end of a dirt road at the top of a camp operated by one of the local churches high in the mountains above the Boulder, Colorado area. Dust and dirt enters through small openings in the building and there is no building maintenance personnel at these remote sites. Therefore, the dirt builds up over the years and is cleaned by the various tenants in the building when the dirt becomes disgusting enough to create a work hazard condition or when a good tenant like MRA decides that they want a cleaner environment in which to work. So we cleaned up the building, primarily around our equipment.
This work would take the system completely off the air which causes a hardship for the system users / subscribers. Therefore, it was a Saturday when we arrived at the building because there is far less usage of the system on weekends. We went to work stripping down the equipment cabling which took the repeaters off the air and removed the repeaters from the cabinets. We then removed the cabinets from the building so that we could install the new equipment racks. That process took a couple of hours, but we finally had the new open frame racks assembled and mounted down to the ground. We then proceeded to start mounting the repeater equipment one by one until the racks were mostly full. We then installed the transmit combiners and the receiver multi-couplers. We then wired up the repeater equipment trying to keep the wiring neat.
While we were working Bob from Astral Communications our local radio dealer, partner and support for the equipment showed up at the site to assist us in the planned work. We all worked until about 3PM when the job was done. It was time to clean up the building, pack up our tools and test equipment, load our vehicles and head back to the shop. We had placed the empty cabinets outside the building so that they were out of the way and we hoped that someone would decide that they needed the cabinets more than we did which would relieve us of the need to transport the cabinets and dispose of them. Now it was time to leave and drive back to the shop.
The site was at the top of the mountain, about 0.5 miles off Deer Trail, a paved road that is closest to the site. We proceeded down the dirt road and made the first left turn to exit the camp grounds. We stopped at the gate, opened it, drove through the gate, stopped to close and lock the gate, then proceeded to the paved road so we were now on Deer Trail. Loren and I were in the lead vehicle and Bob was driving his vehicle and following us back to the shop. We had to maintain a slow speed due to the numerous curves in the road during the 1.3 miles from where we entered the pavement until we reached the T intersection at Lee Hill Drive. Since we were now on a paved road with normal vehicle traffic, it was time to turn on the turn signal for the turn. I hit the turn signal and immediately realized that even though we were about to turn right to head down the hill, I had accidentally turned on the left turn signal. I was about to correct my mistake when it suddenly dawned upon me that we could have some fun with Bob. I turned to Loren and said to him, “Would you like to have some fun with Bob?” He asked what I meant and I replied that I had turned on the wrong turn signal. He then replied, “Why not!” So I proceeded to leave the left turn signal on while I proceeded to make a right turn to head down the hill on Lee Hill Drive. Loren and I were laughing and thinking that Bob must think that I made a silly mistake, but nothing more. So we proceeded to drive down the hill following all the curves of the road for the next 3.1 miles until we reached the bottom of the hill where we needed to make a hard right turn to stay on Lee Hill Drive at the junction of Olde Stage Road. I signaled a left turn about 100 yards before we reached the intersection and proceeded to make the right turn. Loren & I began to laugh again and discussed what we thought Bob must be thinking after making the wrong signal a second time.
We proceeded forward another 1.3 miles to Broadway where we sat at the red light until the signal turned green. We then went straight through the intersection until we reached Highway 36 after another 0.3 miles. I signaled another left turn and proceeded to turn right to head southeast on US Highway 36 aka 28th St for 2.2 miles. The roadway made a gentle curve to the right so that it was heading due south when we about to arrive at Colorado Highway 119 aka Iris Ave. I made a right turn signal and proceeded to move into the left lane where I stopped for the left turn until the traffic signal turned green. I made the left turn with my right turn signal blinking so Loren & I began laughing again. We were certain that Bob must be having some wild thoughts by this time wondering what was happening with us. After the signal turned green, we proceeded to make the left turn. I immediately signaled a left turn so that I could move into the right lane and after 0.7 miles on Iris Ave., we arrived at Foothills Parkway which is a limited access highway. I continued with the left turn signal while turning right onto the on ramp for Foothills Parkway heading south towards Bob’s shop. I signaled right to move into the left lane while we were cracking up. It was getting difficult to drive the car because we were both laughing so hard and it was beginning to be difficult to breathe.
We reached Arapahoe after anther 1.7 miles as I turned on the right turn signal to make the left turn. We could only imagine what Bob must be thinking by this point as we continued to laugh hard enough to impair our breathing. We drove another 1.7 miles trying to keep control of the vehicle and not show how much we were cracking up over our prank. I signaled another right turn and proceeded to turn left onto Ben Place. We drove the car at a low speed for the next tenth of a mile where we pulled into the parking lot and parked in front of Bob’s shop. Now we both got out of the car and went inside his office while watching Bob pull into the lot and park next to our car.
Bob quickly got out of his car and went over to our vehicle. He opened the driver’s door and flipped the turn signal which did nothing. Our rental car turn signals were wired to the ignition, so they did not work with the car keys. Bob was convinced that the car had the turn signals wired backwards, so he went inside the shop and asked us for the car keys. We had a difficult time keeping a straight face as I handed him the car keys. He then went outside and made a bee line to our car. It was eating him alive to prove that our vehicle was wired backwards. He opened the door and inserted the ignition key into the ignition switch to turn on the ignition so that he could test the turn signals. Loren & I moved into position in the doorway to look at Bob wrestling with the car to prove that there was something wrong with the car. We watched as Bob turned on the turn signal at which point we both burst out laughing out loud so that there was no possibility that he would not hear us.
Bob realized that he had been “had”. We yanked his chain, pulled his leg and proceeded to pull a wall over his eyes. We was stunned at the stunt that we had managed to pull off. He came over to us and proceeded to be flabbergasted over the fact that I had managed to make every turn with the wrong turn signal flashing at the right time. He stood there in awe, unable to say much at all because he was so convinced that the car must have been wired backwards.
We all had a good laugh together as we decided that we were not going to pull another prank on this trip to Denver.