They just got a call from the thematic department and were told that our antenna had failed at the plant in Dubna. The fault is not ours, while careless handling of workers during installation, the coaxial cable was torn off. Gradually, I got a strange feeling that all this was already happening, in one word - "deja vu".
40 years ago, then I - the young head of the department - managed to rush almost all over the Union and lead my team. In some periods it reached up to four missions per month. Now you just wonder how you had enough strength for everything. And then there was no time to think, it was just necessary to make what was planned, and a point. The great cause of youth, unfortunately, you understand this after a heart attack on the eighth ten.
I often happened to be in Dubna on the well-known "Rainbow", where there were friendly relations with local antennchiki and specialists in fairing. In one of my tales, I have already mentioned this (see "The line between the antenna and the fairing"). And here in the next business trip I go from the administrative building to the "high zone", where the measurements were made on the microwave. Even from afar, I notice a fellow of the vocational school of shnogo age, who skips toward me, and in each hand he dangles along the antenna. These antennas are very well known to me, since I devoted a lot of strength together with my guys to their development. They are made according to the printed circuit, but thanks to a massive radio-transparent cover, their mass is about 2,5 kg. Under the terms of placement, the standard angular connector did not fit for them, and I had to develop a small-sized mounting unit, i.e. The coaxial cable around 0,5 m was attached to the antenna and was an integral part of it. And so the boy was dragging two such antennas, holding them by the cables that he wound on his hands so that the antennas would not drag on the ground. This barbarism, I could not stand.
“Well, wait, boy. Where are you carrying them?” - To the assembly shop .- “You were not told that you shouldn’t carry it that way. You will pull the cable out of the mount.” “Yes, nothing will be done to him, I’m not the first time to wear it.” “And no one stopped you?” “No, you are the first.” “Never do that again, hold the antennas by the case. Better yet, carry them in a container, each of the antennas has its own.” - So it's twice as hard. - “But it’s safer, I’ll see my ears again.”
Frustrated by what I saw, I decided to track down VAK, he was the highest boss I knew personally. Knocking on the door of his office and opening it, I was surprised by the expression on his face, as if a ghost was standing before him. "Where did you come from?" - Yes, I have the second day in your company, "An hour ago, I remembered you, I need it badly, and here you are right there, wonders and only." - Just help me first, restore order in the shops, while the antennas are not ruined. Then I told him about the picture. He visibly darkened, making notes in his notebook. "What are you talking about, and what will I ask you now, grow from one place - from our laxity". With these words, he took from the table almost the same antenna, about which I had just told him, but she did not have a radio-transparent cover and cable, as it was mounted on a monoblock. It was installed on another product, which I also had to tinker with. "I see what I learned, and now look closer and tell me, can this antenna work?"
He handed me the antenna and I gasped: half of the design was cut like a razor. "How did this happen?" I didn’t have to tell a lot: the same bungling that I just watched. When installing a monoblock, he stood on the guides crooked and rested against the edge of the hatch antenna. Instead of checking why he does not fall into place, they used all the evil power. As a result, the antenna is hopelessly damaged, its place in the marriage basket.
Having listened to me, Vladimir Antonovich knocked his fist on the table with annoyance. I cautiously pushed away, and he, noticing my movement, laughed: "Do you still remember?". It was about two months ago in the same office, where I am with the designer of our enterprise, PK He explained to him the reasons for the delay in the dimensional drawings of our altimeter, which delayed the release of design documentation on the Raduga. Wines, in general, was mutual, but my colleague wound up and accused local designers of ignorance. Here, the Ukrainian temperament of Vladimir Antonovich broke through with full force: "Yes, I still remember the Tenzoru enterprise (next to the Rainbow) enterprise, and then you dumped everything on others" and gasped the fist on the table. And on his desk lay a sheet of plexiglass fifteen millimeters thick. After such a blow, the plexiglas burst into several pieces, and we all froze, looking at the table. For half a minute there was complete silence, and then laughter began, and, moreover, Vladimir Antonovich began.
Immediately gloomy, VA explained why the matter is so serious. It turns out that one more launch was needed to complete the tests, for which they quickly prepared a rocket. Well, the rush led to a disastrous result. I already called your company, he told me, they promised to manufacture and deliver the quality control department and the customer there in a couple of weeks. And I don’t have these two weeks, in a maximum of five days there should be a launch, if we don’t have time, then you can take it slow. “But there is no antenna, instead a miserable stub.” And what do you have to do, so sit down and think, we’ll do everything you say. - Give half an hour, I will smoke, maybe I will think of it. - Smoke here - No, I will not poison you, I will come up in half an hour. Coming out of the administrative building, I walked to the smoking area, which was located in the shade of the trees. To be honest, the situation was awful, and it first occurred to me that V.A. only a couple of years older than me, and he has immeasurably more responsibility.
While I was smoking, the crazy thought “Or maybe try to restore the antenna?” Began to spin more and more, gradually I myself believed that this was possible. Returning to the office, I immediately announced that I was allowed to go to the laboratory where the plasma spraying unit was located. The fact is that several years ago specialists of this particular laboratory advised our technologists on mastering the methods of spraying printed antennas. I was also in this laboratory several times. Secondly, I asked to contact our company so that they could fax me a power of attorney for the right to sign instruments of acceptance of devices. Thirdly, on behalf of V.A. He called his colleagues in the antenna department and asked to prepare a panoramic installation Р2-35 or similar to configure the antenna. Needless to say, with the help of V.A. everything spun at breakneck speed.
After half an hour I was in the spraying laboratory, explaining to specialists what I needed. And it was necessary to put a picture from zinc to the working surface of the antenna. Stencil, of course, this was not, and I suggested to cut it out of the cardboard from the folder. The guys laughed, but made in my size very quickly. In their installation, instead of wire, zinc powder was fed into the burner, as a result, the applied pattern turned out to be very durable, the adhesion of the metal to the dielectric was excellent: the guys did their job perfectly well. True, the stencil was pressed with a gloved hand (so that the molten metal did not fall), so at the edges there was a metal falling outside the borders of the drawing. But it was already the little things that can be fixed when setting up. An hour later I was in the "high zone" where the installation of the Р2-35 was warming up.
Having made a cutter from a scalpel, similar to the one I worked with myself, I proceeded to tune the antenna. It was necessary to adjust the VSWR by gradually trimming the pattern to resonant dimensions. It was important not to hurry, check the VSWR more often, so as not to remove the excess, and then again you will have to sandblast and re-spray the metal. An hour later, the antenna was already in the electroplating shop for painting. They promised to return it to 9 in the morning of the next day. In the morning the antenna was already on the outside acceptance, everything went surprisingly smoothly. Then the representative of the customer intervened. "I close my eyes to the fact that the technological process is different from what is used at the manufacturing enterprise, but present the width of the directivity pattern and the gain factor to me." I had to take a half-day timeout to come up with a measurement technique. There should be no problems with the measuring equipment, but with a rotary device one had to invent something.
Thanks to VA I made an admission to the assembly shop, where I now headed. Almost immediately stumbled upon a rocket lodgment, i.e. slipway, which collect and transport products. He was on a wheel drive, so it can be quickly rolled to the side to install a tripod with a reference antenna at this place. It remains to figure out how to rotate the product around the longitudinal axis to determine the width of the chart in the plane of the roll. I tried with two hands to turn the product lying on the stocks. Alas, it did not move, in sight the mass was several hundred kilograms. Unmount the product into separate compartments and remove the equipment from them - this will probably be a week. It was necessary for something else. And then I remembered something similar that I was doing in my antenna room. Turning to the workshop worker accompanying me, I asked if it was possible to get a sheet of fluoroplastic 2 thick ... 3 mm. It turned out - no problem. Armed with scissors for metal, I immediately cut two strips wide
200 and 700 length mm. Clicking on the help of two workers, we lifted the product and placed the fluoroplastic sheets under the supporting surfaces. After that, with one hand in front of the public, I, without any difficulty, turned the whole product to 30 in both directions. This trick was done by all three of my assistants with visible pleasure. It took another fifteen minutes to draw a scale from a drawing paper with marks of one degree. It seems that we have prepared for the measurements. Having agreed on the delivery of the lodgement with the product, I went to the "high zone" to draw up a measurement procedure and coordinate it with the customer. Pore and instrumentation to prepare.
Everything went surprisingly well and rather quickly. V.A. approached when the customer put his signature on the form. He went to the lodgement and turned the product. Then, jokingly, he told me: "Do you know what your invention will end with? The whole fluoroplast for boats will be dragged in the workshop." I did not understand what boats are talking about. “Didn’t you see sheds on the banks of the reservoir and the Volga River? There are also motors and boats stored there. And they pull them out of the water on the boards. It was evident that he was in a good mood, with no comparison yesterday. He asked me how long I would still be at their company. I replied that I was leaving the day after tomorrow. "We want to thank you, we will organize it and give it to your company?" I asked not to do this, because in essence I did what I should not have done. But to ensure that the antennas are treated carefully, I asked him again.
Since then, more than thirty years have passed. Both my company and Raduga have turned from Soviet enterprises into joint-stock companies and are now part of the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation. Although in smaller quantities, but still we deliver the above antenna in the "Rainbow". By the way, the antenna cables have not been torn off until today, and here you are. I listen to the argument at the next table. There are already discussing the measures that need to be taken so that this does not happen again. The most popular is to put the portrait of Valuev on the antenna and the inscription "You will pull the cable, you will get!" The other is fool protection, i.e. secure the cable with the cable to prevent breakage. And finally, the latest version is to do nothing; the more the antennas are broken, the more profitable is the enterprise.
I do not interfere in the dispute, but if they ask me, I will answer that in our antennas we invest not only our knowledge, but also a part of the soul. To look indifferently how our creations are destroyed is criminal, and it is necessary to prevent it by any means.