Spooling the Day Away

While still in school studying to obtain my electrical engineering degree, I took a summer internship with an information technology contracting company. On this particular day, I was working with an experienced installer pulling in Cat. 5 network cables. The job was in a warehouse-style building with 30-foot ceilings. We were running multiple runs from similar locations. To make the job go faster, we would put three to four cable reels on a piece of strut, hang it in the steel rafters of the ceiling, and pull three to four runs at a time back to the nearest cabinet. After showing me how to do this once or twice, it was my turn to try a run on my own. It wasn't long before my fellow coworker yelled to get my attention. Apparently, there is a right and a wrong way to hang cable reels in the ceiling to keep them from unspooling. As I walked back to the area where I had hung the cable reels, I noticed I had unspooled about 3,000 feet of cable on the floor below. I spent the rest of the day re-spooling the reels.
Jeremy Spicher
Camp Hill, Pa.


A Foul Day's Work

My helper and I, who is also is my son and apprentice, went to a job one morning to pull some wire through a 2-inch PVC conduit. The run length was approximately 142 feet. My son set up on one end of the run to attach the wire to the fish tape. I was at the other end of the run, pushing the tape through the conduit. About three-quarters of the way down, the tape got hung up and stopped. We decided to shove another tape back through the opposite way, hoping to catch the end of the first tape. When this didn't work, we ran back to the shop and got our shop vac. We hoped the old “suck-the-string-through-the-conduit” trick would work. This worked well initially, but again we hit this dead spot. By this time, I was getting aggravated and started thinking my son was doing something wrong on his end, where he was feeding me the string. Finally, a few clumps of dirt and trash broke loose, and eventually a larger object, which turned out to be a small dead bird. We finally finished the job successfully, but learned a valuable lesson in the process. Always cover your conduit ends after roughing in any job.
Mark Belyea
Vernon, Texas


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