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Sine Waves: The Bucket of Blood

During my 36 years, working in overhead distribution and transmission, I encountered more than a few memorable moments….here’s one.

For some reason, one morning the distribution general foreman decided to assign me to take over the training gang, as the senior lineman had taken some time off.

The trainees were mostly Interns (usually college graduate engineers), as they were called back then in the mid-1980’s. They were designated to join the management ranks after their training was completed.

I wanted to make sure that these rookies had a feel for the different wires and cables that we routinely used. I gathered up as many different types that were readily available, cut them in 18” pieces and put them in a 5-gallon plastic bucket.

Much to their surprise, I called them down off the poles early that day and proceeded to swirl the conductors around in the bucket. Then I told them to close their eyes and pick out one sample each. They were to explain everything that they knew about it – the material; composition; size; type of insulation (if any) and use. The samples ranged from bare #6 tie wire to various triplex service cable up to 477 MCM Aluminum Tree wire and anything in between.

Needless to say, the first day was challenging but by the end of the week, they had a good understanding of these conductors.

Eventually, I ended up working for more than a few of these men. On many occasions, they raised their memory of the “Bucket of Blood” with me.

Ed Busse - Retired Lineman 


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