Subspace radio is down

This Monday, we finally got the DirecTV service replaced with Cox cable. Only problem: the HDTV is upstairs in the bedroom, which was in NO condition for visitors. (You may theorize why.) So, we had the guy install the HD box on an old standard TV downstairs where was located one of the two coax connections the DirecTV used, explaining that this was a temp television for a week or two and that we’d be getting an HD soon. Then I figured I’d move the box upstairs to the other coax connection, since he was nice enough to make sure they both remained intact.

I went to do that tonight, and discovered that he’d hooked up the wrong cable. There are six coax lines running into the house; the downstairs line was working, but he’d hooked up the wrong one of the other five. No worries, I can figure that out. I ruled out one immediately: it was so corroded that the center wire broke off the moment I examined it. I ruled out another because I’d already verified that one wasn’t working; so I tried each of the other three in turn, hooking it up, rebooting the box, and waiting for start up. I did this three times. Nothing worked.

Finally, in a desperate attempt to work out which wire worked, I hooked the output of a VCR to the upstairs cable and dragged a (not especially portable) television outside hooking it to each one in turn. None of the three worked, which startled me seriously – one of them had been working not two days ago. With mounting horrified suspicion, I picked up the corroded cable, stripped it with my Swiss Army Knife, and replaced the coax connector. (Oh, did I mention that dark had fallen by this time, and I did this with just the reflected light from a streetlamp a few dozen yards away?) You know what happened: the TV lit right up with the old Mystery Science Theater tape I had running upstairs.

So, to wrap up the story: a few minutes later, cable box was beginning. We get signal. Main screen turn on. I called the cable box a bug-jumping cork-sucker, and may possibly have danced around the room a tiny bit; but in a battle between me and technology, I’m not backing down until I’ve tried everything. And tonight it paid off. (Wonder what my Shadowrun 2nd Ed. target number was on that one?)

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