OSP Expert: Don McCarty

Bonding and Grounding: A Well-Grounded Shield


With guest writer Bill Cole — A field technician with a high-power influence problem recently asked me how to ensure that a cable was properly bonded and grounded. I reached out to William (Bill) Cole, a retired Bell South ICEP engineer, who defined a process for how to identify a well-grounded cable shield and how to test the continuity of the shield.  An interesting backstory: Bill discovered his method while going head-to-head in a friendly competition with a respected co-worker to determine the best method for ensuring a well-grounded shield. The co-worker depended upon the Clamp-On Method while Bill used…

Maintaining a Robust Copper Infrastructure According to Cable Type


When a large number of customers are out of service, there is a root cause. Unfortunately, rather than do the hard work to find that cause, many technicians have been taught to cut to other available, good cable pairs (AKA “cut to clear”). Eventually, when all those pairs are gone, the techs must now double down efforts. That means more personnel on the job, more hours and more expense to go back and repair the faults they didn’t take care of the first time or possibly lay new cable. That also means customers are without service for longer than necessary.…

Cable and Conductor Locating


One of the most difficult tasks in the utility business is finding the path of an underground conductor (pipe, cable, wire, etc.) in an area congested with other services. Any locator test set works with acceptable accuracy when there are no other utilities in the search area. In areas crowded with other utilities, accurate confident locates can be an all but impossible task. As telephone plant evolved to underground systems, a better method of cable location became necessary. A method of tracing the magnetic field present in all conductive entities was developed. By placing tone into this magnetic field and…

Danger Zone: Split Cable Pairs


Are you receiving repeated complaints from a customer having bandwidth circuits dropping or others on their line, yet the cable pair tests OK? It’s possible that your customer’s cable pair is split with another cable pair.  Split cable pairs cause cross-talk on longer POTS circuits, and most all of the problems on bandwidth circuits. The POTS customer hears other people but he can’t talk to them and they can’t talk to him.  Bandwidth circuits are adversely affected, especially DSL circuits. One split cable pair can and does affect the whole DSLAM. The difficult part is to first determine that the…

Wetting or Sealing Current


The following came from an interested reader, and may be an issue you’ve faced. I’d like to hear your comments!  Dear Mr. McCarty: I have been working in the area that is addressing fiber-to-the-node and fiber-to-the-home. In conversations with several of our customers, the question regarding sealing current has come up. In their application of naked DSL (just DSL no POTS voice) they are concerned with corrosion that can cause noise and circuit unbalance that can affect the data rate that they can use and the reach they can obtain. I am looking for information to see if this is…

The Changing Role of the Field Technician in the Bandwidth Business


When I started in the telephone business in 1965, the field technician’s jobs were fragmented. Technician’s responsibilities today are even more fragmented. Let’s take a trip from then until now. THAT WAS THEN On a new installation it is the responsibility of the dispatch center to program the originating equipment (OE), and to provide wiring information to the central office technician and the installer as to which OE is wired to which horizontal mainframe and to which vertical the feeder cable appears.  • The CO frame technician runs jumper wire from the horizontal main frame to the vertical main frame,…

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