I know ham radio usually costs us money, but once in a while the skills and/or equipment we accumulate can actually save us some cash. In this case, I figure it saved me about a hundred bucks.
What am I talking about? Well, over the weekend, I noticed that my refrigerator wasn’t keeping things as cold as it had in the past. I cranked the cooling control up to no avail.
Monday morning, I called the appliance repair place that has fixed this particular refrigerator before—a fancy, bulit-in Sub-Zero that came with the place when I bought it six years ago. When they told me that the SubZero guy couldn’t get over to my house until the next Monday, I made the appointment, but decided to see if there was something I could do.
On this particular model, the compressors—one for the refrigerator and one for the freezer—are on top of the refrigerator, behind a panel and a ventilation grill. After removing the panel, the problem was obvious—the fan blowing on the radiator wasn’t turning, and when I touched it, it was very hot.
So, how does ham radio fit into all this? Well, I don’t know how many years ago, I bought a box fan for a buck or two at some hamfest. I’m not sure I ever really used it for anything, but there it was sitting on the shelf when I needed it. It even had an AC cord already attached with wire nuts. I put it on the shelf near the condensers and directed the airflow over the condensers and then on to the radiator. In a couple of hours, my refrigerator was as cool as ever.
Tuesday, I went and purchased a new fan. Of course, I bought the wrong one, so today I went back and got the right one. It took me about an hour and a half to get it installed and the kitchen cleaned up.
I figure the fan saved me at least $100. That is $100 for the service call and however much for food spoilage. Thank you, ham radio!