[time-nuts] Helium and MEMS oscillators don;t mix well

Richard (Rick) Karlquist richard at karlquist.com
Wed Oct 31 18:05:17 EDT 2018

This reminds me of a Jack Kusters (of HP fame) anecdote.
He left HP for a while to work for Ephratom on Rb standards.
Some customer was raising hell about their Ephratom Rb
standards having lousy accuracy.  Jack had them send
some of the "defective" units back to the factory, and
the units were indeed having accuracy problems at first,
but eventually returned to the good accuracy they had
when they left the factory.  Jack decided that the
explanation must be helium.  Jack tried to diplomatically
ask the customer if they used helium in their facility.
They said no and accused Jack of using helium as an
red herring to cover up their lousy product.  Jack then
asked again that we wanted to make sure they don't use
helium in their plant.  They again emphatically denied
any use of helium.  At which point Jack pointed out
that in that case, it was clear than they had a radon
incursion in their facility.  And he made them a deal:
if they would stop submitting warranty claims, he would
refrain from publicizing their radon situation.  That
took care of the problem.


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