Right on schedule

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Flashback to the early 1990s, when this IT pilot fish works for a company that makes handheld wireless devices -- and its commercial customer base for them is growing.

"Certain car-rental agencies took a liking to our devices, and began to use them to check in cars upon their return to the rental lots," says fish.

"But mysteriously, at one particular location, the communications seemed to falter on a nightly basis. After repeated efforts by our company and the rental agency's own tech folks, the problem still persisted -- and consistently at the same time.

"Our techs and the agency techs all gathered one night, and at the appropriate time, the comm link failed again, right on schedule.

"About then, someone noticed that a train was passing nearby.

"Turns out the train was equipped with a FRED, a device on the rear of the train that sends telemetry information to the locomotive crew. And it was operating on the same frequency as our devices.

"We switched our equipment to a different frequency, and life was good."

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