SubTel Forum Issue #113 Exordium

July 21, 2020

Welcome to Issue 113, our Regional Systems edition.

I recently took a road trip with my wife to visit my in-laws in Detroit. They have been solo quarantining since early March, and we wanted to spend some time with my father-in-law on his 87th birthday. He has been managing an ever more acute wife with dementia and we wanted to give him some special time.

Flying is out for the near-term. This summer’s extended family trip to Cornwall and our village in Hampshire were canceled months ago thanks to COVID. So, road trips are the new rage, at least here in America.

Planning a road trip takes me back to my college days. When we traveled then we did everything by car because money was tight, gas was just about manageable, but plane tickets and hotels were way too expensive. One would plan a trip based on how far you could drive in a day and “day” was a relative term. When my buddy, Jeff, and I went to visit my Hollywood director brother in the 70s we drove 45 hours straight from the Midwest in my overheating Mercury Montego, windows down the whole time in order to run the heater just to keep it going. We drove through blinding mountain snowstorms and blowing desert sandstorms within hours of each other with open back windows.

When Peg and I have driven to Michigan in the past we have taken the same route through Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which thankfully has quickened over the years as the roads have been improved. But on this latest trip I wanted to do something new, and on the way back, we took a much longer route through southern Ohio, passing through Gallia County in the lower southeast corner of the state. Gallia was one of the first stops for the earliest waves of western expansion America felt just after the Revolution. Gallia was the first stop for my maternal family’s multi-generational quest and in 1810 they followed Daniel Boone and others on oxen drawn Conestoga wagons through the Cumberland Gap in Virginia to Kentucky and the Ohio Valley beyond.

So, Peg and I drove hours through a countryside of field corn until we arrived at the foothills of the western side of the Appalachian Mountains, then wound our way through the undulating tree covered landscape until we found an old cemetery next to an old white Baptist church. Within minutes we found a couple of lines of old tombstones, including the reason for the quest, that of my long-lost 4th great-grandmother, her 5th generation parents, as well as their extended family. After some 10 years of research I was able to put tactile context to a generation of early pioneers we had only heard snippets about, and in so doing was able to better understand my own wanderlust, which thankfully this industry has heretofore afforded.

So, instead of the grand tour this summer to see a foreign telegraph cable anniversary we have been implementing a more regional approach; something closer and more manageable and in bite sizes, yet in many ways so much more meaningful.


As always, we have some awesome articles in this issue from a number of professionals representing both commercial and governmental organizations, and the words they provide give us a pretty good insight of how we are all holding up right now, as well as where we might be headed.

We also bid a sincere thanks and auf wiedersehen to José Chesnoy, who is retiring after providing some of the most interesting articles for readers over the years of the Back Reflection section. José will be a tough act to follow, but we appreciate Bill Burns and Stewart Ash for providing their best efforts for a time going forward.

As a sign of the times, we are proud to be supporting PTC in its offering of online accredited learning, which they discuss in detail herein. Thanks especially for their support to this issue’s advertisers: AP Telecom, Nexans, Prysmian Group, Sifam Tinsley and Southern Cross. Lastly, we highlight the updates to the online cable map with both recent big and little cable announcements; and of course, our ever popular “Where in the World are Those Pesky Cableships” is included as well.

Wishing you an awesome road trip…

Good reading and stay well,

Wayne Nielsen


To read the rest of Issue #113 of SubTel Forum, please click here.