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View Diary: The Killing Towers of the US Telecom Industry (85 comments)

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  •  Turning off the towers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawgrass727, DvCM, G2geek, Chi

    I believe turning off the towers is a standard procedure. I recall reading they are often powered down at night so the service interruption from repairs and upgrades is not as noticeable.

    Of course working at night then presents its own challenges.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 09:43:28 AM PDT

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    •  Microwave burn in the 1960s (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DvCM, G2geek, marina

      My brother used to climb towers in the 1960s when he first got into the cablevision industry.    He told me a story back then when someone forgot to check that a tower was turned off before a coworker climbed the tower.   I think he was in front of a microwave dish long enough to do serious damage to his leg.  

      My brother's own worst experiences came from simply climbing neighborhood telephone polls -- two near hits from lightning, one leaving him stunned.

      •  eeeyow, lightning. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DuzT, marina, Odysseus

        Every utility worker's worst nightmare.

        In telephone the rule is, if you can see it or hear it, get off the wires.  Inside wiring included.  I once tried to stretch it a bit while working on the cross-connects for a 1A2 system outside a building as a storm was brewing.  Got done, got down, ladder in vehicle, heard one hell of a thunderclap, and as I was driving down the road saw a very large tree split down the middle from a direct hit.  That was too close for me.  Your brother was lucky to get out of his alive.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 06:28:03 PM PDT

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    •  Night climbing (11+ / 0-)

      I know that many people's initial reaction to the notion of night climbing would be that it must be like driving at night without headlights, but that isn't a good analogy. In truth, it isn't at all like that.

      I found early on that there were actually some advantages in night climbing. For one, there was almost always less/no wind. For another, there was way less peripheral noise (like lawn mowers), making comm with ground crew easier. Having less of a reference to one's circumstance mitigated most of the unease one might have at height, although most climbers don't have that anyway.

      During the summer, it was generally much more hospitable in terms of temperature and humidity, although the converse isn't so beneficial (I climbed in every month in the Chicago area—I once took down a tower when it was 7° out—bright sunshine and no wind, but cold soaked metal is still cold soaked). You probably don't want to hear about my two heat stroke experiences.

      In an urban environment, there is usually plenty of light (ask any urban, would-be, amateur astronomer about that) but modern LED head lamps mitigate much of the concern about light. Surprisingly, much of what one does on a tower could be done blindfolded—think wrenches on bolts, clamps on masts, plugging in cables, etc., so light isn't the absolute requirement one might think.

      •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exatc, DvCM, G2geek, DuzT, BigOkie, KenBee

        Thank you for sharing your insights.  it's great when people with actual hands-on experience add their observations to the comments.

        "Don't believe everything you think."

        by BobboSphere on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 10:42:24 AM PDT

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      •  yow, dude, watch out for the heat. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DuzT

        Heat is a killer.   So is dehydration: can cause thromboembolism, which almost killed a well-known Kossack who is a subject-matter expert on the religious right.  

        Good that you're not scared of heights.

        Very interesting points about working at night.  I'm one of the wimpy types who's never done outside plant, so it never even occurred to me that anyone climbed at night unless they were pulling heroics after a natural disaster.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 06:34:25 PM PDT

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