Posts Tagged ‘telecommunications’

Cell Tower Deaths to take the Frontline

It’s been long over due.

Numerous website’s such as myself, Wireless Estimator and Tower Dogs have talked about the dangers for cell tower climbers time and again.

We’ve documented incidents, and been a grounds eye level view on things that have happened.

Not quite a year ago ProPublica contacted me to ask questions regarding the cellular industry. I sent a lot of E-mails out to my friends and blogging peers asking questions about them before I submitted to the questionnaire. I’ve been out of the cellular business almost two years now, but many of my friends are still in it, and it’s a industry that I spent over a decade working in. It’s a industry like no other, not all of those ways good.

I will tell you that I made a contribution to this.

No you won’t see me on TV.

I a great deal of time answering questions to the best of my ability regarding turf systems, contracts, time tables…all of them as anonymously as I could. Because frankly at the time my career was still at stake.

I don’t feel its at stake any more, as my new job has nothing to do with cellular communications. I also make no apologies for remaining anonymous in my contribution. It’s my life, my family, and my career. The world works a certain way in my experience, but feel free to invite me to your utopia once it materializes.

But I’ll tell you what I told ProPublica, and everyone else I have met, the same thing that I have said for years:  It is probably the most black market industry that I have ever been involved with in my life.

Watch the show when it comes out. Make your own decision.

Tower Climber has fatal 1,000 foot fall: Sixth fatality for 2011

Matthew D. Goodner, 30, of Ford Dodge, Iowa died on Wednesday October 12 in Newton, Mass, the sixth fatality of 2011 in tower related deaths.
Goodner was a contractor who was installing a safety ladder and performing routine maintenance for the tower owner, Boston-based American Tower Corp.  During the installation Goodner was working at approximately the 1,000 foot mark on the 1,253 foot guy-wire tower.

Goodner was a member of a veteran crew of three men, working for Ultimate Tower, a Texas-based company.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our contractors. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and co-workers during this difficult time. We are working closely with the relevant authorities and cooperating fully with all inquiries into the cause of this tragic accident,” said Matt Peterson, vice president of communications for ATC in a statement.

Peterson said the company suspended all work at the site pending a thorough review of the incident.

Although authorities have said the Goodner was at approximately 1,000 feet, Peterson said he had no information regarding the actual height.

Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said there were other tower technicians on the tower at the time of the incident, but none of them was injured.

The tower, used by both radio and television stations, is located on Chesnut Street in Newton, near Interstate 95.

American Tower issued a statement saying “We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our contractors. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and co-workers during this difficult time.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities and co-operating fully with all inquiries into the cause of this tragic accident. We have suspended all work at this site pending a thorough review of this incident.”

Our thoughts go out to Mr Goodners family and friends as well as the crews of Ultimate tower at this time.

LightSquared trying to get squared away

Not to be confused with the Light Radio Cube

For those who don’t know there is a company known as LightSquared attempting to make a break in to the telecommunication market with something a bit different.

LightSquared is building the only national 4G-LTE open wireless broadband network that incorporates nationwide satellite coverage. Supposedly this new network will have a high bandwidth ability for such things like data and applications (something you smart phone users had best be paying very close attention too) Through its wholesale-only business model, those without their own wireless network or who have limited geographic coverage or spectrum can market and sell their own products using the LightSquared network—at a competitive price and without retail competition from LightSquared. Basically, Tom and Joe can form their own cellular network, using LightSquared’s backbone, the same thing you have seen happen in any other areas with Rural telephone landline companies.

But it doesn’t end there

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No April Fools here. Totally Dead Serious, and is the wrap of events culminating that I alluded to both here and here.

400 feet up...and still going...

During the course of my career I received the minor reputation as a bit of a madman.

Long hours were my hallmark. The ability to sleep under ones desk and work at a computer station for over 48 hours can not be under rated when talking about project support. The ability to subside purely on coffee, nicotine, and finger nails is a survival ability needed in very few occupations, but practically second nature when on a IT Roll out spanning the entire country.

Back in the states from Venezuela...also known as How I spent my 10 yr High School Reunion

I have worked almost every position that can be had on a roll out. Field Tech, Help Desk, Help Desk manager, Project coordinator, Project Manager, Logistics, SME, QA Inspector even Safety and Field trainer. I have worked in 38 states. 4 countries. Thats not even including the places I went in the service. Over 1,000 projects, and who knows what the monetary value of all the projects I have worked on would be if I even tried to add them up. I wouldn’t mind having 1% of that, heh.

The Cingular expansion team in St. Louis

Now I have been given one step below my dream job: Roll out Specialist. However it’s not just the job, but with who. The number one company on the Fortune 500 list. No other company has more roll outs, and does it on less money than they do. No one. period. You can’t find a bigger, or better, challenge than that.

It’s a corner stone for me, a turning point, and as pilots refer to it: Bingo.

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Tower fall claims first fatality of 2011

A 43-year-old Georgia tower technician fell to his death from a 300-foot self supporting tower in Okeechobee, Fla. on Sunday February 20.

Michael Anthony Scott of Hazlehurst, Ga. was on the structure installing antenna transmission lines for South Florida Water Management, the owner of the tower. The antennas operate the locks along the river.

The victim and a co-worker were installing the wires on the tower for working for Davis Specialties of Waycross, GA at about 110 to 120 AGL when the victim fell to his death.

Scott was the first industry worker to die in 2011 from falling from a communications structure. The tower was constructed in 2009. The case is being investigated by OSHA.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, and to his coworkers. It’s never easy to hear about one of our brethren.

Wireless Estimator takes AT&T to task over Turf pricing

There is no doubt about it. Turf pricing is insane.

The Market I ran in the southeast was 100% turf pricing, and every delay came not only out of my budget, but out of my hide. I saw very good companies, with good friends who ran those companies, go under trying to make the system work.

It didn’t.

In 9 months I watched three contracting companies go belly up due to the turf pricing system. I can tell you first hand that their project scheduling is nothing short of nightmarish. It makes my days working for a unnamed giant retailer seem like a cake walk.

That was over a year ago, and now it seems to be getting worse if this latest commentary from Wireless Estimator is any proof.

Each every driver matrix includes a long list of fine print. Grounding includes labor, a set amount of feet of wire, lugs, heat shrink, and a specified list of requirements on how the item should be placed, mounted, positioned and otherwise ran. That just for starters.

The worst part comes with the wonderful “pay when paid” system. In other words the contractor gets paid, when management company gets paid, which is when AT&T decides to pay them.

It’s a ugly situation, but one the editors at Wireless Estimator seem to have grabbed hold of very well.

AT&T used to successfully rely upon qualified contractors to develop and build their sites, emphasizing safety at all costs.

It’s now all about costs. So much so that when tower technicians are seriously injured or killed while working on an AT&T installation, the carrier doesn’t even contact the tower owner for information about the incident.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said yesterday that the carrier’s loss of its iPhone exclusivity has benefited the industry.

The loss of a worker’s life, possibly through pricing and scheduling pressures, benefits no one, Mr. Stephenson.

Go read the rest

Cell towers thing of the past?

Imagine mobile phone base stations no bigger than a golf ball. Imagine not having towers every two to three miles along the interstate, the great steel monoliths I and countless others have helped to erect, climb, establish, tune, and place across the country.

Intro the Light Radio Cube, stage right.

In this undated photo provided by Alcatel-Lucent, Wim Sweldens, the president Alcatel-Lucent's wireless division is seen holding a lightRadio cube, a small cell-phone antenna that can be deployed on lamp posts, buildings, and other places that can't accommodate a full-sized antenna. The cube integrates much of the regular workings of a conventional cell phone base station, seen behind Sweldens. (AP Photo/Alcatel-Lucent)

The “Light Radio” technology, which will be tested by a number of mobile operators around the world including Orange, Verizon in the US and the world’s largest network, China Mobile, could halve network operating costs and do the same for power demands, said Wim Sweldens, head of Alcatel-Lucent company’s mobile business at a presentation in London.

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Honolulu TV Tower to see last sunrise

Amongst those of us who are in telecommunications, America has two tower icons.

However, one will end up in the junk yard this week and the other might gain national prominence and be assured longevity.

For those located in Hawaii, or in Tennessee both are landmarks that are easily remembered and well known.

The Honolulu TV Tower has been a landmark since 1962

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Tower Dog

So you want to know want to know what its like to be a Tower Dog?

Well I can’t take you, so this will have to do

Damn I miss tower work.

Thanks for the reminder Fuzzy! :)

Two Climbers Dead after Tower Collapses

From Wireless Estimator

Two tower technicians died after the Anniston, Alabama guyed tower they were working on Thursday was accidentally knocked down.

From Wireless Estimator

Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown pronounced Barry Sloan, 37, of Albertville dead at the scene at 4:16 p.m. His co-worker, Jonce Hubble, 41, of Albertville died in surgery at UAB Hospital around 9 p.m.

Both victims were employees of Anniston-based McCord Communications and were working on a tower off of Alps Drive in McClellan.

Brown said according to preliminary estimates, the two victims fell about 40 feet.Fatal Tower Collapse

Both the police department and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.

Brown said he could not release the exact cause of the accident, but noted the incident involved a vehicle.

The two tower technicians were on the tower and there was a truck which hit a guy-wire, which caused the tower to fall, Brown said.

“There were several people around working on the scene,” Brown said. “Both men received assistance right away.”

An OSHA spokesperson said he would not identify whether the truck belonged to McCord Communications, stating that there will be no comment until the agency’s final report is complete and ready to be made public.

Sloan and Hubble were the fifth and sixth tower technicians to die this year after falling from a structure. In 2009 five workers were killed.

The guyed tower, just shy of 200 feet, is not registered with the FCC. It is located about a mile east of Highway 21 in Fort McClellan on property leased to the Alabama National Guard . It is part of a system that provides communication to personnel at Pelham Range through the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.

Steve Jobs: Out of Touch with Reality

“When AT&T wants to add a cell tower in, oh, Texas or somewhere, it takes three weeks to get approval in a typical community. To get a cell phone tower in San Francisco, it takes something like three years,” – Steve Jobs

Steve sadly needs to stick with making computer, phones and music devices as he has absolutely no clue what so ever what it takes to set up a tower system.

Having worked as a climber, installer, RF Sweeper, and Market manager I can tell you first hand that in over 10 years of working in the cellular industry I can count on one hand the amount of times I have cleared permitting in under 2 months, let alone 3 weeks.

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Radio Intercepts
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    Did i go Overboard? My coworker picked up some tilted barn, and a vintage bottle for me, Trillium had a release today , and my tavour order arrived.. i guess im full.

    Can never go overboard with good booze!


  • photo from Tumblr

    So it was this holiday…..


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    Hands down my favorite Mexico cerveza. Colombe Smoked Black IPA


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