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Tag Archives: Tower Crews

Tower Crews Inundated with Work in Sandy’s Wake

Don Train wasn’t going to complain. He understood that no matter how hard his crews were working to get public safety towers on line and stay on line, the first responders were working harder.

His company, Train’s Towers, has been working to repair public safety, utility and broadcasting towers damaged by Superstorm Sandy in an area of 50 mile radius around Philadelphia, which includes a broad swath of New Jersey .  His customers include the New Jersey State Police.

Talley

Calls are coming in every day for repairs, but he has to prioritize his response. Public safety is first, utilities second and the broadcasters third. With the power down and widespread looting reported in Atlantic City, state troopers had blocked off the Atlantic City Expressway. In order to work on a roof site in the city on Thursday, Train had to have a police escort.

“Without the police you have no order, without power you have no communications, without radio and TV, you have no information getting to the public,” Train said.

AT&T Towers

The majority of the damage Train is seeing in the field is from wind pressure from the storm that knocked microwave dishes out of alignment.  Additionally, Train’s crews are busy replenishing diesel generators and troubleshooting tower lighting. He had work on three 1,000-foot towers on the scheduled for Friday.

“There are a few towers that folded over and went down, but they lighter communications towers,” Train said. “I haven’t seen bad devastation, so far, but it is only Thursday.”

Unimar

When Bryan Lee, of Lee Antenna & Line Service, spoke to AGL Bulletin, he was in the field near Bethlehem, Penn., delivering diesel to cell site generators.  Lee’s company is working primarily for T-Mobile maintaining generators and for Telecom Transport Management repairing microwave links.

“It is a hard push,” A lot of the repairs right now deal with using generators to get power back up on the sites and getting the telco lines to the sites back up. So we end up doing a bunch of work on microwave dishes that got blown off path.”

In the campaign to get cellular systems back on the air, one day can run into the next. One night, Lee’s crew completed work on a microwave link at 6 a.m., checked into a hotel, slept until 1 p.m. and began work on another link. That day ended at 10 p.m.

Even so, Lee said that he doesn’t allow the urgency of repairing communications sites take precedence over making sure that the crews are getting enough downtime to work safely.

“You make sure you get your sleep,” Lee said. “One of the keys things we worry about is keeping the crews rested. The sites need to be repaired, but if you are pushing your crews too hard that is when accidents happen.”

Lee, himself was taking a day away from microwave work on Friday after working on towers two days in a row. Instead, he was spending the day driving from site to site, bringing fuel to generators.

“We rotate the work around so that everyone is not doing the grueling work every day. Climbing towers and microwave work can really wear you out,” Lee said.

LTE Rollout Forces Carriers, Integrators to Hustle for Tower Crews

2011 was not a banner year for tower crews with T-Mobile and AT&T both largely holding off on cell tower development and Sprint still preparing for its Network Vision project. Many tower crew companies went out of business and disbanded. But with LTE rollouts going full speed ahead this year,  Thomas Dolislager, principal of SellTower Consulting and SellTower Services, told AGL Bulletin that this year couldn’t be any more different.

“This year, everyone is working,” he said. “I have heard many people say this is the busiest line and antenna year they have ever seen in the industry.”

Both through his consulting work helping companies to find tower crews and in his own tower crew company, Dolislager has seen the competition to find tower crews markedly increase and with tower crew companies competing among themselves to keep their climbers from joining other companies.

“I have a small tower crew company, Selltower Services in Texas, which does antenna and line work for Goodman Networks, and we are having work offered to us almost every week that we can’t find anyone to do,” he said. “We are seeing tower crews become very choosy about which jobs they take, based on the pricing and payment terms.”

As a result, Dolislager estimates that the rollout of LTE sites may be a little slower and more expensive.

“I expect to see delays of 15 percent to 25 percent, but nothing dramatic,” he said. “Not having the resources will slow them down and it will raise the cost.

Dolislager said he has been working hard, but successfully, in procuring personnel for his major clients to convert the towers to 4G technology.  He is seeing unprecedented cooperation in the industry as it copes with the strains on its personnel resources.

“We feel very fortunate to have found vendors to handle all the tower work. We had to go much more local and with much smaller companies than in the past to get those needs met,” he said. “It has been ‘all hands on deck’ to find the right resources. The carriers are actually helping us find resources from their preferred ranks. That is unusual.”

LTE Rollout Forces Carriers, Integrators to Hustle for Tower Crews

2011 was not a banner year for tower crews with T-Mobile and AT&T both largely holding off on cell tower development and Sprint still preparing for its Network Vision project. Many tower crew companies went out of business and disbanded. But with LTE rollouts going full speed ahead this year,  Thomas Dolislager, principal of SellTower Consulting and SellTower Services, told AGL Bulletin that this year couldn’t be any more different.

“This year, everyone is working,” he said. “I have heard many people say this is the busiest line and antenna year they have ever seen in the industry.”

Both through his consulting work helping companies to find tower crews and in his own tower crew company, Dolislager has seen the competition to find tower crews markedly increase and with tower crew companies competing among themselves to keep their climbers from joining other companies.

“I have a small tower crew company, Selltower Services in Texas, which does antenna and line work for Goodman Networks, and we are having work offered to us almost every week that we can’t find anyone to do,” he said. “We are seeing tower crews become very choosy about which jobs they take, based on the pricing and payment terms.”

As a result, Dolislager estimates that the rollout of LTE sites may be a little slower and more expensive.

“I expect to see delays of 15 percent to 25 percent, but nothing dramatic,” he said. “Not having the resources will slow them down and it will raise the cost.

Dolislager said he has been working hard, but successfully, in procuring personnel for his major clients to convert the towers to 4G technology.  He is seeing unprecedented cooperation in the industry as it copes with the strains on its personnel resources.

“We feel very fortunate to have found vendors to handle all the tower work. We had to go much more local and with much smaller companies than in the past to get those needs met,” he said. “It has been ‘all hands on deck’ to find the right resources. The carriers are actually helping us find resources from their preferred ranks. That is unusual.”