I know all tower climbers work hard, right? You bust your hump to get things done on time. Do you work as smart as you do hard? Here is what I mean. Before you go in the air do you know what the end result is? How much can you do on the ground? Are you working with a tech or engineer on the ground? Did you guys talk through what the plan is?
So, here is what you should do. Look over the paperwork and talk to the crew, see what the plan is. If you expect someone else to do it then you should really trust them, because it’s a team effort. Some guys show up and look at what they do as just the labor, but the real value of your work can be done with proper planning, remember that you are there to add value to make the project a success. Now that may mean that someone has to go in the air to look at what’s up there so you know what needs to be taken up in the way of clamps or steel or obstacles. The first guy up may need to rig or verify a safety plan. It is his job to communicate to the crew on the ground what will be needed up top.
There will be a group on the ground and in the air, unless you work together all the time it is not safe to make assumptions, communicate! You will need to talk through details that you might think is a given in the situation. Often times tower crews work with the field engineer on the ground. Make sure you understand how to communicate. For example, if doing a dish alignment, know what the signs are to communicate. Also, make sure that if there are problems, you all remain cool. I can’t tell you how many times people are sure that they are pointing at the correct tower far off because they can see it, but is it the correct tower? Not always, so be cool and make suggestions.
The survey paperwork is crucial, make sure someone has access to it and that someone understands it. If you are working a design, review it. If there is a loading study done that has an issue, it would help to know that ahead of time. Try to get all the information you can before you start the work, or make sure the guy that has the information communicates it to the teams.
I remember once that the climber was sure he was looking at the correct tower, but the signal was not there, so he was sure it was the remote end. Well, needless to say he was wrong; I went up and aligned it to the correct tower. He was upset but at least he allowed me to align it myself, without an argument. Long days make people cranky, so remember that this is a team effort and that we all need to work together. Everyone wants to be successful at the end of the day, because not only does failure suck, but no one wants to pay if the job is not done. That is the goal, a job well done.
At the end of the day we want the work to be done, done right, and to last a very long time. The goal is to have the best reputation around. If you can take pictures of your work, do it. Send some to me if you are allowed, I’ll take all you have. Feel free to post them on my Facebook or Google+ pages, Wade4Wireless, or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them.
I received a few emails and I want to thank you guys for the feedback. If you have some stories to share or if you want me to cover a subject let me know, email, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn. I want to build a community because in the field we shouldn’t be alone, we should know that there are others out there going through the same thing. Be safe!