Climbing above it all

One of the many parts of the preventative maintenance regime of our communications equipment involves climbing the communications masts.  Most of them are for various High Frequency (HF) radio antennas, which are necessarily very large, that require yearly inspection and the occasional replacement part.  A single remaining mast covers nearly every other radio requirement we have.  Here’s the rub:

Featured up top is that mast.  You may recognise the angle of this photo from a previous post (My Humble Home).  The main difference this time is me half way up the mast!  There are a total of 8 antennas on this mast, plus a small beacon light that can be activated via radio to help in poor visibility.

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That’s me on the right, with my comms counterpart on the left.  Whenever one of us is climbing, the other is waiting at the bottom already wearing a harness and full rescue gear.  If one of us was to slip and hit our heads, the second person can perform a rescue in under 10 minutes.  This is pretty important as we climb in relatively cool clothing due to the heat made by physical exertion.  If we were to stay still for too long, we’d get cold fairly quickly.

We’re both trained before coming down to ensure we can safely (and legally) climb the masts, perform vertical rescue, etc.  Climbing only happens when the weather is inside particular parameters, and both of the days represented in these photos had a temperature of around zero degrees and wind speed under ten knots.  Apart from the few exceptionally warm days (around 10 degrees Celsius) we had in summer, it doesn’t get much better than this.  However, the details aren’t nearly as interesting as the view from the top of any of our masts:

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Shameless self promotion from atop a tower.  Behind me is the sheltered bay created by the peninsula we’re built on.  Behind that is the quarry where rock is crushed to use as foundations for new construction works (like the extra water tank foundation that was build this year).

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This is the sort of view we see from atop a mast.  There are ten or so masts to be inspected each year so we both get to see the station from various angles.  Masts further from the station make for a better vista, whereas the operations mast erected within the station affords a great view of the buildings we live and work in day to day.

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These four shots were taken from atop one of the HF masts.  Apologies for the guy wires.

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And here are a couple of things I could see from the top of the operations mast.  We have quite a few elephant seals nursing hangovers here at the moment (at least, that is my theory on what they’re up to).  It’s amazing just how big they are with some of them weighing a couple of thousand kilograms.

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To finish off the post, here’s an arty shot my colleague took while I was up the mast.  His camera has some pretty cool looking modes, and this one made the thin sprinkling of clouds look like something far more sinister.  Thanks for reading  🙂

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3 Comments on “Climbing above it all

  1. Bob, this is seriously badass, thanks for sharing your crazy adventures 😀

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