Abseiling to improve coverage
I am often in awe of the extent Telstra’s Network Construction crews go to in carrying out their jobs.
One Brisbane metro job which recently blew me away, due to my fear of heights, was how our linesmen abseiled down Woolloongabba Exchange to boost coverage in the east Brisbane area.
‘The Gabba’ cricket ground was the focus of the job. As you can imagine, when you get 30,000 people all with smart phones sending photos of themselves at the cricket or AFL, the network traffic is astronomical and you need a lot of network capacity to cope.
As part of the capacity upgrade plans, in response to increased demand from customers at special events, our engineering team redesigned the network coverage in the area which included repanning the antennas away from the cricket ground to improve the operation of the stadium’s In Building Coverage system and to redirect coverage to other areas.
The Gabba Exchange is over 100 metres high, high enough to get most people nervous when thinking about hanging out over the edge. But for radio linesmen Bruce Roth and Chris Hicks this was their preferred method and they happily abseiled down 70 metres to commence the work on the Next G ® mobile base station antennas.
At the beginning of this year both Bruce and Chris were retrained in the ‘twin rope’ abseiling method and were keen to try it out.
There are many benefits to this approach because the overriding principle is that this industrial access abseiling technique allows the work to be undertaken almost immediately and does not disrupt normal office routines or traffic flow.
This is obviously a significant advantage over cranes or using elevated work platforms, which may require sections of road to be barricaded.
Bruce’s wife, a professional photographer, was on the spot and has kindly given permission for me to share these amazing shots with you.
Just looking at these shots makes my palms sweaty and I know that this is something that I could never do.
What lengths do you or some of your colleagues go to, to get the job done?