- Understanding evolving tower technologies is key to high-quality tower services
- Tower climbing experience should extend to other structures and settings too
- Expertise in safe climbing, FCC rules, and FAA requirements are paramount
Modern technology is rapidly changing and rising to the top of buildings, towers and other structures. Here’s why Commenco’s Tower Service crews are uniquely qualified to make the climb when your business demands it.
Deep Experience Evolving with Technology
The dramatic expansion of Internet infrastructure and the migration to smarter hardware are just two reasons technology is taking business to new heights. Communications systems are being transformed, wireless connections are a skyrocketing priority, and there’s less patience than ever for glitchy performance. Our tower crews are technology professionals with a passion for climbing, and that has our phones ringing.
“We’ve always managed the tower systems that we’ve built and continue to maintain,” says Ralph Aguilar, Commenco’s Director of Commercial Services. “And now we’re getting other calls to help support work outside of our own systems.”
Commenco’s been pioneering two-way radio communications in Kansas City since the 1950s, deploying technology on towers and connecting them to create networks for roaming police officers, firefighters and an array of businesses ranging from transportation and logistics to construction. Along the way, we’ve also developed a skill for identifying emerging technology needs and stepping up to support them.
“We watch the industries we serve closely and follow the direction the technology is taking,” explains Larry Morris, Commenco’s Senior Field Technician. “We can’t do it all but we know how to support much of what goes on a tower.”
The need for 5G infrastructure support alone is overwhelming with 20% of all people on earth expected to have access to 5G as soon as 2023. More towers and other elevated installation sites will keep popping up around us and the usual stream of infrastructure spending will likely turn into a flood that washes in the golden age of LED too. Morris saw it coming.
“LED lightning has really arrived and we’re excited to help establish it. It uses far less energy and the hardware lasts much longer. The last piece to fall into place was the brightness. LEDs now have power that matches incandescents so they’re perfect for lighting towers of all types.”
Innovative technologies will also be positioned high above the ground to harness more solar and wind power. And new tools with new purposes will emerge and take hold as well, such as location-based sensors for tracking environmental conditions. All of it will demand more of our ability to adapt and deliver. “Our understanding of technology continues to extend beyond the traditional,” says Morris. “We welcome the chance to pivot to what’s coming down the line.”
Expertise Beyond Towers and Kansas City
Antennas, repeaters, boosters, microwave hardware — we’re pros at deploying whatever it takes to clear a path for communications. We’ll climb 500 feet up a tower to install and maintain systems to keep them running without disruption. Morris emphasizes that the scope of our focus includes support systems down below.
“We put all the equipment on racks in the small buildings next to the towers. We wire everything and get it operational, and then maintain it after that. We understand the tower environment from top to bottom and that kind of understanding isn’t common. It translates to prevention; avoiding problems that interrupt communications.”
There are hundreds of towers across our region and Aguilar says our crews are also working on the top and sides of schools, businesses and other buildings. “Towers are only part of it. You’ll see us climbing on factories, warehouses, silos and in construction zones. We go pretty much wherever the technology goes.”
The technology is also going beyond the urban core. Our experience maintaining public communication towers in the countryside outside of Kansas City makes us a good candidate for helping with the growing push to extend the Internet into rural areas. “Lately we’ve been going as far as small communities outside of Wichita to help link guide towers that expand web access,” says Aguilar. “We’re being called in to mount equipment and connect wireless infrastructure.”
Comprehensive Training and Safe Working Standards
While giant telecommunications companies and other businesses are scrambling to put together climbing crews, we’ve been cultivating our climbing culture for over seven decades. Our company has grown up around training, certifications and the responsibility of liability. We didn’t have much choice. After designing and building a network of tower communication systems, we had to keep climbing to maintain them.
“We’re kind of a unique niche in this way,” says Aguilar. “We’ve always had our own tower crews just to support our own systems on all of the towers we’ve equipped. Making sure our crews are safe and well trained is part of our tradition. We’re a small company with small company values, and we take care of our people and keep them close to home. I think that’s harder to find in bigger operations.”
Training is essential for responsible climbers, and so is the equipment that goes with it. We’ve watched climbing gear evolve over the years and we understand what our crews need to climb safely, from harnesses to helmets. Jim Outman, our Field Installation Supervisor, has been climbing over 30 years, several times the length of a typical climbing career.
“Commenco really looks out for its climbers. It’s a good local company that gives its climbers the training and gear they need to work safely and effectively. This is very hard work, but when you know you’re supported and you’re spending most of your waking life doing something exciting like this, you feel lucky.”
Climbing training and OSHA certification, as well as first aid, CPR and rescue education make up the foundation of all climbing careers at Commenco. In addition, technical training never stops, including Motorola R56 Communication Site Installer training.
Training is one thing, keeping our crews safe as conditions change is another. We’re known for being careful about making sure our climbers are well prepared and don’t face unnecessary risk. That means no climbing in fog, at night, in high winds, lightning or anything else that poses avoidable threats.
“Scheduling climbs is sort of an art,” says Aguilar. “We know how to keep projects and maintenance on schedule, taking into account weather conditions for climbing, the rhythm of our climbers in terms of the rest they require, and timing that works best for our customers.”
We’ve grown up around radio communications, so we also know FCC rules and technical regulations inside and out. We keep our customers’ systems in line and out of regulatory trouble. Our tower work has also given us critical knowledge of FAA specifications down to the details.
“Towers in the path of an airport must be lit and other towers of a certain height need lights too,” explains Morris. “The only way to do tower lighting work the right way is to understand the number of lights required for any specific tower and how they’re expected to be positioned. You have to know about blinking patterns and brightness standards.”
Experience, expertise and training that checks all the right boxes are the main reasons customers trust Commenco climbers. A devotion to getting the job done exactly right is pretty important too. Call us today to learn more about Commenco Tower Services and what we can do for you.