Saturday, May 11, 2013

Getting high

I've seen this view before. Well, may not this particular one, but many like it when I built microwave towers in the Army.
Most of my towers were AB-216/U tactical towers 204 feet tall, just poking above the treetops but I had the opportunities to install antennae on a bunch of comm towers. The highest I ever worked was 776 feet, but the scariest one I ever worked on was only 60 feet tall - a self supporting tower right on the edge of a fucking cliff in the Alps with a good 60 mph wind blowing.
You want to know the funny part? I'm deathly afraid of heights and always have been. It took that period of my life to make me realize that I can do any fucking thing I set my mind to.


  1. Re. heights, I've got a slightly different problem - I cannot stand unstable heights. Looking down from tall buildings, no problem; three steps up a wobbly ladder, no thanks, I'm going home now......

  2. Well then towers would make you shit because they're designed with about a 3-6 inch wobble per 100 feet to better withstand winds.
    I found out that if I built the tower, I was fine because I knew that fucker was built right. If somebody else built it, I was shaky until I inspected it. But seeing as you have to climb it to inspect it.... well, I learned to suck it up.
    Like you though, buildings don't bother me if I'm standing on a level surface. Cliffs do, I don't care how level the ground is. Maybe it's the thought that the ground could give way, I don't know.

  3. Try hanging off a swinging ladder at 600ft above a river...My asshole was clenched so tight you couldn't of shoved a needle up there...It was a little icy that day so that didn't help:-)

  4. The scariest was cleaning a periscope window. See we had been in the Bahamas and had some kind of slime on the sub hull. I guess the slime was on the periscope too. I had to clean the slime off while we were pulling into Norfolk. A very foggy morning and climb outside of the flying bridge so I could get to it.The ship was rockin and rollin in the swell and threr was a nuclear powered quisenart 200 feet away. I was shaking so hard when I got finished I had to wait a minute before I went below. I don't like heights but that was nasty.
    Ken B.

  5. Glad to hear that I'm not alone on this whole "heights" thing! I was totally cool with em' till rock climbing out in Joshua Tree National Monument.... First few climbs (small F-1, F-2) then straight to an F-4 rated pos rock, half way up I froze. Made the mistake of looking DOWN.... At a time when we had to unhook from one belay (?) over to a second line. Needless to say that I held up traffic for a bit.
    The flip side of that.... Repelling is very cool!

  6. I used to work at a pissant radio station with a tower that was made out of two towers.
    Only a couple hundred feet, but when you stood at the base and looked up it had a distinct S curve on the top section.

    I never had to climb it thankfully, though once when the beacon conked out I was afraid I'd be tagged to change the light.
    Fortunately a couple of smacks on the controller box got it working again.

    The owner hired a couple of kids to paint it and they said there were sections so corroded that they could pinch the tubing with their hands.

    Few years later it collapsed and insurance bought them a nice new tower.

  7. Hate heights. Have vertigo so bad I'll crawl to the edge of something if I have to look down.
    That being said I taught (as a student) a rock climbing/rappelling class for 4 semesters Jr & Sr year of HS.
    Also, when I got laid off from foundry work I got a job as a fucking chimney sweep! Needed the money something fierce. My wife still talks about me just sitting in my chair before leaving, white as a sheet and sweating.
    To this day my feet start sweating when I drive along and see some tall, steep pitched roofs.

  8. No. Fucking. Thanks. Give me a boat on a rocking and rolling ocean storm any day over heights.

  9. Joshua Tree National Monument... Damn that brings back some memories.

    When I was a lot younger, I worked as a derrick hand in the oilfields in Texas. My workstation was 85 ft above the floor that was another 8 to 12 feet up depending on the rig. Good times.


Play nice.