What Do Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers Do?
With the rise of cellphones and the internet, telecommunications systems are crucial for keeping the world up and running. Radio and cellular tower installers and repairers set up and maintain transmission towers and other kinds of broadcast equipment, including mobile broadband and two-way radio communication systems as used by ships, airplanes and emergency vehicles. You’ll keep networks up and running, and analyze existing systems and coverage areas.Telecommunications is a growing industry, and the number of equipment installer positions is expected to go up 7% by 2022. Analysts predict that 330 new jobs will be opening annually across the country.
Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers Skills and Abilities
In order to install and maintain this complex equipment, you’ll need a good understanding of electronics and general engineering and technology know-how, along with specific knowledge of telecommunications systems. Like other maintenance professionals, installers and repairers also must have customer service skills. Manual dexterity and good near vision is important for working with delicate electronics, and you should have strong reasoning and critical thinking skills in order to troubleshoot problems.
Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers Duties
To install and repair radio and cellular towers and other equipment, you’ll study blueprints and work orders to understand what work needs to be done. Most installation jobs will have multiple steps, such as:
- Running power and coaxial cables
- Bolting and fastening equipment with power and hand tools
- Lifting towers and other pieces into place with cranes and rigs
- Installing and positioning antennae and auxiliary transmission equipment
- Inspecting all completed work to ensure everything is secure
You’ll track the progress of projects with photos and reports, and drive trucks and trailers to transport equipment to sites. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining existing equipment, which may entail climbing towers to repair or replace antennae, and testing the operation of transmitters and their coverage areas. Radio mechanics are also considered a type of radio equipment repairer. As a radio mechanic, you will examine radio broadcasters and receivers to identify existing and prevent future problems. You’ll replace defective components and rewire and solder circuits and wiring as needed. You’ll also test emergency transmitters and monitor transmissions for issues, recalibrating equipment to solve these as needed.
Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers Tools and Technology
In addition to analytical and facilities management computer software, communications equipment installers and repairers use a variety of tools and machinery, both large and small, to carry out responsibilities. Some of the equipment you may employ includes:
- Frequency and network analyzers
- Soldering irons
- Tension gauges
- Joint pliers
- Forklifts and backhoes
Education and Training for Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers
The majority of equipment installer and repairer positions require a two-year associate’s degree or equivalent certification or coursework, preferably with a specialty in communications systems technology. Beginner jobs offer a degree of on-the-job training, with no previous experience necessary.
Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers Salary
As a skilled laborer position, the average salary is $48,000 a year, though this can vary depending on location as well as employer. Lower paid positions offer around $27,000, while in a higher paid position you can make more than $75,000 a year.
Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers Jobs by Geography
The majority of telecommunications equipment exists in more densely populated areas, with the most installer and repairer positions in populous states such as California, Texas and Florida. The highest average pay for these positions is generally found on the West Coast and the Northeast. However, due to the expanding need for coverage nationwide, some more isolated areas have a growing demand, with places such as Alaska, Hawaii and New Mexico also offering competitive wages.