If you have a smartphone, chances are you’ve received a signal from cellular equipment installed by I.B. Abel’s Wireless Group.

The company has found a niche in installing entire cellular systems for all major mobile carriers – Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and others – at the very top of utility transmission towers. Those carriers lease the space from the utility company that owns the tower, such as National Grid or Eversource.

The job might sound simple but consider this – those transmission poles range in size from an average residential street pole of 30 feet all the way up to the massive industrial towers that reach 200 feet into the sky.

There’s also plenty of work to do on the ground. I.B. Abel performs the civil work of clearing the area, pouring concrete and installing all ground-level equipment.

Focus on safety

Crews installing wireless antennas and related equipment sometimes work hundreds of feet in the air in bucket trucks or with cranes. At times terrain will be so uneven and sites so inaccessible that the company needs to call a helicopter to fly crews and equipment up to the work site.

To perform such potentially dangerous work, the Wireless Group’s two general foremen each have more than 20 years of experience in wireless work. All of I.B. Abel’s crews are trained with the tower-climbing industry standard climbing certification known as COMTRAIN for climbing safety and rescue.

Crews stay current with radio frequency awareness training since the industrial equipment transmits wireless frequencies which can be harmful to people nearby. All transmission tower workers are also competent in rope rigging since they are raising antennas which weigh hundreds of pounds. They are also skilled in bucket truck rescue methods.

However, not all of the group’s jobs are sky-high. They conduct 5G or small cell work, putting antennas on wooden distribution poles on residential streets.

Experience and expansion

Most of the group’s work is now in the Mid-Atlantic region and parts of New England. Mike Chapman, Manager of Wireless Operations, said the company hopes to be established as a contractor of choice for various investor-owned utilities by the end of this summer, and to expand its wireless work west into Pittsburgh and Ohio.

The company’s wireless crews are comprised of I.B.E.W. linemen and communication technicians. The average experience of each crew member is more than 10 years, with many exceeding the 20-year mark. Construction managers all have 20+ years in the field. Chapman has been with I.B. Abel for 21 years, starting as a journeyman wireman and working on tower installation crews for 10 years.

“We’re proud to provide turnkey solutions for our wireless customers,” Chapman said. “We’re always expanding and upgrading our equipment to keep up with advancements in wireless and industry technology.”

To learn more about I.B. Abel’s Wireless Group, contact us today.

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