Part #2 Life on the Mast- Troubleshooting a Transmission Tower (Fault-Redundant Rectify Circuit)


In life, there are beautiful memories and there are awful ones. Memories are parts of been human.

Few days back, I wrote part one of my engineering life which I was supposed to be living titled Life on a Tower- An RF engineer in an alternate dimension. Here is the part two, it's a bit detailed than the first because I just came back on a trip when I wrote and published the first.


As I was reminiscing the tasks of been an Radio Frequency technician, the picture about is a maxi tower and I took that shot before climbing it. Been a rigger or a linesman for my friend afforded me with the luxury of taking pictures to document my tasks which I wasn't supposed to do on working network sites.

Within the couple of days that I have reverted to my real line of training as a telecommunications engineer, I realized that most mobile or service providers cut costs a lot and that's why the call and data networks are shitty most of the times.

My friend, the FME(Field Maintenance Engineer) for a mobile service provider insisted exploited some of these loopholes to work for two telecommunications service provider company at the same time.

Although he was bent on trainng me and make me understand some basics Networking and service providing trouble shooting to come work fulltime, he was showing me the sides unknown to average cellular services users. I obliged because he was my host for a couple of days turned into weeks, also my best friend regardless of our religious and believe.

We used to be study partners back in college, so it was natural that I enjoyed staying with his family. His two kids were super awesome, we bonded immediately I met them for the first time.

Another reason I had to go on his site works was, asidd been good friends in our undergraduate days, and with different religion but same mentality; I wanted to bring him into crytocurrnecy and the best way is to do what he needs me to do while I train him too.

In fact, he changed my orientation about Islam. He is smart and accepts anyone once you share the same principle and philosophy with him.

The image below shows how we were troubleshooting the network racks(rectifier cabinets). Different modules of routers are installed in each rack that looks like refrigerators.


Normally, each rack(cabinets) is supposed to be water tight(water resistance), I mean for the latest designs. Unfortunately these telecoms company still uses the old outdated ones and its one of the reasons there's dozens of outages whenever the weather goes berserk.

I recall that this site was one of the very remote site in Lokoja Nigeria. The village is a Coal mining site for Dangote Group of companies and the site shares the same power source with the transmitting tower for a local GSM/Mobile service Network.

The rectify cabinet(or rack) we went to troubleshoot is always redundant, its suppose to serve as a backup in case the Generating plant and inverter circuits goes off. I guess the cost cutting made a redundant one installed there and not serving any reasonable purpose.

We spent about six hours to decommission that rectify rack after troubleshooting.

To my amazement, it ended up needing a complete system overhaul, hence we had to ship down to Lagos the se city where I live and I was due to go back. It was sent for repairs or replacement, best guess is that, it will only get a masquerading fix and shipped back to the site.

Oh boy, it was a steaming hot sunny and dusty day. Working remotely on a coal mine is not a cool task as I was piting those workers on site. However, I enjoyed the day as it an avenue to share ideas with my FME friend which was super fantastic just like back in college.

It was tough to come back, I was reluctant to travel down back to my base in Lagos.

So many things to learn and practice again and again. Its was a great month. From death to lessons and thousand of miles to cover.

To some extent, I am still considering to go back to Telecommunications Engineering fully like I said in the first part.

If I do, I have to start as a Rigger, a Radio Frequency linesman. That's an adventurous starting point for me if l decide to go back into my field, always Climbing a Tower, high above up in the skies!