During my 36 years working in the Overhead Distribution and Transmission Departments I encountered more than a few memorable moments.... here’s another one:
In November of 1983, our company was struggling to complete a transmission re-conductor job, that had been started by a contractor, with in-house forces.
To complete the job, we were to “Dead End” and “Clip In” the previously installed double bundle of custom designed 2385 MCM ACSR Conductor on existing double circuit steel towers. There were only about 10 miles to complete. This was all that remained of a total 50 mile run that the contractor had been working on, for quite some time.
The new conductor was installed and just about up to full tension when I was asked if I wanted to “Qualify on the Towers”. Knowing how much OT was available on this job made the decision easy. Although this work wasn't for every distribution lineman at our organization, I fell in love with working out on Right of Ways, as opposed to on the side of a road. I also really liked the challenge of climbing 150' in the air, just to get to the work. Needless to say, I was in great shape back in those days.
On day one, I was to just climb up to the work location and observe, which was the usual routine. That day I watched as men worked awfully hard to install the “Pocket books” onto the conductors about 15 feet beyond the working platform connected to the tower. These grips weighed about 65 lbs. apiece.
After watching the first pair of “Books” installed, I asked if I could put the next set on. This looked to be the most difficult task on the job, so, I figured that if I could do that the rest looked easy. “Hell Yes” said Jimmy, the lead lineman on the arm that day. Well, it wasn't easy, but I managed to get it done. From that moment on, all I wanted to do was transmission work. We finished the job in the early summer of 1984, and I loved every minute of it. I had found my favorite form of line work.
For the next 10 years I spent about 6 months each year doing transmission work, until finally in 1994 I had enough seniority to bid for a permanent position in the “Transmission Line Maintenance Department”, or the TLM as it was called. I had made it and didn't look back except for storm duty until I retired in 2008.
My advice is “Try it, you just might like it”!
Ed Busse - Retired Lineman