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How can I get a job with a view?
September 21, 2010 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Help me discover the path to a job working on the clusters of equipment that sit on top of mountains.

The type of sites im referring to are places like this, this, and this.

I realize that lots of different types of equipment is up there, could be some radio stuff, some tv, air traffic nav aids, radar, weather equipment, etc..
Im basically looking for someone who has worked on sites like this to find out more about it and what I can do to put myself there. Whats the coolest job up there? What companies should I be looking at? Are there apprenticeship programs to check out? Most importantly, what degree would best suit me?

I have experience in ground/air radio and electronics maintenance from my military days and definitely enjoyed the field, ive just always looked at those sites way up there and thought they were cool. I figure there must be a good handful of jobs needed to build and support these sites but I never hear anything about them.
posted by Esefa to Work & Money (4 answers total)
 
I've never worked on them personally, but I attended a lecture on weather patterns in Alaska that included a field trip to an observation station (often found on mountaintops, though this one was pretty much at sea level).

NOAA would be a good place the start. Here in Alaska, the state wildfire service (part of the Bureau of Land Management) also places and maintains some stations.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:18 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most importantly, what degree would best suit me?

RF Engineer is a specialty of Electrical Engineering, so that would be the main degree that you'd probably want to look into. However, there's probably a parallel track on the 'technical' side of things, i.e. a training program that emphasizes more practical and less theoretical knowledge. With an EE degree you would come out of school with close to zero practical ability to maintain that type of equipment so you would then have to learn on the first few years of the job. EE is also quite broad, so you'd learn about many things that don't have to do with RF transmissions.

The only thing I would warn about is that there are a whole lot of RF towers in very un-romantic places that aren't picturesque mountain vistas, and you probably wouldn't be able to pick and choose which ones need maintenance; you'd be called out onto whatever site needs work.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:57 PM on September 21, 2010


Nav Canada runs the radar domes on mountains near airports.
posted by klanawa at 8:53 AM on September 22, 2010


Thanks for the replies! I was actually originally thinking about going the EE route, since it is so broad I figured that I could go from there and take whatever field will have me, but I didnt think about the practical experience part. Will definitely look into some kind of RF specific course.

Yeah I know they arent always in the nicest places, but I assume each site doesnt have a specific set of maintainers, but rather a central shop of technicians who drive for hours to get to the sites when maintenance is needed, right? Would love to know where these shops are and what they call themselves.
posted by Esefa at 10:17 AM on September 28, 2010


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