BLM Telecommunications Specialists Keep Wyoming Field-Going Employees Safe, in Touch
Bureau: Bureau of Land Management
BLM Wyoming has a multitude of different specialists. But it turns out the backbone of the organization are three specialists that spent more time in the field than the office in 2013. Because of their hard work, the rest of the BLM's employees can actually communicate with each other while in the field. They are the telecommunication specialists
Nicholas Owen, telecommunications specialist, Rock Springs Field Office, takes down an old antenna on the Old Rawlins Tower.
Managed under the BLM Wyoming Fire and Aviation program, the Mobile Land Radio program provides a key link to safety for all BLM Wyoming employees. District Radio Technician Derrick Migneault said, "Our job is to make sure the state has communications for all three districts. This includes rangers, fire crews, minerals and lands specialists, or resources staff. When they go out into the field, they need to be in radio contact with their office."
Migneault and his counterparts are responsible for making sure the 29 base or repeater stations and all mobile and portable radios in the state. They take care of maintenance, programming, installation, and removals for the communication sites, and for the mobile and portable radios.
Billy Liksa, telecommunications specialist, Casper Field Office, sits on a Pepro building on Elk Mountain. This structure, known as a Faraday cage, protects communication equipment by conducting lightening directly to the ground.
Last year, the Mobile Land Radio team worked on 11 different sites. At the Crooks Mountain site, they removed the old building and installed a new one that has a self-articulating tower. The building is portable in case it needs to be moved in the future.
While the work of the Mobile Land Radio Team is critical year-round for to ensure the safety of the field-going personnel, fire season is the peak of demand. The team works on-site at fires to set up portable repeaters near the fire line and to ensure clear and constant communication.
The photo at left shows a new shelter being installed at Crooks Mountain; the photo at right, a new shelter on Elk Mountain.
Assistant State Fire Management Officer Paul Hohn said about telecommunications, "They keep our conventional radio system working year-round. Any BLM employee that goes out in the field can then stay in contact with dispatch or their supervisor. It's a key factor in employee safety."
Without their hard work, Wyoming would truly be out-of-touch!
May 16, 2014