Radio and telecommunications equipment installation and repair workers are responsible for repairing a wide range of equipment. Many specialize in regards to a specific type of equipment.
Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installation and Repair Job Responsibilities
Workers employed at central offices are hubs perform some of the most complex type of work. Switch hubs contain the routers and switches that direct the actual information to their final destinations. Repairers and installers are responsible for setting up those routers and switches. Increasing technology has now made it possible for switches to actually alert a central office repair worker of the presence of a malfunction. In some cases it is possible to diagnose as well as correct malfunctions from a remote location. This type of technology is also becoming common in telecommunications and cable television. Cable television distribution centers are known as headends. Technicians employed in headends perform much of the same type of work as a central office technician; however, they are employed in the cable television field.
When a problem occurs with telecommunications equipment it is the job of a repairer to diagnose the source of the malfunction. This is done by testing each equipment part. As a result, the worker must understand the way in which the hardware and software interact. In order to locate the source of the issue, the worker must often utilize network analyzers, spectrum analyzers or in some cases both to detect any type of distortion that may be present in the signal. They may use hand tools to repair the equipment, which might include screwdrivers and pliers. Newer equipment tends to be easier to repair because parts and boards are designed to be removed and replaced quickly. A repairer may also install programs or updated software.
A PBX installer and repairer is responsible for setting up private branch exchange or PBX switchboards. These switchboards relay outgoing, interoffice and incoming telephone calls within a single organization or location. They must first connect equipment to the communications cables and power lines in order to install the switches as well as the switchboards. In addition they must test the connection to be certain that a sufficient amount of power is present and that all communication links are properly working. Other job duties include installing equipment like telephone sets, alarms and power systems. Workers may also install equipment for specific features. Finally, the worker will perform a variety of tests to ensure that the equipment is functioning as it should. In the event of a problem, a PBX repairer will determine whether the problem is present in the PBX system or whether it is coming from telephone lines that are maintained by a local telephone company.
A station installer or home installer is responsible for installing and repairing telecommunications equipment and wiring within a business or home. They may install VoIP, Internet, telephone or other communications services by either connecting wiring that is already in existence to outside lines or installing new wiring inside the premises.
A radio mechanic is responsible for installing and maintaining radio transmission and receiving equipment. Such equipment is typically mounted on a transmission tower or on a tall building. This can include two-way communications systems that are found in airplanes, taxis, emergency vehicles and ships. New types of radio equipment are actually self-monitoring and can alert mechanics to a potential malfunction.
Telecommunications and radio installers and repairers typically work in areas that are air-conditioned, well lit and clean. In some cases they may need to travel to a service center or client’s location. Radio mechanics may often need to work on towers which can involve working at significant heights. This type of work can involve crawling, crouching, stooping, reaching and lifting. Most workers in this industry work full time. Some may need to work in the evenings or on weekends in order to meet client needs.
Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installation and Repair Training and Education Requirements
It has become increasingly common for employers to require postsecondary education in computer technology and electronics for entry into this field. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for more complex work.
Individuals employed in this field may advance by gaining experience and additional education. Some employer may provide initial on the job training. Formal classroom training typically involves communications systems, electronics and software in addition to hands on training while working with an experienced repair technician.
Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installation and Repair Salary and Wages
In 2008 the median yearly earnings for telecommunications equipment repairers and installers were $55,600, excluding line installers. Radio mechanics had median yearly earnings of $40,260.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installation and Repair Certifications
Marine and aviation radio mechanics are required to obtain licensure through the Federal Communications Commission prior to working on aviation or marine radios. Licensure involves passing multiple exams on electronics fundamentals, radio law and maintenance practices. Certification can improve employment opportunities for all other fields in this industry. Certifications are offered through the Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers as well as the Telecommunications Industry Association.
Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installation and Repair Professional Associations
Professional associations for workers in this industry include the Communications Workers of America as well as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.