October 2018

  1. The Perfect Tower Climbing Radio

    Communication on any job site is key. That’s where radios come in. They are compact and make communicating over large distances (especially when you’re up 150 feet on a tower) much easier and more efficient. But not all radios are created equal. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the perfect tower climbing radio.



    The Kenwood TK-3400U16PS is the perfect tower climbing radio. The reason is actually pretty simple – the shorter antenna. Our Gear Experts® teamed up with the folks at Kenwood to custom design this radio specifically for the telecom market, although it’s perfect for any at-height work.

    *The TK-3400U16PS is the 16-channel upgraded version of the TK-3400U4P.

    Making Life At-Height Easier


    We found that the longer the antenna was on the radio the more likely it was to get in your way while you were climbing up and down the tower or working at height. Because of that, we decided to make a radio that had a much shorter antenna.

    Don’t worry! Just because the antenna is smaller doesn’t mean you will lose any reception. This antenna works just as well as any of the radios in Kenwood’s lineup.

    Completing Your Setup


    So, now you’ve got the perfect radio – but we’ve got a few more tips to make it the perfect setup. We recommend having a holster like the T-Reign ProHolster Retractable Harness Holster or the Kenwood KLH-187 Nylon Carrying Case. A holster will allow you to clip your radio to your harness so you don’t have to try and dig it out of your bolt bag in order to use it. The last piece of equipment we recommend is the Kenwood KMC-21 Speaker Mic. The speaker mic allows you to communicate with just one hand and not have to worry about taking your radio out of the holster or removing the holster from your harness.

    To find out more about some of our favorite two way radio accessories check out this blog post.



    Kenwood frequently runs rebates. Be sure to check our Kenwood page for a full selection of Kenwood radios and any current promotions going on.

    Have more questions about our radio selection? Click here to talk to one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of Kenwood radios and accessories

    Kenwood: The Videos


    Over the years we have done quite a few Kenwood videos covering everything from accessories and comparisons to how to lock your radio.

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  2. Mounting a Capstan Hoist to a Pole, Tower, or Beam with the Chain Bracket

    Capstan hoists revolutionized the art of lifting and rigging. What used to have to be done by hand or with complicated rigs that utilized truck power can now be done with a lightweight single unit piece. The capacity of the capstan depends on the model that you get and depending on the capacity, the way that you secure the hoist may be different. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down how to mount a capstan to a pole, tower, or beam with the chain bracket.

    Chain Bracket vs. Swivel Mount vs. Straight Mount


    Before we go over how to mount a capstan with the chain bracket it’s important to outline the other options, when each is appropriate, and why you would use the chain bracket. The three main mounting options are a chain bracket, swivel mount, and straight mount. The straight mount and swivel mount bracket fit onto the hitch of a truck, while the chain bracket is attached to a pole, tower, or beam.

    The straight mount bracket can be used when you have easy straight access to your rigging location. The downside? It doesn’t have the ability to change direction without moving the vehicle it is attached to. If you think moving direction might be something you’ll need to do while on the job site, then the swivel bracket may be better suited for your rig setup.

    The chain bracket is similar to the straight mount bracket due to flexibility being limited. However, the chain bracket can handle more weight. In fact, the chain mount bracket is the ONLY bracket that can be used in combination with the 3,000 lb Capstan Hoist.

    Pole Mounting


    Mounting the hoist on a pole is a simple process that can be done in just a few minutes. Before beginning to mount the hoist the first step is to open the binder as far as possible by turning the handle counter-clockwise. The bolts in the chain tubes should be removed to allow the tubes to pivot.

    Next, place the chain over the top of the drum of the capstan and hold the hoist against the pole. It is recommended that you hold the capstan against the pole with your leg so that you have both hands free for the next steps. Next, Wrap the chain around the pole and hook them into the slots on the bracket. The final step is to turn the binders clockwise to tighten the connection of the hoist to the pole.

    ** Please note that after a heavy initial load you may need to re-tighten the binders.

    Tower/Beam Mounting



    The majority of steps for tower/beam mounting of the hoist are the same as pole mounting. However, there is one main difference. That difference is making sure that the two bolts located at the wheel tightener end of the chain binders have been secured in place through both the binders and the bracket. If secured correctly a 90° angle should be created between the chain binders and the bracket. This 90° angle allows the hoist to be mounted to square surfaces like those found on a tower/beam. After the angle has been created the remaining steps in the pole mounting section can be followed.

    Looking for more information about capstan hoists or mounting options? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see the 1,000 LB Capstan Hoist

    Click here to see the 3,000 LB Capstan Hoist

    Click here to see our selection of capstan mounting brackets

    Click here to see our entire selection of lifting & rigging gear

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Pole Mounting: The Video

    Looking to see an example of the proper way to use the chain mount for a pole? Check out this video for a complete breakdown.

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  3. Rope Bag Buying Guide

    Rope, it’s something that every at-height worker needs on a job site, but it’s not always the easiest part of your gear to transport. Imagine getting to your location – ready to get the day started – and having to spend an hour untangling your rope, just to find out that it accidentally got cut in your trailer while being transported. Not only did you waste an hour of your morning, but now you have to take that rope out of service because it is no longer safe to use. This week our Gear Experts® are going to cover rope bags and things to look at when you’re on the hunt for one.

    Rope Bags


    Rope bags are pretty self-explanatory. They are bags designed to hold and transport rope (we were shocked when we first found out too…). While all rope bags have the same purpose, to store and transport rope, there are a few things to consider when looking at rope bags.

    What to Look for in a Rope Bag


    When you first look at the selection of diverse rope bags that are available it can be overwhelming. But, if you break down all of the different features, and what will suit your rope and your unique application it can be pretty simple. Some things to consider are color, size, document pockets, additional storage compartments, applications, and straps.


    Color is more of an organizational benefit than anything. Having ropes of different types (Kernmantle, Double Braid, or 3-Strand) or ropes for specific applications in different colored bags can help keep you organized and streamline the process of grabbing the specific rope you need when you need it.


    Ropes come in a range of sizes – and that means that rope bags do, too. Going through dozens of rope bags individually to try and find the size you need can take a lot of time. That’s why we made this handy chart.

    Document Pockets

    Document pockets make staying safe and compliant easy, they also allow for quick labeling. Many rope bags feature document pockets where you can store your rope inspection forms, labels to help keep your gear organized and any other pertinent information about your rope. We cover rope inspection in this blog post.

    Additional Storage

    Some rope bags simply store rope, but sometimes you need more out of your bag. If you want the ability to store additional gear, like carabiners, you’ll want additional pockets in your bag.


    Most rope bags will work for all of your applications, but there are some situations where specialty or unique bags may serve a better purpose. For example, if you are going to be around a lot of water – having a waterproof bag can prevent your rope from getting damaged. If you don’t typically work around water, then a bag that has small holes in the bottom (gusseted) to allow the rope to breathe will be sufficient. One important aspect of rope care is washing your rope – if you want to use a washing machine you’ll need to put your rope in a laundry bag.


    The last thing on our list of considerations when picking a rope bag is what type of straps it has. The rope bag is great for storing and protecting a rope, but it still has to be carried around the job site. Having comfortable straps is always something to keep in mind, as well as if it has one strap or a setup more like backpack straps.

    If you need more information about choosing the right rope bag or would like help picking the bag best for you, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of Rope Bags

    Click here to see our full selection of Rope

    Click here to check out all of our rope related blog posts

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  4. Eye Protection: The ANSI Z87.1 Standard

    Your eyes – some refer to them as windows to the soul. Others simply use them to see. Either way, it’s hard to argue that your eyesight isn’t important. This week our Gear Experts® are going to cover eye protection and what makes safety glasses…safe.



    Anyone can claim that their safety glasses are safe – that’s why standards have been put in place. Specifically, the ANSI Z87.1 Standard for eye protection. The Z87.1 Standard outlines what requirements safety glasses must meet as well as how they should be tested. This ANSI Standard covers a range of different topics including:

    → Minimum thickness for lenses

    → Markings

    → Spectacles vs. Goggles

    While each of these are important we are going to be focusing on impact resistance for the remainder of this blog post.



    The ANSI Z87.1 Standard has four different qualifying tests.

    Test 1

    The lowest level test is done by dropping a 1-inch steel ball on the lens from about 50 inches. This is like getting hit in the eye with a golf ball being thrown from a few feet away. If a pair of safety glasses pass the first test they meet the Z87.1 Standard, meaning they are good protection, but not great. This test does not qualify the glasses for use where there may be a hazard of an impact.


    For work where there is, or may be, impact hazards your safety glasses must be stamped with a Z87+ marking. The Z87+ marking symbolizes that the glasses are Z87.1 compliant and pass the remaining 3 tests.

    Test 2

    The first test to qualify for the Z87+ qualification is having a 0.25-inch steel ball fired at 6 specific spots on the lens at 150 feet per second. This is like being shot in the eye with a BB gun. Basically, if your glasses have passed this test you won’t shoot your eye out.


    Test 3

    The next test is a high mass impact test. It is performed by taking a 17.6-ounce steel missile – weighing just over 1 pound (500 grams) – and dropping it from 50-inches. This can be compared to getting hit in the eye with the end of a shovel or the head of a hammer.

    Test 4

    The final test is a puncture test. This test is performed by dropping a sharp needle – weighing 1.56 ounces – on the lens from 50 inches. This is like getting hit in the eye with a dart.


    If during all these tests, no part of the eyewear breaks and no fragments come detached from the frame it will earn the Z87+ badge.

    Military Grade


    If you need added protection you can move to the next step up with safety glasses, like the Odin Skullerz from Ergodyne, that also meet military ballistic standards. The MIL-PRF 32432 standard means that the eye protection has also passed the ballistic fragmentation test. To pass this test the eyewear must be able to withstand a .15 caliber round fired at 640 feet per second – that’s roughly 440 miles per hour.

    For more information on eye protection and safety glasses click here to view our free downloadable PDF Eyewear 101 poster. Need help picking out the right safety glasses or just have more questions? Contact one of our Gear Experts® to learn more.

    Click here to see our full selection of Eye Protection

    ANSI Z87 Standard for Eye Protection: The Video


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