Products

  1. IP (Ingress Protection Code) Explained

    Kenwood Radios

    IP (Ingress Protection Code) Explained

    When it comes to shopping for electronic devices there is no shortage of information being thrown at you from all directions. One that you hear of often is the ingress protection rating or IP rating for short. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down IP ratings and provide some additional information about them so next time you’re buying electronics you know that it is more than just letters and numbers.

    Ingress Protection


     

    Let’s start with the basics. Ingress, by definition, is the action or fact of going in or entering. The ingress protection rating classifies the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. Essentially, when you hear that a piece of electronic equipment is water-resistant or waterproof the IP rating provides the actual value to which the device is protected.

    The Breakdown


     

    So now that we know what exactly the IP rating is, let’s talk a little bit about how it works. For our example, we are going to use the Kenwood NX-P500 2-Watt Dual-Mode Two-Way Radio which boasts an impressive IP 54, IP 55, and IP 67 rating. IP ratings are given to a wide variety of electronic devices – like your cell phone, flashlights, power tools, and two-way radios. IP ratings are especially important when it comes to electronic devices that may be used in high voltage situations. In fact, there are often standards that electrical instruments must meet in order to be used for certain types of work.

    IP Value


     

    In its most simple form, IP values function as you would expect. The higher the value the more protected the internal components of the device are. We’ve established that the IP stands for ingress protection, but what about the number value? The first digit rates the device for ingress by foreign objects and dust. This number is going to tell you what kinds of solids could potentially enter the enclosure. This digit is rated on a scale from 0 to 6 with 0 meaning no protection from any solid object and 6 meaning complete protection from the smallest solids like microscopic dust particles.

    The second digit defines the electrical instrument's resistance to ingress by liquids. This digit is rated on a scale from 0 to 8 with 0 meaning no resistance to liquids whatsoever and 8 meaning the enclosure has complete protection. For both digits, the values between define various tests and procedures done to evaluate the protection level of the device.

    IP Clarifications


     

    One criticism of the ingress protection code is that a device could potentially pass a high level of testing while failing lower level tests because of differences in testing procedures. So, let’s take another look at the NX-P500 and break down the 3 different ratings of this device (IP 54, 55, and 67). Let’s start with IP 67. That is about as much protection as you can get. An IP rating of 67 means that the device is completely sealed off from solids like dust (represented by the 6). It also means that the device can withstand total immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes (represented by the 7).

    So, if the radio meets IP 67, why does it also list IP 54 and 55? Well, those two ratings differ from 67 because of the testing process. They use high and low-pressure water jets to test its protection. This simulates real-world applications like falling in moving water and other unforeseen circumstances that weren’t used when testing for the IP 67 rating. It’s always a good idea when looking at devices that you look for multiple levels of rating to ensure that you are getting the device that is most capable to stand up to the job at hand.

    **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.

    Ingress Protection Code Explained: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® is available via your podcast listening platform of choice and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up for alerts, head on over to gearexperts.com.

    Get Social


     

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  2. Kask Helmets: Zenith vs. Super Plasma HD

    Kask Plasma and Zenith Helmets

    Hazards are everywhere on the job site and protecting your noggin from falling objects, or from getting bumped and bruised while walking and climbing is an intricate part of job site safety. This week our Gear Experts® are going to compare two premium helmets from our friends over at Kask.

    Similarities


    The two helmets we are going to compare are the Kask Zenith Helmet and the Kask Super Plasma HD. Both of these helmets are extremely popular and for good reason. They both set the bar in comfort and protection for at-height workers. We are going to start this comparison with some things the helmets have in common.

     

    Features


    The outer shells are constructed of a high strength ABS plastic that provides excellent protection from falls or impacts. Underneath the outer shell is an HD polystyrene internal shell that increases impact protection. Both of these helmets feature universal adjustable suspension systems that utilize a simple adjustment wheel to attain a precise fit. The comfort doesn’t stop there, though. They also feature a soft eco-leather chin strap that is machine washable and prevents uncomfortable irritation of the skin. Last, but not least, both helmets can be purchased in 6 different color options – allowing you to express yourself while still maintaining excellent protection. Those colors are black, blue, red, white, yellow, and orange.

     

    Differences


    Now it’s time to discuss the differences. Both helmets have a range of features that promote comfortability while maintaining a secure fit. But, depending on the requirements of your job site, and compatibility with accessories, you may find yourself choosing one helmet over the other.

     

    Kask Super Plasma HD

    This helmet is perfect for tower climbers and rope access professionals because of its 10-vent air intake system. This system provides enhanced breathability and each intake features anti-intrusion grills to prevent dust and debris from entering the helmet. The headband is made of a fast-drying fabric that pulls moisture away from your skin and disperses it to the outside of the band for quicker evaporation. In fact, the super plasma HD is so comfortable, that the general construction industry is adopting it as a more comfortable and safer alternative to traditional hard hats – this is in large part to the chin strap that prevents the helmet from falling off.

    This helmet is compatible with all of Kask’s visors, earmuffs, and accessories. Keep in mind that some visors and other accessories may require an adapter to properly and safely attach the equipment to the helmet. The Kask Super Plasma HD is a Type 1 Class C helmet which means it meets all of the necessary ANSI and CSA standards for head protection. We covered ANSI helmet classes in more detail in our Safety Helmets 101 blog post. You can also find a free downloadable Safety Helmets 101 poster by visiting our Knowledge Base.

    Kask Zenith Helmet

    If you compare the Kask Zenith side by side to the Kask Super Plasma HD, you’ll immediately notice one big difference – the Zenith is lacking any vents. That helps this helmet achieve it’s Type 1 Class E rating meaning that it is electric shock protected. This helmet is also compatible with Kask Ear Muffs but, it is only compatible with Kask’s Zen line of accessories. Kask does have a wide variety of Zen accessories, though, so you finding the accessories you need shouldn’t be a problem.

    The biggest difference between these two helmets is the type and class rating. Not only is that the biggest difference, but it is also the most important difference.

    Click here to see the Kask Zenith Helmet

    Click here to see the Kask Super Plasma HD Helmet

    Click here to see the Zen line of visors and accessories

    Click here to see our full lineup of Kask accessories

    Click here to check out our Safety 101 blog post

    Click here to download your free copy of our Safety 101 poster

    **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.

    Zenith vs. Super Plasma HD: The Video


     

     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

     

    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

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    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

     

  3. Product Spotlight: Arbor Ropes from Sterling Rope

    Sterling Rope Tree Care

     

    Working in the tree care industry, like most at-height industries, requires a set of special equipment to keep you safe and get the job done right. One key piece of equipment rope. The week our Gear Experts® are going to break down some Sterling ropes specifically designed for our arborist friends in the tree care industry.

    Atlas Rig Line

    When you’re removing large trunk sections of a tree you need to know that your rigging system can handle and absorb large dynamic forces. Sterling has been designing ropes to handle large kinetic forces for over 20 years and they designed their Atlas Rig Line specifically for this purpose.

    Features

    The Atlas Rig Line is ideal for removing tree trunk sections, is available in blue and white, and comes in 150, 200, or 600-foot lengths. It is a 9/16” rope with a polyester sheath and nylon core. And, it offers a soft hand, easy knotability, and is designed to be used in a rope friction device, capstan hoist, or pulley.

    Specifications

    The specifications of this rope just go to prove that it means business. With a minimum breaking strength of 11,050 pounds and an average breaking strength of 13,750 pounds – this rope can handle nearly any job. And, it meets ANSI Z133.1 requirements.

    Scion Climbing Line

    Next, we are going to cover the Scion Climbing Line from Sterling. This rope was developed with climbing in mind. It has a very durable construction and has been designed to absorb large dynamic forces.

    Features

    The Scion Climbing Line is ideal for both Doubled Rope Technique (DdRT) and Single Rope Technique (SRT). It is an 11.5 mm rope with a 24-strand polyester cover. The double braided construction provides decreased elongation, easy hand, and great knotability. The tight, durable sheath allows the rope to handle mechanical devices and hardware well and sewn termination ends are available in all length and color options.

    Specifications

    Speaking of length and color options - this rope is available in orange, blue, and green. And, it comes in 150, 200, and 600-foot lengths. For standards, it meets both EN 1891 type A and ANSI Z133 requirements so you know this rope is up to the challenge.

    Click here to see the Sterling Rope Atlas Rig Line

    Click here to see the Sterling Rope Scion Climbing Line

    Click here to see our full selection of Sterling Rope Products

    Click here to see our full selection of tree care products

    **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.

    Sterling Rope Arbor Ropes: The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  4. Product Spotlight: TowerPlex Tower Paint

    Painting a tower isn’t like painting most other things. In fact, there is a lot of science (and regulation) that goes into developing a paint that is tough enough to handle the job while meeting federal requirements. We’ve covered the basics of tower paint in this previous blog post. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down TowerPlex Tower Paint.

    TowerPlex Formula


    TowerPlex Tower Paint is formulated to offer durable, long-lasting protection for galvanized towers and other metal surfaces. Our entire TowerPlex line is a pure 100% acrylic emulsion coating that has been thoroughly tested on galvanized and other metal surfaces. Additionally, it meets all federal standards for aviation safe colors. We talked about why you can’t just use any orange or white paint and meet aviation regulations in our Tower Paint 101 blog post which you can find by clicking here.

    How the Paint Works


    The reason why TowerPlex paint is so good for use on towers is because of the alkalinity of the paint itself. The alkaline in the paint allows it to etch itself into the zinc of the galvanized surface. This process allows the paint to form a chemical bond with the tower which subsequently allows the paint to dry quickly and maintain excellent weather resistance.

    Surface Prep


    Before you just grab some paintbrushes or a paint sprayer and start the job, it’s important to properly prep the surface for painting. Every section you are painting must be dry and clean. Make sure that you wipe off any dirt, grime, oil, and anything else that shouldn’t be on the surface. If possible, any spangle needs to be brush blasted or etched with hydrochloric acid until a weathered gray appearance is achieved.

    Primer, Application, and Coverage


    If you are painting an existing tower, be sure to spot prime any rust. If you plan on using TowerPlex paint, the best primer to use is the TowerPlex CC2925 Rust Inhibitive Bonding Primer.

    The paint can be applied from 50 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (10 – 43 degrees Celsius). But, be sure to avoid painting if an overnight freeze is expected or if rain is in the forecast as this can prevent the paint from drying correctly. If the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure that you apply a full wet coat and overlap 50% on each pass to help avoid dusting. Applying the paint can be done with a brush, mitt, or a sprayer. For the best results, TowerPlex recommends two coats over an entire prime base.

    If you think you might need to paint, but you’re not sure if you do or not, you can use the FAA In-Service Orange Color Range Chart to help you decide. Click here for a tutorial on how the FAA Service Chart works.

    Cold Galv Work


    If you need to do any cold galv work before you start painting, we’ve got you covered there, too. Click here to check out our blog post on cold galvanizing compound.

    Click here to see our full selection of TowerPlex products

    Click here to see our full selection of painting gear

    Click here to see our Tower Paint 101 blog post

    Click here to see our full selection of Cold Galv

    **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.

    TowerPlex: The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  5. Safety Training 101

    Safety LMS Online Training | Safety Training 101 | GME Supply

     

    It’s no secret that at-height work is dangerous and at GME Supply we pride ourselves in helping keep the dedicated men and women in at-height, industry, and construction safe and productive on the job. When talking about safety, a lot of people focus on the equipment. But the equipment is only half of the safety equation. After all, if you don’t know how to properly use the safety equipment you have it might not keep you safe. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down some key things to keep in mind when selecting training courses for your crew.

     

    Quality


    The quality of the courses you choose will directly affect your training experience, what information and/or techniques you learn, and your ability to continue to practice once the training is over. Here is a list of things to find out about the training company before you invest your hard-earned money in their courses.

    1. Where did the company’s curriculum come from? You want to make sure that their curriculum covers not only the things you need to legally know but also best practices and tip/tricks for self-training and continued education.
    2. How old is the company’s curriculum? Safety training companies aren’t always known for having up-to-date materials. But there are a few companies out there, like our friends at Safety LMS,  who have committed to updating curriculum a minimum of once a year. Safety LMS knows that things can change faster than most people think and that staying up-to-date is the best way to keep crews safe.
    3. Who is teaching the classes? Having an instructor who simply stands in front of you and reads right out of the book doesn’t exactly make for an enjoyable class. Beyond that, someone with no on-the-job experience in the class they are teaching can create a disconnect with students. Finding a training company where the instructors have experience in the industry and who can do more than reading from a book can not only make the class more exciting, but it can give additional insight into the industry and make Q&A sessions easier.

     

    Cost


    Cost is something that no one is immune to. Whether you are the biggest company in the country or a one crew team just trying to get off of the ground, spending money can often times be stressful. Cutting corners in training might save you some money in the short term, but improperly trained staff can lead to severe financial repercussions in the future. Finding a quality course for your employees not only keeps them safe but keeps the business safe too. If an accident happens due to lack of training not only do you lose out on the money from the time it takes to investigate the accident, but you have the potential to lose future jobs, get tied up in lawsuits, and go out of business completely.

     

    Credentials


    The credentials of not only the training company, but the instructors too, is an important part of the training process. Some questions to ask when vetting potential training companies include:

    • Who is responsible for creating the curriculum?
    • Who are the instructors?
    • What credentials do the instructors have?
    • What experience do they have?

    It’s also always good to check with your colleagues and peer groups to see if any of them have attended a training session and what their experience was. Proper training saves lives and ensuring that the instructor is qualified can make all the difference.

    If you’ve got questions about training sessions, or anything training related, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of online and in-person training courses.

    **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.

     

    Safety LMS Online Courses: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

     

    Get Social


    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

     

    We’re Also on Snapchat


    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  6. Product Spotlight: Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard

    Petzl Grillon

    Positioning yourself where you need to be will make the job a little bit easier when working at height. Beyond that, having the ability to adjust your positioning on the fly – while still maintaining 100% tie-off increases productivity while still maintaining safety standards. Adjustable positioning can be done with the use of specialty equipment and this week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard.

    The Petzl GRILLON PLUS


     

    The GRILLON PLUS is similar to the traditional GRILLON. One of the major differences that you might notice is that the PLUS doesn’t have an abrasion sleeve. That’s because, instead of having a standard kernmantle rope construction, it’s made out of heavy-duty aramid fiber kernmantle rope. Aramid fiber rope provides superior resistance to abrasion when compared to nearly any rope which removes the need for the abrasion sleeve.

    Features


     

    Rope

    Not only is the rope stronger, thanks to the aramid fiber construction, but it also features sewn terminations at both ends. The ends are then covered in a plastic sheath to help keep the connector in position while simultaneously protecting the ends of the rope from abrasion.

    Adjustability

    The adjustability of the GRILLON PLUS is all thanks to the aluminum device that comes attached to the rope. This device is well known for its smoothness when allowing a rope to pass through it.

    Versatility


     

    The GRILLON PLUS is a versatile piece of equipment. It comes in two different lengths – 2 and 3-meter versions. And, if the rope ever needs to be replaced due to damage or any other reason, you can easily swap it out with a GRILLON PLUS Replacement Lanyard. Lastly, it can also be used in two different configurations (or, as we call them, modes). Those modes are double and single mode.

    Single Mode

    Single Mode is used when an anchor is directly above you. This mode will comfortably distribute the load between the belt and the leg loops. Your position can be adjusted by operating the handle while holding the free end of the lanyard.

    Double Mode

    When using the device in double mode, the lanyard is fed through the anchor or structure and the end is secured to one of your hip D-rings while the device is attached to your other D-ring. The double mode technique does a better job at distributing the load to the belt while allowing you to pivot and swing to achieve your desired position.

    Certifications


     

    This lanyard is fancy – no doubt about it. Between the top-of-the-line features and versatility, it’s a device that can come in handy for anyone who needs the ability to position while working at-height. But, perhaps the most important feature is the standards this device meets. It meets ANSI Z359.3, CSA Z259.11, CE EN 385, and CE EN 12841 Type C.

    If you’ve got any questions about the Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard, or anything else related to at-height, industry, and construction, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see the Petzl GRILLON PLUS

    Click here to see our full selection of Petzl 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.

    Petzl GRILLON PLUS Adjustable Positioning Lanyard: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  7. Confined Space 101

    It’s no secret that working at-height, industry, and construction is dangerous. But confined spaces bring a whole slew of additional dangers. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down confined space and talk about some of the important things to keep in mind/remember when working in confined space.

    What is a Confined Space


     

    A confined space is an area that has an opening large enough for a worker to access and enter to perform work. The area has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. Because of the restricted means of entry and exit confined spaces are considered one of the most dangerous job sites. Some examples of confined spaces include underground vaults, sewers, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, and silos.

    Confined Space Work


     

    It is important to know if your job site, plant, or shop requires confined space entry. If it does, you will need to ensure that you are following the appropriate safety precautions. Safety precautions include equipment that has been designed specifically for confined space applications (like a confined space kit). It’s also important to understand and be prepared for hazards that are common to confined space work.

    Hazards common to confined space work include unsafe air, toxic contaminants, electrical hazards, mechanical hazards like augers, and leading-edge fall hazards. While these are some of the common hazards, each confined space is unique and may feature some, all, or additional hazards that we haven’t listed in this post. Confined spaces should, under no circumstances, be entered unless you are trained and authorized and proper safety precautions have been taken.

    Safety First


     

    When it comes to confined space, the safety first mindset is extremely important. Untrained and unauthorized employees should never enter a confined space and a competent person should determine if the confined space is safe for entry before employees enter. Stay alert of changing conditions, know how to contact emergency services, and always have an emergency rescue plan in place.

    A safety first focus for confined space doesn’t have to be limited to inside the space itself. It’s also important to make sure to lockout and tag any mechanical equipment that could activate or energize while the confined space is occupied. You should also have the appropriate barriers and signs outside of the confined space to alert and prevent other people from entering or falling into the confined space.

    Equipment


     

    As we mentioned above, confined spaces vary in size, shape, location, and environment. That means that there isn’t a standard or typical application, so your confined space safety equipment must be flexible as well. Consistent anchorage is rarely found from one job to the next. Some confined spaces like a manhole on a street will require vertical equipment, but others like a tank would have a side-entry or horizontal requirement.

    Choosing the right confined space entry and rescue equipment can be difficult. Temporary jobs require lightweight and easy-to-use portable confined space systems. For areas that are accessed frequently a davit system with a permanently mounted base would be more ideal.

    Lifeline type and length are other variables to consider. In some situations, a back-up system may be required. Typical mechanical devices include man-rated winches and 3-way retracting lifelines with both fall protection and emergency rescue functions.

    If you’ve got questions about confined space solutions, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    **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.

    Click here to see our selection of confined space solutions

    Gas Detection 101: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® is available via your podcast listening platform of choice and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up for alerts, head on over to gearexperts.com.

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  8. RF 101

    When it comes to working in the telecom industry, it’s no secret that there are a wide variety of different dangers. Most dangers can be seen – whether it has to do with falling, having things fall on you, etc. But not all dangers are visible with the human eye – or even any human sense. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the hidden danger of RF.

    More Than Meets the Eye


     

    RF, or radio frequency, is any electromagnetic wave frequency. In the telecom industry, this is the energy that is emitted from radios or telecommunications equipment. Electromagnetic wave frequencies can’t always be seen or heard, but they are absorbed by your body and, if overexposed, can cause serious harm.

    The Dangers of RF


     

    So, now that we know what RF is and that just because we can’t see, hear, or otherwise sense, it doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Let’s cover some of the effects of RF exposure. The primary effect is heating – think of it like a microwave oven which uses electromagnetic waves to heat food from the inside out. Keep in mind, that while a microwave does use electromagnetic waves to cook food, it is a very large amount of power being concentrated into a tiny steel box. Most telecom related RF situations will not be nearly as drastic as a microwave oven. However, the basic concept is the same. When the electromagnetic waves are absorbed by your body they heat it up from the inside out and you begin to experience RF sickness.

    Symptoms of RF Sickness


     

    RF Sickness won’t be noticed by most people right away. In fact, some people may never even realize they have it, which can cause added risk. The reason people don’t always know they have RF sickness is because the primary symptom is heat. It can be difficult to determine whether you may have RF sickness, or you simply haven’t been drinking enough water and might be dehydrated. With that being said, the symptoms of RF Sickness are most commonly compared to having a fever – making it even more difficult to detect.

    Effects of RF Sickness


     

    RF heats your body from the inside out. That means that as you are exposed to it, it is raising your core temperature. It’s not the same as standing next to a heater where you would feel the heat on your skin rather the heat would begin radiating outward from your core.

    As your core begins to heat and your body begins to lose the ability to prevent your temperature from rising you can start to experience heat stress. The symptoms of heat stress include rash, cramps, dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, heavy sweating, weakness, seizures, and unconsciousness. We’ve covered heat stress in its entirety on a previous blog post which you can find by clicking here. 

    While all symptoms of heat stress are serious and should be treated immediately, we want to focus on confusion for just a second. Confusion also referred to as irrational behavior, can lead to costly mistakes and potentially fatal accidents. In fact, it is difficult to know if some tower fatalities were caused because of human error, or if confusion caused by RF sickness was to blame.

    RF Exposure


     

    The actual full breakdown of how the human body reacts to RF exposure can get pretty technical and is beyond the scope of a blog post. But, boiled down to its most basic explanation, our bodies are more receptive to lower frequencies. And, because of the way our bodies react to RF frequencies the way that safe exposure limits are expressed is more of a bell curve rather than a straight line. Beyond that, RF exposure tracking uses a 6-minute averaging rule.

    6-Minute Averaging Rule


     

    What the 6-Minute Averaging Rule means is that over the course of 6 minutes your average exposure level cannot exceed that of 100% of the FCC limits. Essentially, what this means is that you could have a brief period where you are at 150% of the FCC limits, but then for the next few minutes you are only at 25%. This is acceptable because the average exposure level over the course of 6 minutes is below 100%.

    FCC RF Limits


     

    As we mentioned above, the FCC has outlined limits for RF exposure that are calculated using the 6-minute averaging rule (0.1-hour periods). The FCC RF limits are applied to “normal environmental conditions and for incident electromagnetic energy of frequencies from 10 MHz to 100 GHz, the radiation protection guide is 10 mW/cm.(2) (milliwatt per square centimeter) as averaged over any possible 0.1-hour period.” Below is a breakdown of what this means.

    • Power density: 10 mW/cm2 for periods of 6 minutes or more
    • Energy density: 1 mW.-hr/cm2 (milliwatt hour per square centimeter during any 6-minute period.

    It is important to note that this guide applies whether the exposure is continuous or intermittent within the 6-minute averaging period.

    Limiting RF Exposure


     

    When it comes to limiting RF exposure there are two main components. The first component is proper training while the second component is a safety monitor.

    Proper Training

    Just like everything in the tower industry, training is an important part of ensuring safety. We have partnered with industry-leading training companies like Safety LMS to offer an online Fundamentals of RF/EME Radiation course. This course was designed to help ensure that employees can recognize the hazards of RF that exist on tower sites – whether that is a tower or a rooftop.

    RF Monitors

    An RF monitor complements training. After all, being trained to understand and handle a hazard is great, but when you cannot detect the hazard with your senses, it’s kind of hard to make sure you’re not exceeding safe exposure limits. One reason why an RF monitor is so important is that it is a shaped probe/shaped response device. What that means is that it has the ability to account for all RF frequencies in the surrounding area (like a rooftop with multiple different types of antennas) and calculate the amount of exposure from each. It then combines those numbers and bounces that against the safe working limits.

    With personal RF monitors like the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor you can rest assured that you will be able to accurately detect RF. We covered the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor in a previous blog post which you can read by clicking here.

    We recently featured Max Birch, the lead engineer for FieldSENSE, as our guest on our podcast: Gear Up with Gear Experts. Max dropped some knowledge bombs about RF and helped break down some of the complicated parts of RF awareness and safety. You can find that podcast episode by clicking here. 

    If you have any questions about RF safety or RF Monitors, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our blog post about the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor

    Click here to view the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor

    Click here to listen to our RF Safety podcast episode

    **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.

    FieldSENSE: Guide to Recalibration


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  9. Cadweld Demonstration


    Creating quality and reliable cable ground is an important part of the construction process. Using welding kits, like the Cadweld Plus Electronic Exothermic Welding Deluxe Kit can help ensure a proper, high-quality weld and keep you and your crew safe and productive on the job. This week our Gear Experts®  are going to break down how to use the Parallel Splice Mold and K-Cups from the Cadweld Plus Electronic Exothermic Welding Deluxe Kit to ground cable. For more information on the regular & plus kits, click here to check out a previous blog post.

    Cadweld Connections


     

    A Cadweld connection has a carrying capacity equal to or greater than that of the conductor and will withstand repeated fault currents without failing during operation. Cadweld connections also consistently exceeded IEEE® 837 2014 EMF test requirements and have been certified by an independent lab.

    Prep


     

    Prep is equally as important because it can prevent accidents from happening. To prep for the weld, be sure to thoroughly clean the mold and copper wires using an approved Cadweld Mold Cleaning BrushAdditional cleaning of the copper wire with a wire brush may be required to remove any grit or corrosion. Next, preheat the wire and the mold using a heat torch. This will get rid of any excess moisture that could negatively affect the weld quality. 

    Setup


     

    Once you have completed the preparation steps, it’s time to put everything in place to activate the weld. 

    Step 1: Start by placing both wires parallel in the mold and use the mold handle to clamp it shut. You should feel a click when the clamp is completely closed. 

    Step 2: Next, take some Cadwld Mold Sealer and fill the bottom opening of the mold so the weld material doesn’t escape when the chemical reaction starts. 

    Step 3: It’s important to remember that you want to make sure your mold is level so the welding material flows into the correct channels once it has been ignited. 

    Step 4: Then, place the K cup of welding material in the top of the mold with the ignition tab exposed. 

    Step 5: Attach the electronic igniter to that tab and close the top of the mold.

    Step 6: Step away from the mold and hold the operator button on the ignitor control unit until the ready light turns off. At this point, the reaction will occur.

    Step 7: After the reaction, allow 30 seconds for the mold to cool before removing it from the wires. 

    Now you have a permanent splice between the two copper wires. Below is a demonstration video where we go through these exact steps to create a weld. You can also check out that video by clicking here or going to our YouTube channel.

    Click hereGot questions about welding with Cadweld gear? to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of Cadweld equipment

    **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.

    Cadweld Demonstration: The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts | A podcast for at-height workers, industry, and construction.If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

     

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

  10. 3Z RF Vision Antenna Aligner: Small Cell Mounting

    3Z Small Cell Mounting

    With the 5G rollout in full swing accurate antenna alignment is going to be more important than ever. This week, our Gear Experts® are going to cover the importance of accurately aligning 5G small cell antennas to maximize high-band mmW frequencies and Massive MIMO beamforming antenna performance.

    5G Challenges


     

    5G is a massive leap in cellular technology that will bring near gigabit mobile speeds. It will open up new opportunities for a range of industries from consumer to public health and beyond. But, as with any leap in technology, there are roadblocks that have to be overcome. 5G brings some new challenges that aren’t as prevalent with typical LTE antennas on a tower or monopole.

    Coverage vs Speed


     

    In dense city landscapes, the deployment of 5G will be carried on the backs of small cell antennas that are mounted on buildings, light posts, or any structure that can be used to support an antenna and position it in the direction it needs to be. The reason for this is because of coverage distance.

    Small cell antennas have an extremely powerful signal strength – and they need to in order to transmit 5G. But, as a trade-off for power, the distance they can cover is severely diminished. That means these antennas will need to be positioned closer to the ground.

    Line of Sight


     

    Carriers are using 5G New Radio modeling software to develop their network and rollout plans. But, this software isn’t perfect when it comes to identifying nearfield RF obstacles that could render the antenna useless. That’s where the RF Vision Antenna Aligner from 3Z comes into play. It features a line-of-sight target camera that can help installers both identify and record potential antenna obstructions when performing on-site surveys. Once you’ve achieved a comprehensive antenna alignment with a line-of-sight survey a report is automatically generated of the site for sharing with the carrier.

    Small Cell


     

    The RF Vision is a versatile aligner and fits most antenna types. It features GNSS dual frequency technology to deliver accurate alignment readings – even in high-density urban areas. But, with that being said, aligning small cell antennas still isn’t a walk in the park. Small cell antennas are typically housed in a cylindrical canister which conceals up to 3 directional antennas.

    Alignment can be easier with the use of the small cell reference plate for the strap clamp that comes with the RF Vision. In fact, the small cell reference plate is so simple to use that you simply attach it and line up the tool with the correct antenna. Let’s go ahead and break that down, too.

    Small Cell Reference Installation and Use


     

    The first step when using the small cell reference plate is to install the rubber bumpers to protect the small cell housing. Next, you want to mount the reference plate on the bottom of the strap clamp pointing in the same direction as the rubber bumpers. Please note that you will need to flip the mounting plate for the alignment tool so that it is pointing in the opposite direction of the bumpers and reference plate.

    Once the tool, mounting clamp, and reference plate are securely attached, locate the reference arrow on the bottom of the small cell antenna. That arrow tells you which direction each antenna is facing within the canister. Line the reference plate up with the desired antenna and strap the mounting bracket down tightly so it can’t be moved. Now, you're properly lined up with the antenna and you can proceed with aligning the antenna.

    If you’ve got more questions about the 3Z RF Vision Antenna Alignment Tool or small cell antenna alignment, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    We’ve covered many of the features, accessories, and financing programs offered by 3Z in past blog posts which you can find by clicking here.

    **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.

    3Z RF Vision Antenna Aligner: Small Cell Mounting – The Video


    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

     

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

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