Roadtrip 2; Maryland…

Yesterday went rather well, even if I didn't manage to get out of the house till 2 pm and Dan kept calling to find out where I was, what I was doing, how long it was going to take, which car I was in, when I was coming in to work, if I was coming into work today, where random object “A” was, who I last talked to at Mary Washington about a teaching position, how the car was running, where Kevin was, and about fifty other things I can't remember… In other words, it was a nice day and a typical Dan-ing.

See, if Dan had his way all of his salaried employees would work 8 am to 8 pm Monday though Saturday and only have to put in an hour or two on Sundays as long as they put in a few hours at home every night… After all, that's what Dan does. The problem here is Dan makes roughly a million a year take home and we make far, far less.

So, though it irks him, I try to get two days off a week and try to only work 9 to 7-8, depending on what emergencies Dan creates around 6 pm when the hourly folks go home.

But more about Dan in some other post… He's a nice guy, just hell to work with.

Warning: Hardcore nerd stuff ahead…

Anyways the trip went well. I once again brought Zeze along for the ride and we headed over to southern Maryland by way of highway 301 and the Nice bridge… It's really the Nice bridge; named after some guy with the last name Nice.

From the top of the bridge you can see our first site of the day, Faulkner. Faulkner is HUGE and can be used as an example of what the underground stations look like size-wise.

As with a several of the sites we went to yesterday, Faulkner appears to still be in use by AT&T though it has a few cell phone sets on the tower, there is no indication that the site is owned by anyone other than AT&T. Also, in the deeps of Maryland there hasn't been much in the way of population growth, so chances are everyone's calls still go though the switch at Faulkner.

There was a lot of recent fiber running all over the place and a newer fiber “hut” at the base of the tower which also leads one to believe that it's an active facility.

Once I had taken lots of photos from around the site we discovered that the front door was unlocked, so I simply strolled in. It's just an entry foyer, but even that was fascinating from a “cold war” view because there are simply just two doors inside… Both massive metal doors that look like they'd be found on a bomb shelter, one goes into the main building, the other says “Shower Room” which is the radiation shower entrance.

From Faulkner we trekked north on 301 to Waldorf.

Waldorf is another active AT&T site complete with employee cars, cameras, and lots of “go away” signs.

The neatest thing about Waldorf was the Ground Entry Point (GEP) antennas on the top of the tower. GEP might still be hush-hush, so if you're curious, look it up on Google.

The next site was Pomonkey… I just love east coast town names. 🙂

This was your typical route-relay site. Nothing of much interest here besides the facilities work that American Tower has done to the side to provide for up to six cell companies… This includes new fiber service to the building and new power equipment.

Of course it's obvious we're in the back woods by the presence of a sign type I'd never seen before; a “do not climb” sign… Apparently ten foot chain link, barbed wire, and hazardous RF level signs don't mean much here.

From Pomonkey (chuckle) we back tracked a bit to Westwood.

Westwood looks like a building style found where two separate microwave routes merged. AT&T seemed to have this design system where when two routes met, each had it's own building 'welded' onto the building for the other. Essentially you'd end up with the equivalent of two sites in one, sharing a common tower.

This facility has also had the power and communications upgrade from American Tower.

Next up was a site in the really deep, backwoods, nowhere of Maryland; Prince Frederick.

Prince Frederick (PF) is so far away from what constitutes for humanity in southern Maryland that it looks like it's been untouched from the “day of silence” when the network was turned down. I took quite a few photos of this site simply due to the fact that this is what they used to really look like.

Of all the sites I've seen here on the east coast, this is the first that I've found that has been vandalized; all of the silver bearing wave guide from the base of the tower has been cut away and removed. All of the copper wave guide tube is still there, but the silver radius bends aren't, which means someone knowledgeable has been here.

The tower also had lines hanging down with petcocks on them to drain condensation out of the verticals… Another feature you don't see in Colorado.

From here is was getting late so we decided to head for home. Here is where Zeze learned an important thing; trust the Bill and his amazing direction/distance senses.

Zeze used to live in southern Maryland and figured there was a better way to get home than what I figured… We ended up about ten miles from Baltimore. 😉

See, between Rai's eyes, Aryntha's jedi phozone abilities, and my mutant direction sense, we're pretty much unstoppable in tower finding.

Anyways on the way back south down 301 we took a quick side trip to see if we could get close enough to “Brandywine” to get a photo or two with no luck. Brandywine sits in the middle of a rather large government block of land and is labeled on maps as “US Naval Radio Station”. We made it as far as the gates to the area, but the tower is nowhere to be seen from there.

So we got back here to the townhouse at about 10 pm and I spent the next 2.5 hours whipping all of the images into shape and getting the temporary OMFUXS-east web site set up to work by date.

That was my day yesterday. 🙂

And with that I'm off to work…

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