September 27, 2010 – This week Mr. Bushman was teaching us how to install a double cross arm at the top of the pole. I had a great time learning how to install it myself. I really liked how everything came together this week. I wouldn’t have changed anything. This week I found out I was officially enrolled in Accord. Mr. Bushman is very experienced and a great instructor. A month into this class I really enjoy doing this work and finding out all of the people that aren’t going to make the cut. You can’t be afraid of heights and must be ready to do physical tasks. I have been wanting to take the electrical lineman 600 course for a long time. But the schools that offer it closer to home have long waiting lists. Where as this class is first come first serve. I am happy I am here even though it is a 50 mile commute each way. From what I hear about the other schools this one sounds like I am in the best spot for this type of training. One of Mr. Bushman’s former students came into the classroom this week. This previous student is now employed with LADWP and was talking to us about how much this course helped him to get a job with the city. From what we are learning I expect the rest of the semester to be really fun and educational.
October 4, 2010 – This week Mr. Bushman was teaching us how to install a secondary three spool rack. It was a pretty easy task but you must be able to drill perfectly straight holes. Otherwise you are going to have a hard time. I liked being the guy that drills perfectly straight holes. It made the project really easy. It is difficult watching other students struggle with this task. I really feel like I am learning a lot in this class. I feel like I am climbing better each day. It is so inspiring having former students come in that have jobs in the industry. Some from Southern California Edison and some from LADWP. The class is great I expect it to continue to get better.
October 11, 2010 – This week we learned how to install a triplex service drop. First we had to make it up at the pole then at the house. It’s how the lineman gets power to the house. It’s not to hard to perform but it has to be done right with good strong connections, (yea he checks) and nice neat work because the connection should be able to last for thirty years or longer without problems. I did good because I’m a craftsman though it would be harder to do energized which is the way it is done in the field. Mr.Bushman has a lot of patience, this gave a lot of the guys a hard time. I love this kind of work and can’t wait to do more projects and start working in the field.
October 18, 2010 – This week learned how to install a sidewalk guy. Guying is done to help stabilize a pole or tower because of a strain that is put on it in a certain direction like a dead end in a line, or extra weight do to a lot of equipment on it , or a change in direction of the line. The guy pulls the opposite direction of the strain to compensate with the problem. A sidewalk guy is a guy that’s on a pole on a sidewalk, so you can’t just run the guy wire strait to the ground so you use what is called a Queens pole to direct the line out and over the sidewalk then strait to the ground. It was a fun project to do and there is a lot to learn. In the lineman’s and Cable man’s Handbook there is a hole section on guying. I think this is going to be another valuable lesson for when I get to work. Can’t wait!
October 25, 2010 – I learned how to install pole steps this week, that’s those pegs you see sticking out on each side of the pole. They are for the lineman to climb the pole. I hear it’s an apprentice job so it’s good to know. Bushman taught us to set the steps on each side using our left hand for the steps to the left of you and the rite hand for the steps on the rite of you because there will be times you won’t be able to circle the pole to swing the hammer with your stronger hand. It was great fun and it works your for arms hard swinging the three pound single jack. This is a project everyone should be able to do. I try do finish the projects as soon as they are assigned, I don’t like to sit around then fall behind. I don’t know what it is with some of the other students maybe they are scared to climb or just lazy but that’s OK it just makes me look better. Was a good week.
November 1, 2010 – this week we were installing a new pole and one of the competencies is for one of the students to act as a Foreman when installing the pole and to set the pole we used an electric capstan which is also a competency which i got to perform by asking the foreman for the job. The capstan is like a winch but it is used for rope instead of cable you need to be paying attention and alert when using it because you will be holding the weight of the pole. So you can’t let it slip and you need to stop as soon as anybody says so. It was fun to operate and install.
November 8, 2010 – this week my son was born I’m so excited. So I missed Monday but I was back immediately because the class is based on six hundred hours so you can’t miss any days. Mr. Bushman taught us how to install a distribution transformer. This was not easy. The hardest part was getting the a frame gin on top of the double cross arm from there you have to get your rigging right or there will be accidents, good thing this is one thing I have experience with. Then you have someone operate the capstan to bring the transformer to you. You need a good ground team to make this work. I love this kind of stuff and feel like I’m pretty good at this kind of work I can’t wait to see some of the other students try to do this me and my climbing partner are always the first ones to complete any of the projects so we always wind up helping the others its OK I like to help others when they need it. I can’t believe I’m a dad.
November 15, 2010 – School is going great I’ve been working hard and getting a lot done. This week I topped a pole by hand meaning I cut eighteen inches off the top of a pole with a hand saw. That took me no time at all and there was a guy already doing it when I started then somebody said we should race. Wouldn’t you know it I smoked him hard. Mr. Bushman was also teaching us how to install a pole top extension. It was kind of an intimidating job but not to hard. Again drilling super strait holes was crucial and a lot of people have a really hard time with it but I’m a natural I guess. That had to be the funniest job so far. I can’t wait for more challenges, great week.
November 22, 2010 – This week we were learning how to install a alley arm. The task was one of the harder ones. We had to install a ten foot cross arm one end at the pole the other sticks out ten feet. It was really fun and it was another one of those kind of intimidating jobs. It is held up with a brace at a forty five degree angle. Then once you are done you have to install a pin and insulator in the outer most pin hole ten feet out from the pole. This was fun but scared a lot of people out of doing it. It makes a good picture too when you are out there putting in the pin and insulator. Another good week I can’t wait to get to work for real. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
November 29, 2010 – The class is getting closer and closer to the end, to fast. I love climbing every morning. We do five mandatory climbs every morning and once you get to the top you have to wait for everyone to get to the top before you can climb back down. It really points out the week climbers or the guys who don’t practice during class time. You should really be practicing your climbing when you are not working on your projects. This week I got to operate the digger derrick truck while setting a new pole. It was loads of fun and Mr. Bushman said I was really smooth at operating the truck but I had some experience operating hydraulic equipment though I never operated a digger derrick truck before. And before you can operate the truck you must perform the pre-trip inspection which is also a competency. It was really great and I was the first student to perform the task. Can’t wait for next week.
December 6, 2010 – Mr. Bushman wasn’t kidding when he said the closer to the end of the class you get the faster the class goes. I have completed all of the pole yard competencies and now I spend all of my time practicing my climbing and helping the others with their projects. Next is to pass the climbing competencies I feel good about it though I’m not going to claim to be the best climber in the class but definitely in the top five. I love to help others it makes me feel good. Practice is going good as well. Mr.Bushman is a good instructor and is good at pointing out what you are doing wrong. It was a good week, next week is graduation.
December 13, 2010 – YES! I passed my climbing competencies and got my certificate! You don’t know how good it feels! ACCORD had a graduation for us as well. I wish it wasn’t over I’m going to miss the class and climbing every morning and all the good people too. I really hope to get a job soon I don’t really care where as long as it leads to being a lineman my life’s goal since I was a little boy. I’m told it’s not a good time to find a job in this line of work but it will happen I just need to be patient. Good luck to all those that come after me and work hard or you will never make it. Now I’m going to Local #47 and Local #18 then home to my computer to start applying for jobs. THANKS ACCORD for all the help and supplies!