Field Pictures


This is a collection of images from telco field operations. Click on any of these images to see a larger version of the picture. .

A fundamental tool for either in-plant or field work is the lineman's test set, also known as the butt set.

Lineman butt set

You can put cables overhead and underground. Let's start with some overhead images. Pole climbing has been replaced with bucket truck access in most areas but there's still a fair amount of climbing involved.

Pole climbingPole climbingPole climbingPole climbing belt and tools

Here are some views of overhead wiring. Note the splicing pods and the cable TV amplifiers. There's a good example of why underground wiring is better: the weed trimming can be a big problem in some areas.

Splicing Pole wires Splicing pods Splicing pod and cable TV amplifier Aerial to underground riserSplicing Overgrown overhead

All of the above is modern wiring. Let's take a look at wiring early in the history of telephony. The first view is a typical pole. In this era electrical lines and telephone lines were mixed on the same pole. This practice made service work very dangerous. In today's world the National Electrical Code specifies safe distances for electrical circuits and communications circuits on poles.

The second and third views are looking up Church Street in Burlington Vermont. These were taken in 1910 and 2005 respectively. Note the amount of cable that is now underground. The only wires overhead in 2005 are those for hanging holiday decorations!


Now we go underground. Here are some views of a US West/Qwest fiber optic cable trenching operation. Note the use of hydraulic drilling.

Reel truckUnreeling cableHydraulic drillHydraulic drillBreaking through!Cable reelsWorm's view of cable

Local loops are spliced in both small and large pedestals.

Small telco splicing pedestal Larger telco splicing pedestal Large termination housing

Remote switches are sometimes hard to distinguish from the large pedestals. Unfortunately I don't have an image of an open remote switch. This one is a Litespan 2000. Each of these remote switches has a corresponding terminal and the image on the far right is the terminal in the CO.

Remote switch Litespan 2000 remote switch

A lot of cables are pressurized to keep moisture out. Here's a view in a central office of the air connections to a large copper cable. There are a few more views on the Central Office Images page. .

Pressure fittings

Speaking of pressure here are two stainless steel containers for T-? repeaters. These were photographed in Sanibel, Florida.

Two repeater cansCloseup of repeater can

Loading coils appear in very long local loops. Here's a view of a single loading coil and a loading coil "pot". The pot is mounted vertically on the pole in the center and it contains many loading coils.

Single loading coilLoading coil pot

The old and the new. There's a Bell System manhole cover in the foreground and a fiber optic cable trenching operation in the background.

Bell System manhole cover

This marker for fiber optic cable runs beside the Canadian Pacific tracks in British Columbia. The CP replaced their overhead copper wires with fiber and had a vast improvement in capacity and reliability.

Fiber optic cable marker


Underground cable is invisible until you dig it up! Here are a few views of the Champlain campus during some renovations. Several data and voice communications cables converge at this point and you can see the wires coming out of the conduits before they enter other conduits. The purpose of this excavation was to build a small vault to protect the wiring. You can see the progress on the concrete work.

Cables and excavation workCables and excavation work

One of the problems of underground wiring is "backhoe fade" or "backhoe induce failure (BIF)". These are (somewhat) humorous terms that describe the disruption of service due to digging in the wrong place. It is only "somewhat" humorous because you can imagine the problems that it creates!

An organization like DigSafe will help you to avoid doing this but sometimes it happens anyway. Here are some shots of a rather large "fade" that happened on the Champlain campus. In this case the Burlington Water Department cut through all of the copper cables that connect Champlain to the outside world. We lost all of our voice and data when the backhoe encountered this rather difficult "tree root". Sometimes having cellular is a good thing!


This last image is a cable TV pedestal. On the outside this looks like a telephone splicing pedestal but in this case there's a splitter inside.

CATV pedestal

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