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OKANG Airmen aid active duty base with antenna installation, repair

An Airman with the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, climbs an antenna tower to make repairs while his fellow 205 EIS Airmen help keep the lightweight rotatable antenna steady, March 5, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. These Airmen were a part of one of the two teams from the 205 EIS guard unit that worked to setup and repair antennas for active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB.

An Airman with the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, climbs an antenna tower to make repairs while his fellow 205 EIS Airmen help keep the lightweight rotatable antenna steady, March 5, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. These Airmen were a part of one of the two teams from the 205 EIS guard unit that worked to setup and repair antennas for active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB.

An Airman with the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, secures a half-inch heliax cable to a roof ledge, March 5, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. This Airman was a part of one of the two teams from the 205 EIS guard unit that worked to setup and repair antennas for active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB.

An Airman with the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, secures a half-inch heliax cable to a roof ledge, March 5, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. This Airman was a part of one of the two teams from the 205 EIS guard unit that worked to setup and repair antennas for active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB.

Senior Airman David Hopper, a cable and antenna technician with the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, moves a UVU-200 dual-band base station antenna to its position near a roof’s ledge, March 6, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. Hopper was a part of one of the two teams from the 205 EIS guard unit that worked to setup and repair antennas for active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB.

Senior Airman David Hopper, a cable and antenna technician with the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, moves a UVU-200 dual-band base station antenna to its position near a roof’s ledge, March 6, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. Hopper was a part of one of the two teams from the 205 EIS guard unit that worked to setup and repair antennas for active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB.

WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- Airmen from the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron here performed preventative maintenance on a communication antenna and also setup a new antenna for active-duty squadrons, March 5-6, 2016, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.

The new and repaired antennas allow the squadrons to communicate across the installation and with the control tower at Tinker AFB.

However, the job is more than just a technical connection.

"It shows that we want to help them in their mission just like they do ours," said Tech. Sgt. Tyler Compton, a team lead for one of the two projects.

The 205 EIS Airmen were split into two teams, one focused on setting up and installing UVU-200 dual-band base station antennas on the roofs of three buildings and the other applied their skill to a preventative maintenance inspection on a lightweight rotatable antenna at the top of a nearly 100-foot tower.

The installation of the UVU-200 required the team to pull cable through the buildings, lay out the cable in the ceilings and push it through multiple stories until there was enough cabling on the roofs. 

"We pull the cable and then we get it from point A to point B," said Compton, the team lead on the project. "Then we put connectors on it and attach the connector to the antennae themselves and the radio."

The work done on the second project, the lightweight rotatable antenna outside the buildings, was a part of a routine preventative maintenance inspection that also included repairs done on issues found during the previous inspection.

"During the last inspection, we found some parts on the antenna that were bad, mainly the spacers for the elements, which are basically the antenna," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Burnett, the team lead on the tower project. "That's actually why one had already fallen off - because the elements were so bad. One had loosened and fallen down. That's why there was one already on the ground when we pulled up."

The repairs required the Airmen to lower the tower to the ground so that all the structural and electrical parts could be inspected and repaired more easily.

Despite the teams focusing on different projects, they both recognized the importance of the hands-on experience during a normally routine drill weekend.

"It's also training for us," said Burnett. "We've got a couple new guys and it's good for them to see. We don't see this tower much either, so it's good training for some of us guys who have been around for a while too."

One of those new Airmen, Airman 1st Class Kasey King, a cable and antenna technician with the 205 EIS who finished his 126-day technical school and two-week Lightning Force Academy in November, was able to experience the benefits of the training.

"It soaks in a lot more being on the job and using my hands than when just reading a book," said King. "You can read about it and kind of have a summary of what to do, but you forget what order the steps go in and stuff like that. It's a lot easier when you're here; you can actually remember it and see it."

The 205 EIS is one of 16 engineering installation squadrons in the nation. Of those, 15 are guard units  and one is an active-duty unit at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.