With the everything that happens in day to day life, it can be difficult to take proper care of all the equipment that has been used. While you are hanging your harness, dusting your boots, and throwing your gloves in your locker, the RF meter is often forgotten. This is a vital piece of equipment. 99.9% of the time a tower will be emitting zero to low amounts of radio frequency, but you don’t want your meter failing that one time.
Cleaning- Just like all the other equipment you take with you on a climb, RF meters are exposed to the elements. I’m certainly not suggesting you throw such a precision piece of equipment into a tub of soapy water, but it should be brushed off if it is dropped in the dirt or mud. If dirt gets into one of the connections it may not read properly so disassemble and reassemble if you possess the skills. If you do not possess the required skills then take it to a professional. Never remove any pieces you are unsure of, even if you did rebuild your Nintendo growing up.
Charging- Batteries can go out or even expire after time. Check your RF meters batteries at least once a month. If they leak, it could ruin your whole meter, meaning a new one will need to be bought. If your RF meter is rechargeable, or takes rechargeable batteries, then make sure they are charged to the manufacturer’s specifications. Over charging can be just as damaging to batteries as not giving them any charge.
Storage- Just because a meter gets exposed to the elements, does not mean it should be stored in them. Leaving your RF meter in the sun or outside, is the surest way to ensure that it will wear out before its time. Keeping it on a charger, in your locker, or on a shelf away from anything that may leak are the best options.
Connections- Everything wears out eventually. All of the cords, sensors, etc… should be checked frequently. This becomes especially true if the meter is dropped. All of the thousands of little pieces can shift, often without notice. Do not assume that just because your RF meter turns on that all of the components are working properly.
Expiration Dates- Manufacturers usually put a date on RF meters, either the date that they were manufactured or a day to discard them by. Pay attention to these dates. A meter you have had for ten years might work, but the readings can lose accuracy, which put you and your fellow climbers at risk.
These steps do not take a long time. Just a few moments a piece. If you are properly caring for your meter than these steps take far less time. When it comes to job safety requirements, hindsight should never be an option. It is better to take those extra few seconds to double check your meter then to be sorry at a later date.
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