Byng residents who are AT&T customers will be delighted to know that the 308-foot antenna tower that shot up in the middle of town last summer is, as promised, getting antennas, power, and fiber optic lines so it can go live soon.

I walked Hawken the Irish wolfhound around the patch and over to meet the friendly Dallas-based crew several times this week, and they liked Hawken and took his picture and told me a few interesting things about the equipment they are installing. The antennas, transceivers, feed line and computers are all together at the top of the tower, unlike installations of two-way radio equipment like the fire department repeater or amateur radio repeaters, in which the antenna is on the tower or other high object, connected to the transmitter by cable called feed line.

The reason for this is that newer 5G LTE cellular frequencies are well into the gigahertz frequency range, and feed line is more “lossy” at higher frequencies. It makes more sense to put the transceivers up with the antennas and run electric power up the tower to them.

Speaking of the wolfhound, it is fall in Oklahoma, and if you live in the country, you know about sandburs. The sandburs are particularly bad this year, meaning that all fall long I’ve been pulling them out of Hawken’s nose and ears, a process that causes him to yelp helplessly and causes me to utter impure expletives. The last few times, I have taken to trimming them out of his fur with my beard trimmer, which is easier for both of us.

Lastly, I was attempting to photograph the sunset earlier this week. It was a beautiful, chilly night, and the sky lit up nicely during the “blue hour,” that magic time just after sunset (and before sunrise). My camera and I were getting along fine, technically, but I just couldn’t find the right compositional elements. It was a pretty sky, sure, but without some kind of object to give context, like a silhouette of a tree or person, it lacked narrative. After circling the house twice and making several failed images, I was finally able to coax the scene into something I felt worked to express what I was experiencing.

Eric Swanson can be contacted by email at

Recommended for you