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Riedel supplies comms system to Commonwealth Games

Riedel Communications has supplied all radio communications equipment and services for the XX Commonwealth Games, which run from 23 July to 3 August in Glasgow.

As Official Radio Communications Partner, the company has provided all radio handsets and radio communication accessories – including around 7,500 radios – used in the lead-up to and during the Games, along with a terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) digital network and a Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radio repeater system.

The system extends not only across Glasgow but also to other cities in Scotland, including Dundee and Edinburgh – a total of 14 venues hosting 17 different sporting events. In addition, it has supported the Queen’s Baton Relay around Scotland, and is being used for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as wide-ranging outdoor events including the marathon and road cycle races.

Hampden Park stadium is playing host to seven days of athletics competitions as well as the closing ceremony of the Games. Within this venue, the Riedel system is being used by the organisation team, security, spectator services, cleaning, catering, sports presentation and medical staff.

Olaf Friedrich, technical manager for Riedel, explained: “We have 20 logical channels at the base station: one channel is always dedicated as the ‘control channel’, so 19 conversations can be held at the same time. All the base stations are connected together over the Games Data Network to a Motorola Dimetra IP Compact master site – a highly redundant server system that controls all the data from and to the base stations.”

Friedrich explained how the radios work in practice: “Each user’s radio is switched to a dedicated channel for their user group. When a user presses the push-to-talk button, this sends out at GSSI ID for the talk group: when other radios in the group detect this ID, they switch to the group’s dedicated channel – so every radio that has this group selected will replay the digitally transmitted audio.”

Planning of the radio system started in October 2013. The installation phase began in February and the hardware was completely installed by 1 May.

Speculating on how a permanently installed radio system at the Hampden Park might differ from the set-up for the Games, Friedrich said: “Due to the stadium architecture we would search for a technical room near the roof and on the south side.

We would put aerials on the roof and could also install leaking feeder cables, rather than plain aerials, to get a complete in-house coverage at the south side. Installing leaking feeder cable installation is more complex, so we almost never do this on temporary installations.

“Additionally the capacity of the system would probably be smaller: seven to eleven voice channels.”

Brian Nourse, chief information officer, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, commented: “We have benefited from Riedel’s extensive experience of being involved in many previous major sporting events to ensure a robust communications solution is delivered for our event.”