Tuesday, 6 September 2011

First Impression of Constant Carrier Digital Radio Talkback

The Barbican Centre have been investigating different solutions to replace their BTR wireless Beltpack system in the main hall.  Today we tested a Kenwoood Nexedge Digital Base station with some dual mode Digital/Analogue capable radios.  The base had the required Tx enable button and audio in and audio out on a trial version interface panel.    The radio system was interfaced to the backstage RTS 2 wire intercom using an RTS 2 wire to 4 wire interface.
The Nexedge radio system was operating in 6.25khz bandwidth offering a possible saving in licence cost as opposed to the normal 12.5kHz OFCOM/JFMG licence.  There was some work to do on the interface to improve the audio levels and litlle of noise however overall it was better than Bruce expected and it was nice to not have that background noise present on Production Radio Talkback. There is a delay, albeit very small, and the infinite echo of an open radio through an open mic in production sounded like a not longer clean feed coming back to some poor presenter's IFB earpiece from a remote studio, studio, studio ,studio, studio (I guess you get the drift)!

This was the first Digital radio talkback system Showcomms and Bruce had tested as runner for a possible replacement to the present analogue UHF base stations.  The clear improvement in range running 5W through some little mag mounts was the biggest surprise. Certainly the in-house production team were impressed by the lack of black spots. If you have been to the Barbican you will know it is a concrete steel jungle and good rf coverage from backstage to FOH foyet and upper levels can be a struggle.

In short the Benefits appear to be:
  • reduced bandwidth and possibly therefore lower licence fees. I need to ask JFMG in this respect to booking a licence.
  • increased range especially in 6.25kHz
  • Private audio, the audio cant be scanned by other users     
  • Base station and handset transceivers can be used in Analogue or Digital mode
A little work is required on our interface box  to the Kenwood Nexedge 810 and certainly it wont be long before Bruce can bring anyone who wishes a demo unit to try out!


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