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Clear-Com system powers UAE National day celebrations

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Nothing was stopping The P.A. People from supporting the 50th UAE National Day celebrations in Dubai in 2021 – not extended Covid lockdowns in its home city of Sydney and especially not any unforeseen communications challenges.

With travel approvals securely in hand, after the company secured an exemption from the Australian government, the live-sound and production company dispatched a full crew to prepare and deliver the event’s communications systems. The system, specified by Scott Willsallen from AV design consultancy Auditoria, totalled 12 tonnes of equipment. It comprised a large two-way radio system integrated with an extensive matrix intercom and full duplex system CCTV cameras, displays and associated systems.

The duplex intercom system included Clear-Com Eclipse HX Matrix frames and V-Series panels, a HelixNet digital partyline and a large FreeSpeak II digital wireless system.

The P.A. People was part of a major international team tasked with delivering a spectacular show. The event was staged on the tourist attraction Hatta Dam, a picturesque setting that provided a natural event venue and required equally impressive comms capabilities.

The main wired intercom system comprised an Eclipse HX Omega frame fitted with four E-IPA cards each loaded with 64 channels, a MADI card, a Dante card and numerous I.V. Core and analogue cards to fill out the frame. The team also carried a back-up Eclipse Median frame with additional cards.

The production teams were predominantly provided with Clear-Com lever Key Stations, as well as Clear-Com CC-300 and CC-400 headsets. Key Stations were augmented with HelixNet partyline beltpacks in management positions under the stage. The initial specification also called for about 50 full-duplex beltpacks, although the number changed during the course of the project.

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Chris Dodds, managing director of The P.A. People, says: “During the project build phase, we were asked to increase the scale of the full duplex component beyond what have previously been the upper limit on beltpack numbers. We worked closely with the Clear-Com engineering teams, which were able to reveal that the previous hard limit had been overcome but that the solution also needed further testing. We were able to emulate the scale of the required system in our workshop in Sydney with excellent results and decided that it was ready to deploy.”

Project manager Dom Jones adds: “The FreeSpeak II system performed brilliantly on site. We were able to accommodate 120 wireless beltpacks across 40 IP transceivers deployed over an extremely large site without any reported dropouts or issues.”

Currently, Clear-Com’s Eclipse system can support up to 200 FreeSpeak II beltpacks, while offering the industry’s only wireless solution covering the 1.9, 2,4 and 5 GHz bands.

The Clear-Com system was augmented and integrated with 26 interfaced, two-way radio channels with Motorola digital handsets. The system comprised a mixture of analogue and digital trunked channels for different applications. Malestrom The P.A. People’s cloud-based, asset management software kept track of the ‘user assigned’ equipment employed during the project, as well as the daily sign-ins and sign-outs.

The intercom network was supported by a significant 10GB ethernet IP network over a fibre backbone, designed by The P.A. People to manage the AES67 requirements of the FreeSpeak II system and Dante audio. This same network was also used to  distribute timecode to the IP timecode displays, along with 28 CCTV cameras and 40 CCTV displays, 24 of which were 43″ and 4K capable.

Course wavelength division multiplexing technology was used extensively to minimise the number of fibre cores required and to create a virtual star topology for the network. The P.A. People also created a dedicated network backbone for the considerable ‘water’ component of the show, consisting of programmable fountains across the stages.

“The system configuration we deployed for this event was a game-changer,” says Dodds. “We are now able to deploy FreeSpeak II systems of significant scale ranging into the hundreds of beltpacks, confirming Clear-Com as the vendor of choice for fully integrated matrix, partyline and full duplex wireless systems.”

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