Hytera’s "How To" Guide With Radio Links

Hytera caught up with Radio Links Operations Director, Chris Litchfield to find out the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of implementing Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) systems for hire, at major events.

Running a major sporting or leisure event successfully takes a lot of organisation. Event managers must ensure the ‘talent’ is in the right place at the right time, that the sponsors are kept happy and that all the various departments on site are functioning efficiently. On top of that, they must carefully steward the general public attending the event and keep them safe while they are there.  

Communications are the key to guaranteeing any sporting or leisure event is run well and two-way DMR is by far the most popular solution. 

Detailed brief  

“The first thing we do is sit down with the customer and really work through want they want,’ says Chris. “It is important to get a very good brief from the client at the start.   It is also important to have a full understanding of what is required to ensure no area is overlooked which may cause a problem to the smooth running of the event.”

“We need to have as much information as possible in advance to enable us to design the system properly.” Explains Chris.  

Assessing customers requirements  

Chris usually advises customers to appoint one key person to bring everything together on the client side, similarly Radio Links events department provides one point of contact.  

“If the customer has a requirement for multi-channel use we would recommend a window display radio, so they can see named channels, however, usually a basic non- window 16 channel radio is suitable for most applications.” says Chris.  

Radio Links will undertake a full survey of the site to assess the best place for aerial positions and repeater equipment. Radio tests are also carried out to ensure there are no dead spots or areas of potential interference. “You must not assume communications are going to work efficiently, everything has to be thoroughly checked.” notes Chris.  

“Trees are one of the worst things for affecting radio signals. If you are setting up a mast on a golf course and did the RF survey in Winter, you need to be aware how the increased foliage in Summer during the event may affect the signal, particularly when wet. You have to take these things into account, as it is easy to miss those things, but that is what our experience brings.”  

Choosing the right equipment

Most of the sports and leisure event organisers Radio Links work with are quite happy with an ‘entry-level’ system. One essential feature all clients require is the ability to get important or emergency calls through to individuals, a particular group or everyone in a broadcast call - something two-way radio is ideal at providing, unlike cellular systems.  

Radio Equipment

When it comes to hand portable radios, Radio Links stocks quite a few different models on its hire fleet, although the Hytera PD665 is very popular. “It’s a nice sized radio with a window display and it will support every regular accessory, especially ear pieces with built in PTT microphones,” Chris says.

Radio Links also recommends the Hytera PD605, and the Hytera PD7 series radios which are particularly robust and ideal for events and other areas. The company recently added a large quantity of PD405s to supplement the entry-level radio fleet. “It’s a nice, small handset for simple, instant communications,” notes Chris.  

On-site management

Once the radio system is installed, Radio Links events division supplies engineers who set up a technical workshop on site. “Our experienced engineers are there to not only look after the communications infrastructure but to support our customers for the duration of the event, on call and ready to assist answering queries or making last minute adjustments to equipment, if requested.  This is the level of service our customers expect.”

“Pre-event planning is crucial to our operations, this includes all services on site declaring any frequencies their radios are operating on.  Users, such as TV crews have their own radio equipment and we ensure we are fully aware of all frequencies they are using.  We liaise closely with Ofcom in this regard to ensure we have enough licenses, so communications are not compromised in any way during the event” says Chris.

Radio Links would like to thank Hytera for inviting us to share our comany's 45 years plus knowledge for their ‘How To Guides’. You can read the full discussion with Chris Litchfield and Hytera here.