Although the Telex BTR-1 system is used in the NFL and for some Division 1 colleges, other college teams in Division 1, 2 or 3 use unencrypted Telex UHF systems such as the BTR-80N, which uses narrower bands to increase the potential availability of clear channels when the RF environment is crowded. “The BTR-80N is a great system,” says football intercom consultant Andy Cocallas of Game Time Communications, who’s provided coaches’ intercom for dozens of colleges.
“At Wheaton College here in Illinois, for example, they were having a lot of issues with Wi-Fi interference in the area. There are large Wi-Fi towers close by, and wireless scoreboards that caused drop-outs. Normally you can avoid a lot of that by going with the Telex BTR-800 or BTR-700, but the Chicago metropolitan area, where I’ve been working with the Chicago Bears for the last 13 seasons, is a particularly tough RF environment. We brought in the BTR-80N, and it was a lot easier for them to get clear channels without interference.”
In smaller stadiums that don’t have Chicago’s RF challenges, such as most high schools and lower Division colleges, Cocallas finds that a high-quality Wi-Fi system often works fine. “A big part of what I do in those situations involves the Telex Legacy system,” he says. The Legacy series uses 802.11 wireless LAN technology and is encrypted with 64-bit DES. “It’s a good little out-of-the-box, inexpensive, easy-setup system for up to seven wireless coaches. And you can easily add a few extra coaches in the booth with some inexpensive Telex cable splitters to make a great nine-coach high school system,” Cocallas adds.
“It’s a great product that’s durable, reliable. I even have an Illinois Division 8 state finalist high school using the Legacy in Ireland for a 2012 featured football game, as Telex products are also built for international use.”
For larger high schools and small colleges, Cocallas is looking forward to deploying the new RTS BTR-240, also a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi system. “It’s got more filters than Legacy,” he says, “so in a tighter Wi-Fi environment you’ll have clearer communication. And you’ll be able to interface to the same Telex BP-2002 wired beltpacks that we are using in the booth at the pro level.”
Cocallas also cites the design, simplicity and quality of Telex intercoms as reasons why he continues to turn to the Telex line. “The Telex systems stand out for football on many levels, including the antenna design, ClearScan, the operating systems, and the beltpack design,” he says.