Volunteers, government cooperation make frequency coordination easier in NYC

For the frequency coordinators at the Republican National Convention, lessons learned at the Democratic convention made their work in New York City far easier than in Boston.

According to FCC-appointed frequency coordinator Louis Libin, small adjustments reaped big dividends.

The biggest change in New York was a significantly larger presence of coordinator assistants at the entryways to the floor of Madison Square Garden. Those assistants formed a first tier of defense against unauthorized use of transmission equipment from the convention floor.

Prior to the convention’s opening, the Republican National Committee recruited volunteers –mostly with some media- or computer-related experience, but untrained in RF - to stand watch at all entryways. After two training sessions, the volunteers were ready to spot unauthorized wireless mics and cameras, and were instructed to inform Libin’s second tier technical team of news crews with suspicious equipment. A quick check of Libin’s frequency database would determine if such news crews were authorized to use their equipment on the floor.

This two-tier approach allowed Libin’s technical team to concentrate its efforts on identifying sources of interference and resolving frequency conflicts on the floor. In fact, it worked so well that Libin and others on his frequency coordination committee had time to meet with the occasional dignitary who visited his coordination booth – something that was impossible in Boston.

The other significant improvement over the Boston experience was better coordination with government frequency users. According to Libin, in Boston the FCC acted as an intermediary with government security agencies to resolve conflicts that arose, a rather unwieldy process that could have been streamlined with pre-convention coordination.

In New York, Libin had full access to and cooperation from the Secret Service and other government agencies prior to the opening of the Republican convention, which allowed potential problems to be resolved before they occurred.

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