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AVS overcomes crowded Los Angeles spectrum for live marathon coverage

This year’s coverage of the Los Angeles Marathon May 25 required Aerial Video Systems (AVS) to make strategic selections of microwave frequencies used for live coverage due to an overall lack of options in a market that’s frequency challenged.

This year, race organizers changed the date from the usual Sunday morning in March to Memorial Day. Although a holiday, the local news operations were in full swing with their regularly scheduled Monday morning programming. This situation prevented the broadcasters from sharing their 2GHz frequencies with AVS.

To provide wireless camera feeds for KNBC4’s live broadcast of the marathon, AVS selected strategic frequencies in the 1.4GHz, 2GHz, 2.5GHz and 7GHz bands to deliver live shots from custom-designed motorcycle sidecars to helicopter-based repeaters and back to the receive site in the Hollywood hills from which they were returned to Mira Mobile’s M-6 53ft digital expando truck via fiber.

For the production of the 24th annual LA Marathon, AVS used Vislink’s HD/SD L1500 wireless camera system and the MRC PTX-Pro microwave systems. “The RF coverage was outstanding,” said Phil Olsman, executive producer of the marathon for NBC.

2009 marked the sixth annual “LA Marathon Challenge,” which provides the elite women with about a 20-minute head start over the elite men. The time differential sets up a dramatic race to the finish line between the elite men and women, with the winner picking up a bonus of $100,000 in prize money.

To capture the progress and excitement of the Challenge, AVS developed a GPS-driven marathon course map plotting the exact locations of the lead female and male runners and their relative positions to each other. This allowed viewers to experience the drama of the Challenge and the fight to the finish line.