Cobham, the RF specialist company, has announced that broadcast transmitters and receiver/decoder technology will be deployed to support television coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, the world's premier round-the-world offshore race, which begins in Alicante, Spain on 4 October.
In just over nine months of racing, seven boats and their respective crew will circumnavigate the globe in the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65, covering 38,739 nautical miles while stopping over in 11 ports including a pit-stop in The Hague, finishing with an in-port race in Gothenburg, Sweden on 27 June, 2015.
Endurance and technical skill are synonymous with the Volvo Ocean Race and the technology deployed to support it must be equally resilient. Each of the Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats, plus chase craft and helicopters will be equipped with Cobham’s Solo H.264 transmitters to provide live HD video to a media compound established at each Volvo Ocean Race port of call.
In the media compound a combination of Cobham receive systems and IP Mesh networks will receive the transmissions from the on-board systems and remote cameras deployed around the village and be sent to a production centre where it will be edited and distributed across all platforms to the public. Visitors in each Race Village and on VIP boats will get live, close up views of the action as it happens offshore.
The IP Mesh Systems will also be used throughout the site for private IP (Ethernet) connectivity.
Cobham’s IP Mesh System employs COFDM modulation, utilising narrowband video compression technology to transmit high quality video over the mesh network. Up to 16 nodes can be combined on a single frequency into the network, which is part of Cobham's fluid, self-forming, self-healing mesh system. Offering genuine non-line of sight coverage, the system is truly mobile and therefore supplies the network with extended range that can reliably deliver in environments far beyond the scope of other radio solutions.
Unlike other wireless options, Cobham’s IP Mesh constantly readjusts itself, which means that the nodes can be moved to greater extend the range of coverage. Also if the signal is lost on one node, the others will automatically readjust to re-establish the connection without loss of signal.
At the receiving end, Cobham’s PRORX receive systems are the only true eight-way diversity receivers on the market designed to work with the H.264 transmitters. Designed specifically for demanding applications, the PRORX ensures that video is recovered free from fading and multipath interference.
Cobham Business Development Director-Video, Andrew Tilbury said, “The Volvo Ocean Race is renowned for being an extremely challenging test for race crews, support staff and the boats. Although our standard build quality is already more than up to the task, we nevertheless undertook rigorous in-house testing for splash-proofing and ambient temperature range suitability, coupled with additional testing in recent ocean race environments, which confirmed that our Mesh and other transmission/receive technologies are fully ready for land, sea or air.”
Photo Credit: Rick Tomlinson/Team SCA