No Rest for the Weary: CP Communications Builds Six RF Trucks in Six Months
Says CP Communications SVP Kurt Heitmann, “It’s a little crazy up here.”
Securing the contracts in November, CP has until April to roll out six trucks to support the various golf events across both networks. The company built two new 53-ft. expando fiber transmission trucks: HD21 will support Fox Sports’ golf schedule, including the U.S. Open in June, and HD11 recently made its Golf Channel debut at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
“We call them HD because they’re both fully capable of doing a production,” Heitmann explains. Both trucks can accommodate a small switcher — CP owns a 1M/E, 32-input For-A production switcher — and are outfitted with Grass Valley Kaleido multiviewers, Miranda routers, DiGiCo SD-10 audio consoles, AJA Ki Pro recorders, and camera-control capability that can handle a broadcast production.
“They’re laid out as a production truck,” he continues, “but they’re an RF truck. That’s what’s cool about those [trucks].”
HD21 and HD11 boast a baseline six RF cameras and 14 RF microphones each but can expand to 30 cameras for large shows, such as the U.S. Open (Fox Sports secured a 12-year multimedia-rights agreement with the U.S. Golf Association in 2014). They are built to accommodate the camera complement — usually Sony — of the main production truck onsite and handle QC, shading, paint, transmission, and more for the broadcast.
Each truck comes equipped with 19 mini sites to handle all RF on the course: cameras, microphones, and more. “Everything on the course — all the RF mikes, all the RF effects, all the RF cameras, return video, comms — [is] all laid out in the fiber infrastructure — RF over fiber — and then it’s distributed out of each truck to the clients,” explains Heitmann. “The trucks are really built with shared resources [in mind]. With [productions like] these golf tournaments, we try to share the resources to multiple clients out of one truck and just add if we need to. They’re all built for that.”
CP also refurbished its RFHD5, RFHD6, and RFHD7 53-ft. production trucks, gutting all three and rebuilding them from scratch. In addition to new lighting, wiring, flooring, ceiling, masts, and doors, they have the same RF infrastructure and similar equipment complements to HD21 and HD11, albeit with smaller routers. HDRF5 recently completed the Puerto Rico Open for Golf Channel, while work on HDRF6 and HDRF7 continues in CP’s field shop in Upstate New York.
For the sixth truck, CP overhauled its 40-ft. DSM1 trailer, formerly an audio-training unit. DSM1 accompanied HD11 to the Honda Classic in Florida to handle the PGA Tour Entertainment show.
“[DSM1 was already] acoustically treated, and we just had to add a mast and some racks and kind of tailor it to a small subswitch RF truck,” says Heitmann. “DSM1 can do a digital submix, and it also does the overflow of comms on a TPC or a U.S. Open — those large-scale shows. It’s basically a little B unit that uses the router of the A unit and ties right into it.”
With only a few weeks remaining until the April deadline, Heitmann is confident that his team can pull off the gargantuan feat: “Our engineering staff has been committed. They haven’t see much of their families … [but] the CP group has pulled together [in an] unrealistic timeline to build six trucks in six months.”
CP Communications selects ETL RF equipment to outfit its new fleet of mobile RF production vehicles
ETL Systems, a global designer and manufacturer of RF signal distribution equipment for satellite communications, has been chosen by CP Communications to support its new line of mobile production vehicles.
A range of ETL’s RF equipment including switch matrix / routers and RF combiners and splitters has been used to provide broadcasting capability to CP Communications’ six RF mobile units. ETL Enigma matrices are housed in the production trucks and allow CP Communications to seamlessly switch the RF-over-fibre mini-sites for 18-hole coverage of a live golf tournament.
Living up to its reputation of providing tailor-made solutions, ETL also developed a remote control software solution to meet CP Communications’ unique and highly specific requirements.
“We are delighted to be chosen by CP Communications, as this demonstrates that our RF range is flexible enough to be used in mobile solutions rather than just fixed satellite teleports,” said Susan Saadat, VP of ETL’s North American Office. “CP Communications needed RF distribution equipment with strong RF performance, especially signal isolation, and the Enigma L-band matrix design is the leader in this field.”
In addition to the Enigma series routers in the mobile units, CP Communications built a RF matrix flight pack using two Victor series matrix with RF distribution. This system debuted in Scotland at the Ryder Cup golf tournament.
Kurt G Heitmann, of CP Communications, a global leading provider of video and audio broadcast products and services, said: “CP Communications has the most comprehensive up-to-date digital equipment rental inventory in the industry so it is incredibly important that we choose products that will deliver the best broadcast ability available. ETL not only provides high-quality RF kit but was also able to provide a customised solution to exactly fit our specification.”
About CP Communications
CP Communications has been providing solutions for audio and video communications for over 28 years. Since CP opened in 1985 we have been supplying leading edge technology rentals and custom engineering solutions while providing top quality of service. CP has the most comprehensive up-to-date digital equipment rental inventory in the industry. Our equipment and services include; Aerial video, Custom engineering design/build, Custom fiber optic networks, HD wireless camera systems, HD RF mobile productions, Frequency coordination, Mobile or fixed microwave systems, Wired and Wireless audio, video and communications.
About ETL Systems:
ETL designs and manufactures professional RF distribution equipment for satellite ground stations and other microwave users. The product range includes L-Band Routers, Switches, Splitters, Combiners and Amplifiers covering DC-40GHz. Reliability, Resilience, and RF performance are the core customer requirements which drive ETL’s product innovation and development. Adaptability and scalability combine with these to provide future expansion.