Shure Joins Coordinated RF Effort at Cowboys Stadium

The largest domed stadium in the world, Cowboys Stadium in Dallas is outfitted with a communications infrastructure deploying wireless systems supporting everything from the simple exchange of information behind the scenes to entertainment for the 80,000 fans in the stands. Playing a central role within a complex and rigidly controlled RF blueprint, 16 channels of Shure UHF-R wireless span the stadium all the way from the field through the club levels and up to the main systems control room.

Joining the single- and dual-channel UHF-R systems dedicated to the task, Shure PSM 700 systems provide four channels of personal monitoring capabilities to the main bowl system.

Kevin Day, a senior consultant working from the Dallas offices of systems consulting firm WJHW, provided a comprehensive audio spec to meet the needs of the stadium. Implementation was managed by Pro Media/UltraSound, a Hercules, CA-based firm responsible for modernization of the bowl system at Candlestick Park in San Francisco; installation of sound systems at Dallas’s American Airlines Arena; and sonic overhauls of the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, and Kyle Field on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.

“Any pro-sports arena is an extremely hostile environment when it comes to wireless RF spectrum,” notes Demetrius Palavos, senior sales and design engineer for Pro Media/UltraSound. “What made this project exceptionally demanding was its proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which is a maximum of about 8 miles away. A lot of the airport’s communication towers are even closer.”

To meet the challenge, WJHW chose Shure UHF-R wireless based on the technology’s track record of reliability and performance. On the club levels, single-channel UR124S/Beta 87A combo systems leave a handheld UR2 receiver and UR1 bodypack transmitter at the disposal of users. At hand for use with the bodypacks, Shure’s cardioid  WL185 lavalier microphones also see duty on each of the club levels.

Elsewhere in the stadium where wireless needs are greater (such as in the control-room system used to capture on-field entertainment and the singing of the national anthem), dual-channel UR124D/Beta 87A combo systems broaden the aural palette using the same UR2-UR1-WL 185 approach. Built with robust wireless circuitry, PSM 700 in-ear monitoring is used exclusively in the on-field entertainment system.

An active UA845-SWB antenna combiner splits a pair of UA870 paddle antennas for use across the channels in the on-field system. “The distance is a good 250 ft. from the 50-yard line up to control-booth–mounted receivers,” Palavos says.

“The electronics in the frontend of these systems does a great job of rejecting any off-band interference that may try to step on us,” he adds. “Some systems in use here may transmit extremely hot or not be engineered that well. In the latter cases, a system may indicate that it’s tuned to a specific frequency but, in reality, may be off-center to that frequency. The Shure gear holds its own in the face of this kind of competition.”

Pro Media/UltraSound tuned the Shure wireless systems with the aid of Shure’s Wireless Workbench software for operation stadium-wide on the H4 bandwidths (518-578 MHz).

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