Live From the Ryder Cup: Broadcast RF Meets Unique Frequency Challenges

28 wireless camera systems are deployed by eight clients

Broadcast RF is on hand at the Ryder Cup with its largest sports-related presence ever, courtesy of 28 wireless camera systems deployed by eight clients. It’s also in the midst of a challenging frequency environment, thanks to a nearby airport, military base, and research labs that also rely on RF.

Broadcast RF’s James Halliday (left) and Mark Houghton onsite at the Ryder Cup

“There is a hotbed of things that are RF-related, so frequencies are a challenge,” says Mark Houghton, managing director, Broadcast RF. “We have worked closely with EuroMedia to help us plan the frequencies.”

The tight spectrum squeeze has resulted in Broadcast RF’s moving six cameras into the 3.5 GHz spectrum. James Halliday, technical project manager, Broadcast RF, says that, even though frequencies were changing up to the time the Broadcast RF team began driving its van over from the UK, the team of nine has managed just fine.

Its clients are ETP, NBC Sports, Sky Sports and Sky News, Canal+, European Tour News Services, TNT, and the BBC. ACS also has tapped into Broadcast RF’s expertise for its Wirecam and Boatcam, which are providing unique coverage angles.

Coverage at Le Golf National golf course would seem to be rather straightforward because it doesn’t have a lot of trees and is wide open. But the course is designed to be a stadium course, which means that many of the greens and fairways are in slight valleys. Antennas around the course route signals to receive sites connected to the compound, where a large RF router is in place to deal with the additional camera inputs.

“It’s more challenging than Carnoustie [which hosted The Open in July] and is more like Royal Birkdale,” says Houghton. Handheld cameras are not using poles for RF transmission, but poles are used for the Toptracer and high-speed cameras.

Another challenge was the speed at which the team needed get the RF systems up and running with Sky Sports scheduled to go on-air on Monday. And the Opening Ceremony on Thursday was a standalone event handled by a separate production team.

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