FM Radio for WYD08
Thursday, 16 July 2009 11:41   

World Youth Day 2008, which took place earlier this year, is the largest youth event in the world, with the week-long series of events culminating in a Final Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

The organisers of the event decided early on that they would need to provide translation services for each of the seven main venues in eight languages. Given the huge numbers of pilgrims that were to attend, the decision was made to implement a broadcast FM based solution.

Easier said than done. Sydney’s geography, coupled with an extremely difficult RF environment dictated that a low power multi-site solution would need to be employed for the majority of the languages.

The P.A. People deployed thirty four FM transmitters across five transmit sites. A 1kW service in North Sydney was the main English language service covering the entire CBD and surrounding areas, while four low power sites each with eight 5w or 25w transmitters were provided around the city venues and at Randwick.

Each of these low power sites were provided with comprehensive transmitter filtering to ensure the effective operation of the systems without interference. While filtering for systems such as these is not inexpensive and is often overlooked, the risks associated with cutting corners is just not acceptable to us, said The P.A. People’s Managing Director Chris Dodds. “Years ago we chose to filter all the transmitters we use in multi channel communication systems. It costs a lot, and our competitors don’t do it, but it is the only way to ensure that the systems will operate without fault and interference, especially when the heat is on during an event. There is no time to sort out an inter-modulation clash in the middle of a production of any kind !”

The P.A. People also provided a comprehensive system to overlay individual pre-recorded messages over each of the FM transmission channels to facilitate messaging outside of the actual event times.

Another aspect of The PA People’s WYD activities was the provision of television monitors for the huge contingent of national and international media at the two main venues. Over 280 TV’s were deployed over the two sites along with a multichannel MATV style distribution system. “It seems that we got all the fun job’s” Dodds said. The P.A. People are Systems Integration and Event Communications specialists having provided communications systems for the Ceremonies at two summer Olympic Games, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and the Asian Games in Doha.