Clear-Com FreeSpeak II for US Presidential Conventions

ATK Versacom, the communications/intercom rental, sales, and installation division of production services company ATK, is deploying Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak II wireless intercom for coordinating the video productions at the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where both parties will be nominating their respective 2016 US Presidential candidates.

The Democratic National Convention takes place in Philadelphia, PA July 25-28 while the Republican National Convention is scheduled for July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Being able to deploy the FreeSpeak II in the 1.9 GHz band means that we can avoid all the Wi-Fi clutter that occurs in the 2.4 GHz band; especially at major events like the national conventions where so many people will be on their smartphones, and there will be much more than the normal amount of press in attendance using Wi-Fi services on phones and laptops,” said Jim Fay, general manager at ATK Versacom.

“Add the fact that FreeSpeak II works either as a standalone unit, or connected to an Eclipse-HX digital matrix to vastly increase the number of available users served, plus the fact that you can expand FreeSpeak II’s coverage area simply by adding more distributed antennas to the network’s edge – all these factors make FreeSpeak II a natural choice for such a challenging intercom environment.”

ATK Versacom was first drawn to FreeSpeak II due to issues with the UHF band. “The FCC has been selling off sections of this spectrum, leaving less for our UHF intercoms to work with,” Fay added. “The connection issues were becoming enough of a concern that we knew we had to try something different. FreeSpeak II, with its dual band capabilities, easily-expanded coverage areas, and the highly-configurable, lightweight beltpacks, were a compelling option.”

FreeSpeak II’s capabilities were originally tested at a national Microsoft Conference. Impressed by the performance, the company purchased several FreeSpeak II systems – both for the company’s own projects and for its dry-hire rental clients.

Fay expects to deploy 20 x 1.9 GHz FreeSpeak II beltpacks at the Republican National Convention. “Since the Democratic Convention is projected to need 30 wireless beltpacks, we will add 2.4 GHz units in addition to the 25 x 1.9 GHz beltpacks,” he explained. “Either way, we know that we can count on our FreeSpeak II systems to keep the video production people reliably connected, at all times.”

ATK Versacom’s complete Clear-Com inventory includes 100 x FreeSpeak II Beltpacks, two FreeSpeak II Base Stations, three Eclipse HX-Delta digital matrix systems, one Eclipse HX-Median digital matrix system, and eight V-Series panels.