Technology meets F1 radio and TV broadcast demands
Microlease has supplied highly optimised instrumentation to network service provider Rai Way for a high profile project. In cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Communication, Rai Way is responsible for managing the overall broadcasting operations at many of Italy’s most popular sporting events (such as the Giro d’Italia).
It has to ensure that the quality of radio and TV transmissions remains at the highest levels. In order to do this its staff must maximise the effectiveness of the infrastructure present. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the most important sites where Rai Way has to undertake such duties - as a result it called on the assistance of Microlease.
Through a combination of the test proficiency, application knowledge, extensive portfolio of equipment and flexible sourcing options offered by Microlease, Rai Way was able to implement a sophisticated broadcast test system at Monza for this summer’s Italian Grand Prix. There are a multitude of different international broadcasters present at the annual event and these rely on Rai Way to accommodate all of them accordingly. During race time more than 180 radio microphones will normally be in operation, with a total of 220 different data streams needing to be supported. This requires the monitoring/management of 60 different RF frequencies (from 1MHz through to 13GHz).
As part of an ongoing service, four multi-faceted test/analysis units were situated at key points of activity around the Monza complex - namely the pit lane, the paddock, the broadcast studio and the track. These units were pivotal in supporting live media coverage of the Grand Prix, enabling simultaneous monitoring of all the radio microphones and radio camera streams, as well as allowing real-time measurements to be taken to a high degree of accuracy.
The installed units each comprised the following items of equipment from Microlease:
- Two portable spectrum analyser (delivering a 20GHz sweep) with a built-in spectrum monitoring features and a multi-channel scanner.
- Two combo handheld RF/microwave analysers, capable of carrying out detailed real time spectrum and vector network analysis tasks.
- Advanced fibre optic technology was also implemented. This was employed to precisely locate interference points and thereby mitigate their effect on broadcast performance.
The respective spectrum and RF/microwave analysers of each remote unit were all connected to a LAN. They could then be monitored directly from the control quality room situated inside the broadcaster area, close to the Monza pit line. Thanks to the real-time spectrum analysis functionality offered by the FieldFox devices, it was possible to capture/record signals right down to 1µs durations when needed.
“Microlease has been a long-term technology partner for Rai Way and the company’s involvement in this particular project has been invaluable,” stated Dino Tedesco, Quality Control Manager at Rai Way Grandi Eventi. “The next objective for us now is to put fixed spectrum monitoring infrastructure in place over the Monza site ready for future events. Through this it will be possible to cover more monitoring points, allowing us to add greater resolution.”
“Working with Rai Way at Monza has been a great opportunity for Microlease to highlight the full scope of our capabilities,” added Angelo Cereser, Microlease’s Area Sales Manager for North East Italy. “It shows how we can offer customers a wide choice of test hardware and a variety of different sourcing models to best suit their specific engineering and financial requirements. In addition, it is a good example of how we can contribute to the projects we are involved in through providing strong application-led technical advice.”