How do you stay in contact with a moving convoy across one of the most remote areas of Northern Scotland? This was the challenge presented to Primetech UK, specialists in remote and resilient communications.

The Challenge

The brief was to provide radio coverage for a convoy of vehicles travelling on an off-road journey from the East coast to the West coast of Scotland. The logistics of travelling cross-country presented several key challenges.

The route crossed mountainous, unforgiving terrain, with only 4 points where the convoy would meet with the support crew. In addition, the crew had to contend with a continuously moving convoy, creating unpredictable radio coverage.

The convoy needed reliable communications between vehicles, which at times could be dispersed by up to 2 kilometres. What’s more, part of the route traversed the Cambian forest, a world heritage site. Therefore, the team couldn't utilise masts to gain height and additional coverage.

Due to the terrain and potential weather conditions in the Highlands, the radios would need to be capable of operation in extremes of weather and temperature.

The Solution

The client chose Hytera PD685 VHF radios to provide reliable communications between the convoy vehicles. In addition to the portables, a solution was required to provide the extra range needed to access the support crew.

Primetech proposed fitting a RD985 repeater to one of the vehicles attached to two 3dB whip antennas. This provided a continuously moving coverage zone, extending reach across the convoy, whilst offering the additional range required to reach the support team.

Results

The Hytera solution presented by Primetech produced great results.

As the system was configured in DMR mode, the team were able to use radio-to-radio calling and the “all call” facility. This enabled the drivers to communicate easily with the off-road expert at the front of the pack, receiving advanced warning of the hazards that they would encounter and essential advice.

“The client was extremely happy with the solution. As with all things technical it tends to go unnoticed when it works. The journey was extremely arduous so having the safety cover provided by the Hytera equipment gave the drivers confidence to take the vehicles to the limit."
Simon Land – Senior Design Engineer - Primetech UK

The Hytera radios were more than capable of operating in the challenging weather and temperature conditions, whilst the battery life easily lasted each full day of the journey. The route was and still is a secret, carried out with exclusive permission from the landowners. The use of AES encryption allowed free communications without the risk of being scanned and the route being divulged accidentally.

"I would not have provided any other manufacturers radio system for this challenge. The quality and capability combined with the simplicity of operation of the Hytera Radios gave me the confidence to set the system up and leave it with the client knowing that there would not be a problem”.
Simon Land – Senior Design Engineer - Primetech UK
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7 September 2017

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