The IRONMAN 70.3 Triathlon Series is a series of sporting events held internationally where competitors have to complete three races each involving a different discipline: swimming, cycling and running. The IRONMAN Vouliagmeni 70.3 event in Greece took place between 20 and 23 October 2022.
The event was held around the seaside town of Vouliagmeni, located some 20 km from the centre of Athens. The joint partners and co-organisers of the triathlon were EYZHN Greece and Vari Voula Vouliagmeni (VVV) Municipality. The athletes have to cover a total of 70.5 km: swimming in the sea near Vouliagmeni; a biking challenge over a hilly coastal course; and a running course towards the spectacular Lake Vouliagmeni.
The event organisers had to ensure that they implemented a reliable and robust communications system to enable the event to run safely and efficiently. The challenge here was the extensive nature of the race courses and the difficult topography created by the hilly terrain. The RF coverage design had to cope with this to ensure there were no signal blind spots.
In addition, four different talk groups had to be able to communicate with each other at the same time. Finally, the repeaters had to be able to change location to provide reliable coverage for each of the different races being held in different locations. The coverage solution, therefore, had to be flexible and mobile.
At previous events, the organisers relied on an analogue solution, but this suffered from patchy coverage and poor audio in places, so they were keen to modernise their communications network by upgrading to a modern digital two-way radio system
The chosen communications solution was a Hytera Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) system supplied by Hytera local distributor Cobra Center Ltd. Cobra has built up considerable expertise in providing temporary two-way radio systems for events like the IRONMAN Triathlon.
The system design comprised four Hytera HR1065 UHF DMR repeaters with XPT (Extended Pseudo Trunking) licences located in two different sites. The Hytera XPT solution provided the organisers with a way to gain additional capacity from their limited spectrum frequencies.
The equipment was mounted inside vehicles to provide the required mobility. Four Hytera HM785 UHF DMR mobile radios and one communication centre were also provided, along with 180 PD485 and PD405 DMR handheld radios.
The siting of the repeaters and the ability to easily reposition the vehicle-mounted mobile radios meant that reliable signal coverage was available just where it was needed along the entire length of the cycle and running routes and by the coast for the swimming section of the course. This enabled the event to be run smoothly and allowed the organisers to react quickly to any issue or safety incident by coordinating and managing a fast and efficient response.
The HR1065 repeaters, HM785 mobile radios, PD485 and PD405 handheld radios greatly improved the audio quality. This was due to the enhanced receiver sensitivity of the HR1065 repeaters and the Hytera AI noise cancellation technology built into the mobile and handheld radios.
The PD485 supports instant messaging messaging to individuals or groups and one-touch call or messaging thanks to its full keypad and display screen. The long battery life of up to 16 hours meant that users do not have to recharge the radios or swap out the battery during the day.
The PD405 is a robust radio with a similarly long battery life. Both radios are equipped with an emergency alarm, which sends a top priority alert to the controller identifying the ID of the person issuing the alarm.
The Hytera DMR Solution offered a lot of advantages compared with the performance of the previous analogue solution, such as high quality audio and full-coverage. That's why the event will take place again in 2023 with the support of Hytera communication equipment provided through Cobra Center Ltd.