In 2022, the International Tour of Hellas cycling race in Greece was held for the first time after a 10-year absence. The Tour was revived thanks to the efforts of Cycling Greece with support from the Greek Ministry of Sports. The purpose of the event was to reintroduce the sport of cycling among the local communities whose cities hosted the five stages.
The five-day race was held between 27 April and 1 May 2022. The route of the first stage was between Heraklion and Chania on the island of Crete (190.1 km), followed by four stages on the mainland: Athens to Itea (165 km); Delphi to Karditsa (172.5 km); Karditsa to Larisa (76.5 km); and Kalampaka to Ioannina (154.5 km). All five stages are classified as hilly.
Cycling Greece needed a radio communication solution capable of providing reliable coverage at the start and end of each stage and along the length of each route. The solution therefore had to be easily transportable between stages and fully mobile to keep up with the cycling peloton and accompanying vehicles of the race teams, medical services and event officials.
The radio solution also had to cope with the mountainous terrain and the twisting roads, which could cause coverage blind spots. However, as the race had not been held for 10 years, Cycling Greece had little or no experience in procuring and operating a mobile radio communications solution. They turned to local Hytera distributor Cobra Center Ltd. for advice.
Cobra Center has built up a great deal of experience in providing temporary communications solutions for events, so its team was able to guide Cycling Greece. This required many days of hard work, as the Cobra engineers worked with the organisers to identify their communications needs and to work out the best possible solution in terms of design, coverage, capacity and budget.
The chosen solution was a Hytera Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) system comprising four easily transportable MD785 mobile radios and 45 DMR BD505 handheld radios in vehicles or in key spots along the route and 22 on motorcycles. This mobile solution provided full coverage along the route of every race stage.
The Hytera DMR solution provided by Cobra Center proved its versatility and ability to cope with the demands of the constantly changing geographic locations and the need for continual mobile coverage along the route to keep up with the cyclists and race support vehicles.
The reliable coverage meant Cycling Greece was able to run the Tour smoothly and efficiently. The mobile DMR network allowed race staff at the start and finish stages to be kept constantly informed of the race’s progress and provided the means to coordinate a quick response to any accidents or other incidents during the race.
The MD785 mobile radios and BD505 handheld devices provided robust and powerful communications with loud, clear audio quality, which was particularly important for users on noisy motorbikes. The BD505 is a compact digital radio, which is simple and easy to use, something that was very important for the users in the vehicles and on motorbikes.
The long battery life of up to 16 hours for the BD505 meant that the devices could be relied on to last the length of the race without the need to be recharged or batteries changed. The BD505 is designed and tested to meet Military Standards 810 C, D, E, F and G, so it was able to cope with the rigours of the road.
Overall, the Hytera DMR solution achieved high quality audio and full-coverage at all of the five race stages. Cycling Greece was so impressed by the performance of the Hytera DMR communication equipment that it will again rely on Cobra Center Ltd to provide its communication solution for the 2023 event.