Professional Wireless Systems (PWS), a Masque Sound Company, professionals at supplying and supporting wireless systems for live, broadcast events and installations, provided frequency coordination for all wireless microphones, intercoms, in-ear monitors, IFB systems, and player mics for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. This marks the seventh year PWS provided RF support for the NBA All-Star Game weekend. In addition to the game itself, PWS also handled frequency coordination for the NBA’s Jam Session at the George R. Brown Convention Center, as well as all other official events, including the Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout.
With an event like the NBA All-Star Game, production staff must carefully coordinate all wireless technologies to ensure their frequencies do not interfere with one another. To this end, PWS began strategizing its frequency coordination for the NBA All-Star Game weeks before the actual game. “The NBA is extremely proactive in regards to RF communications and we work closely with them leading up to the All-Star weekend so we are well-prepared going in,” says Brooks Schroeder of PWS. “Once we actually got on site, we were able to move users around the spectrum as needed to ensure things operated smoothly without interruption.”
The PWS team was responsible for managing close to 500 frequencies at the Toyota Center in Houston, a large television market with a heavily saturated spectrum. Facing this reduced amount of spectrum space, PWS took extra care to stay on top of all users to ensure they were working within the guidelines.
For the All-Star Game, the NBA provided an in-house 2.4GHZ Wi-Fi system. PWS was tasked with coordinating and managing the system — tracking down uncoordinated and rogue devices to help maintain good signal and data flow. Once located and identified, the individuals or clients who were out of compliance were asked to shut down or move to an acceptable Wi-Fi channel.
In addition to frequency coordination, PWS collaborated with Quantum Q5X to manage the player microphones for the All-Star Game. Quantum Q5X provided its QT-5000 microphone system, which users can control remotely and wirelessly. Sewn into the jerseys of eight of the players, the rechargeable, flexible and customized QT-5000 transmitters allowed game broadcasters to build packages that could be rolled into the game, and provided audio for NBA Films productions to use for archival purposes and any future shows. The rubberized, flexible, water-and-sweat-resistant QT-5000 body pack will not injure the player even if he falls on it or takes a direct hit. John Garrido from PWS and Quantum Q5X’s Mark Donkers managed the system together.
The antenna system utilized for the player mics was the PWS Domed Helical. The antenna combines the highly successful circular polarization configuration pioneered by the original PWS Helical, but with the unit sealed within a unique new compact “domed” design. This provides robust, uncompromised multichannel wireless microphone, in-ear and intercom wireless connectivity. Constructed from rugged polycarbonate, PWS’s Domed Helical is designed to hold up to considerable road-related abuse.
“The NBA All-Star Game and associated events are always challenging for us, but our team has extensive experience in coordinating large events and does a fantastic job,” adds Jim Van Winkle, general manager of PWS. “We look forward to working on this event each year.”