During last year’s Tour de Suisse in Switzerland – the fourth largest cycle race in the world – Swiss broadcast service provider tpc Switzerland ag equipped its remote operations with the latest Neutrik opticalCON fiber optic connector technology.
Over the course of nine days, the race wound its way across the whole of Switzerland. It crossed two national borders, climbed mountains nearly 15 miles high and tested the competitors stamina and skills to the absolute limit.
It also tested the resilience and reliability of the broadcast team and their technology. Unlike in the studio environment, where cables are carefully laid, tied, packed and tided away in air conditioned areas, outside broadcast can require exposure to extreme conditions. For the Tour de Suisse, that included a wide range of temperatures, driving rain and snow.
Martin Sturzenegger, the man responsible for the technical specification of tpc’s OB vehicle, said he was impressed by the robustness of the Neutrik optic connector system. “You have to trust the connections,” he said. “Only then you can trust that the technology works.”
Inside tpc Switzerland ag's OB truck.
To provide the greatest technical flexibility during the tour, Sturzenegger came up with a technique of siting a hub at a strategically advantageous point, to assemble the signals transmitted from the various locations and save on cable runs. To ensure the plan would work, he carried out several test runs before deciding to use the opticalCON MTP24 lightweight 24-channel mobile field cable for the single cable run between the broadcasting van and the assembly point.
“For me, that was the most important cable in the production of the Tour de Suisse, because we only had this one cable from the hub to the broadcasting van,” he said.
Seven production vehicles covered the Tour de Suisse. Every day around 2.7 miles of cable was unrolled. Cables were run from all of the broadcasting vans by the shortest route, whatever the terrain, with no regard for the fragility of the technology.
Constant repacking of the equipment meant further stress for these sensitive systems. The broadcasters had to trust that connectors were not damaged in this process, as there was no time for repairs.
The opticalCON MTP24 worked perfectly throughout the Tour de Suisse, suffered no damage and required no cleaning.
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