Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Radio Free Asia - Live from the Himalayas

Ok. This isn't really a remote broadcast. It's a regular broadcast from a remote area.

"We recently took an ACCESS unit Comrex loaned us to Bangkok Thailand for testing. The link with our headquarters in Washington DC worked great. The Access provided ISDN quality without the dialup cost. The same demo unit was then carried to Dharamsala, India where it was not only tested but worked so well we used the ACCESS link for a series of live shows. The ACCESS sound quality was better then any other Telco or Internet solutions we have tried to date. The results were especially reliable considering that Dharamsala has one of most “problematic” Internet infrastructures that we have come across. Dharamsala is a mountainous fifteen hour drive from Delhi straight up the Himalayans’ and is hard to get equipment into. The Access worked so well there we bought the demo unit and kept it there."

David Baden, Chief Technology Officer Radio Free Asia

The “problematic” Internet infrastructure to which he was referring....

Wow. Just wow.

He later apologized for the lousy picture. I looked at him stunned. How could he say this was a lousy picture?

He explained that they never had a camera available when the monkeys were there. Apparently there are monkeys that hang out in these wires, which must constantly be chased away as they enjoy chewing on the wires.

Even Verizon territory doesn't have THOSE issues!

Live from 37,000 Feet - No kidding - Live Broadcast from a Lufthansa flight!

Ok. This one was cool.

April 22, 2006 - Peter Greenberg, host of the weekly, nationally syndicated radio program Travel Today , successfully aired his three hour talk show from a commercial airplane at 37,000 feet on a regularly scheduled flight between Frankfurt, Germany and New York, US.

This is the first broadcast of it's kind. Engineers Mike Worrall of Travel Today and Lars Hanson from Boeing Connexions demonstrated extreme determination and a bit of courage to make this broadcast a success using Connexions by Boeing, a Comrex ACCESS and the public Internet.

Peter Greenberg -NBC TV's Today Show travel editor and host of the weekly, nationally syndicated radio program Travel Today - regularly delivers live broadcasts from difficult locations, so it should be no surprise that he was determined to be the first to do the impossible. It had been seen as "the holy grail" of remote broadcasting to deliver a show from an airplane at altitude during an intercontinental flight. But Peter not only sought the holy grail, but the largest challenge of all, a LIVE TALK SHOW including taking callers from the air.

Travel Today engineer, Mike Worrall, first contacted Comrex with the concept in September, 2005 to discuss the possibilities of whether the new Comrex ACCESS could rise to the challenge. Comrex engineers embraced this project and after reviewing technical specs for the new 'Connexion by Boeing' internet service, determined that, while very difficult, this concept was theoretically possible. The team of engineers, including Travel Today's Mike Worrall, Boeing Connexions engineers led by Lars Hanson, and the ACCESS development team led by Tom Hartnett of Comrex, worked for months in the lab to tweak settings and simulate real world conditions. It was determined that this broadcast would be attempted.

Ever conservative, Comrex cautioned that the transmission delay was likely to be staggeringly long and suggested that perhaps taking callers would be unrealistic. This was based on the complexity of the transmission path. In a nutshell, from the ACCESS codec in the airplane, the audio was transferred via WiFi to the satellite dish on the top of the plane where it was shot to the Boeing satellite. It was then sent to the relay station in Littleton, Colorado, where it was sent via public Internet to Travel Today's studios in LA. Then it was sent by ISDN to ABC uplink in New York and then distributed to the listeners. Comrex team listened on the Las Vegas affiliate, KNUU, however absent a decent AM receiver, it was necessary to resort to listening to KNUU's web stream on a laptop using EVDO. The excitement grew when witnessing this ground-breaking event. Callers were aired, and it sounded fantastic!

Needless to say, this broadcast was an unmitigated success. The audio was remarkably clean for the duration of the 3 hour broadcast. Thanks to the hard work of the all the engineers involved and the persistent determination of Mike Worrall and Peter Greenberg, history has been made.

Radio Magazine Report
Radio World Report

JAMN 94.5 - Walk for Hunger

From John Mullaney at Minuteman Communications - "ACCESS was used on the air exclusively for JAMN945 at this one. It was all over EVDO with a tremendous amount of active cell phones in the area. The ACCESS was connected to the Verizon wireless Broadband using the Kyocera KRI ( www.kyocera-wireless.com/kr1-router ) router. Because of the Clear Channel network security issues the studio connected to me once I learned my IP. This was done remotely by their engineer Bruce Parsons tunneling into their network from his home and then using the GUI. Audio sounded good with no dropouts that I heard though the delay over EVDO was quite great. Since they where recording all these cut ins with no studio interaction the delay had no negative impact. They have plans to try and do all three Boston Clear Channel stations at the start next year so we may try and get a WiFi connection from an apartment's balcony that overlooks The Common. The Marti equipment you can see going in the background in some of these pictures was being used for their sister station Kiss108 who was also broadcasting simultaneously."

Walk for Hunger info: http://www.projectbread.com/

Maverik - On-air personality for JAMN94.5

We're back....

Clearly I have been pitiful at updating this blog. So many ACCESS remotes have happened, I don't know where to start. I guess I will first tell you about some of Minuteman Communications remotes.

This picture, really demonstrates what ACCESS is about. This product truly has the ability to cut the wires. This was photo taken by John Mullany of Minuteman at WZLX's remote at Mount Wachusett Ski Area. The ACCESS was connected via WiFi for back-up.

I promised to tell you about the St. Patrick's Day remotes. Minuteman had a very busy time and delivered many successful remotes. Here is a picture of a remote they set up at for WROR's Loren and Wally show. It was a very successful remote.

From John - "Connected with Tom for almost the entire morning show broadcast. I was using Internet Connection Sharing from a laptop connected over Wachusett Mountain's free WIFI. I used BRIC2 Stereo 12K and held the connection for the duration. "

Minuteman also delivered remotes from Cleary's Bar (an Irish Pub) for Mix98.5. The remote was delivered via RPU, but John likes to play - "On a side note I did not have the unit with me Saturday night while doing a Mix985 RPU remote at the Rack. However I did notice that I was picking up a WiFi signal in my van outside The Rack from the Bostonian Hotel across the street which I could connect to. So it probably would have worked there if I had had it along." Sure would have been easier!

And for WAAF's remote at the Burren http://www.burren.com/ for the WAAF remote Friday Morning. - Here are some behind the scenes communication:

This is from Steve who was testing ACCESS at home.

"Hi Everyone:

OK, I've installed the ACCESS onto my home network (Linksys router, DHCP, Comcast cable modem).

I successfully logged onto Entercom's fixed IP of xx.xx.xxx.xxx and had no problems at all. After about 30 minutes, there was still zero frame loss.

Next, I connected to Greater Media's unit: xx.xxx.xx.xxx. I found I had to disconnect Entercom first, but then it connected fine.

...I'll give you a call around 10 and we can get together for a line test at The Burren. "


And John's advice for Steve:

"Steve keep the beer off your laptop!!"


Sound advice, John! I would recommend that all ACCESS users endeavor to keep the beer OFF the laptop!