Behind the scenes with Rai Way at the Italian Grand Prix
By: Roberto Landini, Italian Correspondent
Friday, February 17, 2017 - 10:53 am
Rai Way has extensive broadcast management operations at many Italian sporting events

Rai Way has extensive broadcast management operations at many Italian sporting events

In cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Communications, Rai Way is responsible for the overall business management of transmissions and broadcasting operations for many of the most popular sporting events, including Giro d’Italia, in Italy and beyond. The task of this operator is to ensure the quality of video and radio broadcasts.

To do this, its staff must optimise the infrastructure available. One of the most important sites which involves Rai Way is the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Here Rai Way has implemented a sophisticated test transmission system for the Italian F1 Grand Prix that employs Microlease equipment.

Based on test expertise and application knowledge, a broad range of equipment and flexible sourcing options, Rai Way is able to implement an advanced broadcast testing system in Monza for the Italian Grand Prix this summer – and hence in time for the next race. A multitude of broadcasters from different countries will be present at this annual event, and they will all depend on Rai Way to operate under good conditions.

RF management challenges

Numerous international broadcasters are always present at the annual event. Indeed, in total, some 180 radio microphones are in operation, supporting a total of 220 different data streams. This requires the monitoring and management of 60 different RF frequencies (in the bands from 1MHz to 13GHz). As part of an ongoing collaboration, four instrumental unit testing/multifunction analyzers have been placed at key points within the Monza complex – specifically in the boxes, the paddock, the study of transmission, and on the track. These units have been decisive in supporting the live press coverage of the Grand Prix, allowing simultaneous monitoring of all radio streams from the cameras and microphones, as well as enabling real-time measurements with a high degree of accuracy.

The mounted drives comprising two handheld spectrum analyzers (which allow scanning up to 20 GHz) with integrated features for monitoring the spectrum, as well as one scanner and two portable multichannel analysers, are able to perform accurate spectrum analysis functions in ‘real time’ and vector network analysis. Also in use is an advanced technology on optical fiber, used to precisely locate the points of interference and to compensate for their effect on performance in transmission.

The respective analyzers, spectrum analyzers and vector RF/microwave of each remote unit were all connected to a LAN and could be directly monitored by the quality control room located within the area of transmission, in the proximity of the pit-lane at Autodromo di Monza. Thanks to the spectral analysis capabilities in real-time offered by FieldFox devices, it was possible to capture/record necessary signals lasting up to 1µs.

“Microlease has long been a technology partner of Rai Way and the company’s commitment in this particular project has been invaluable,” says Dino Tedesco, Head of Quality Control at Rai Way Great Events. “Our next objective is now in setting up a fixed infrastructure spectrum monitoring within the Monza site, in preparation for future events. Through this it will be possible to cover more monitoring points, allowing us to achieve higher resolution.”

Angelo Cereser, Italy Microlease Sales Manager for the North East, added: “The work carried out by Rai Way in Monza has been a great opportunity for Microlease to demonstrate the full extent of our expertise and is a good example of how we can contribute to the projects they are involved [in], providing solid, application-oriented technical advice.”

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