Antenna ambition: David Meynell on SIS LIVE’s DriveForce
David Meynell, managing director of SIS LIVE, says that the company has received an “extremely positive” reaction to its 1.8m vehicle mounted antenna system, DriveForce. The culmination of an 18-month R&D effort, DriveForce was developed specifically to combat high-wind environments, such as golf links courses.
“For a number of years, SIS LIVE has developed products to support our customers, not least where their requirements could not be satisfied with products currently available,” explains Meynell. “For the last few years, we had become aware that many existing large antennae were very limited with regards to operational windloading, so we started to think about developing our own system.”
SIS LIVE’s contract to supply European tour production for ATP Golf events provided a specific prompt to take action. So approximately 18 months ago the group’s hardware division commenced work on a system able to accommodate “60 miles per hour operational windloading – almost double that of competing products”.
The resulting carbon fibre system – subsequently christened DriveForce – is fully automated, capable of very high bandwidth or dual path transmissions, and incorporating SIS LIVE differential antenna control technology to find and track any satellite within seconds.
With a new dedicated DriveForce SNG truck out for Sky, and an additional six DriveForce vehicles to support Sky Sports News and other news and sport customers, Meynell says that the system has received “tremendous feedback” not just for its hardware – but also new variation firmware and software for antenna control that gives the operator extensive options for both automatic and manual operation
“As a conservative estimate, I think we could expect to see 20-25 DriveForce antennas out on the road this year,” he concludes. “It’s a very, very robust antenna, and I think it will be attractive to a lot of broadcast customers once they have had the chance to see it in action.”