PWS handles wireless duties for 2013 NBA Finals

Professional Wireless Systems coordinated RF for the 250-plus frequencies in use for the big game in Miami.
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Professional Wireless Systems was courtside for game one of the 2013 NBA Finals, coordinating RF for the 250-plus frequencies that were in use.

This year's event, which sees Miami Heat taking on San Antonio Spurs, marks the ninth straight time Professional Wireless System (PWS) has managed frequencies for the Finals.

PWS’ crew on the ground at the American Airlines Arena in Miami worked closely with the venue team – the American Airlines Arena in Miami (Miami Heat) and the AT&T Center in San Antonio (San Antonio Spurs) – to ensure zero frequency interference throughout each game.

“Familiarity is a key factor in making frequency coordination work,” said Jim Van Winkle, general manager, PWS. “Since this is the third consecutive year the Miami Heat have made it to the Finals, we had the advantage of already being familiar with their arena. And although it’s been eight years since the Spurs were in the championship, we have been in their building as well, so that also made it easier for us.”

For the series, PWS collaborated with the networks broadcasting the games, along with the local Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) coordinators, to get the local contacts and information they needed at each venue.

“People working the same event every year begin to recognise faces so they understand that we are there to help protect them from rogue frequencies,” added PWS' John Garrido. “Now they come to us if they feel they need a new, cleaner channel. While it doesn’t necessarily take the burden off of anyone, it is nice to be considered a familiar face after working the same event for a while. A lot of them will also come find us when they see someone who is not compliant so we can go find them and issue them frequencies.”

One of the biggest challenges the PWS team faces is the sheer volume of ENG crews and news reporters that cover the Finals. “With more than 250 frequencies spread out all over the arena, it is essential that we stay on top of things, and find and correct any issues as quickly as possible,” Van Winkle continued. “In the past, you could have a break in between segments. These days, there are a lot of non-stop entertainment performances that are part of the game experience, which makes it more physically demanding.”

In order to keep the high volume of RF signal usage in check and to ensure frequencies maintain solid signals, PWS brings along its high-end portable equipment, including its spectrum and portable analysers. “Having these tools is essential, as their portability allows us to chase down and resolve a problem as quickly as possible,” concluded Van Winkle.

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