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Technomad Military PA Systems in Worldwide Deployment

Technomad Military PA Systems in Worldwide Deployment Weatherproof PA systems deliver superior sound quality and durability at lower cost than traditional horn speakers

BOSTON, December 5, 2006 – Technomad Associates, LLC has developed a line of high-powered weatherproof military PA systems being used by U.S., UK, Canadian and other national Armed Forces around the world. These breakthrough systems offer a unique combination of power, compact size, weatherproof construction and clear speech and music reproduction. Durability, quick setup and an efficient price point offer additional benefits. Technomad Military PA systems offer speech intelligibility far superior to traditional horn speaker systems that suffer from inherent distortion and narrow audio bandwidth. Technomad audio systems provide 180 to 360-degree audio coverage up to one mile from the PA, making them ideal for permanent and mobile installations such as training facilities, tent cities, and refugee camps; and mobile applications for on-vehicle use. Their weatherproof construction also allows for permanent installation on ship decks for use as hailing systems. Technomads wide audio dispersion ensures that PA system can address a large area simultaneously in hailing applications, without the ‘dead spots’ common with horn or hyper-directional devices. This is critical for guard-post, mass notification, or other force protection applications.

Intelligibility is crucial in mission critical situations, where clear and articulate escape instructions can limit causalities, said Karl Von Kries, President of Technomad Associates, LLC. Technomad Military PA Systems offer excellent speech clarity over considerable distance while cutting through background noise and eliminating distortions common with horn-based systems. Our systems are also ideal in PSYOPS, training and deception applications because they deliver full-bandwidth output, with deep bass and detailed highs. This is critical for avoiding canned sounding audio in combat simulation or deception operations.

Technomad Military PA systems arrive pre-wired and ready to use, with a typical setup time of 15 minutes or less. Setup can be accomplished by a single operator regardless of audio expertise. All systems are built into rugged flight-cases and are fully weatherproof. CD Protective gasketed lids clamp onto the front of the loudspeakers and the control rack, converting the system into flight-cases ready for convenient transport.
Technomad offers optional digital IP-based Link Kits that allow multiple Technomad PA systems to be networked to form very large-area PA systems (10 square miles or more) without requiring complex programming. Link Kits are available in wireless or Ethernet models. Applications for Link Kit technology include rapidly deployed flight-line PA systems, tent-city paging and warning systems or permanently installed facility-wide mass notification systems. All Technomad systems ship with a pre-wired amplifier and signal processing rack complete with microphones, CD/tape players, speaker stands and cables. The systems provide CD-quality digital audio. System options include wireless microphones, telephone system interfaces, solar and wind power, DC power or ‘euro’ AC power adapters, and the new SuperConductor military MP3 player. The revolutionary SuperConductor provides instant access to over 1500 minutes of MP3-format audio, and also allows the operator to create a schedule for automatic unattended audio playback i.e., Reveille daily at 0600.

Since 1996, Technomad audio systems have been in use with military and government agencies including the White House Communications Agency, Zussman Urban Combat Training Center, Ft. Knox, USMC Parris Island, GTMO, Seymour Johnson AFB, Offutt AFB, Naval Undersea Warfare Centers and dozens of U.S. military facilities worldwide.

ABOUT TECHNOMAD

Technomad Associates, LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security / military technology / mass notification industries. The company invented the first reliable full-range military PA systems and now offers eight models with range up to one mile, as well as the SuperConductor military MP3 player and Firefly ultra-lightweight PA system. These products are widely used for Giant Voice / Mass Notification / Big Voice, PSYOPS, MOUT, FEMA CPG 1-17 / UFC 4-021-01 alerting applications, and Force Protection applications.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 617.275.8898 x 710
International: 617.275.8898 x 710
Email: [email protected]

White House Communications Agency Upgrades to Technomad

UPDATE: ª See Technomad military PA systems in use during President Bush’s speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Technomad loudspeakers are now used for the most advanced, complex, highly coordinated, and technical ‘international touring act’ in the world; The Office of the President of the United States of America.

The White House Communications Agency recently took delivery of 50 Technomad loudspeakers. The highly portable, self-casing Technomad loudspeakers are used, primarily, for public events by the President of the United States of America. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) is the preeminent provider of information systems to the President, Vice President, White House Senior Staff, National Security Council, U.S. Secret Service and others as directed by the White House Military Office. This support includes non-secure voice, secure voice, record communications, audio/visual services, automated data processing support and photographic and drafting services both in Washington, D.C. and trip sites worldwide.

The 50 Technomad speakers used by the WHCA agency consist of 26 Pismo loudspeakers and 24 of the Omaha loudspeakers. Multiple Technomad loudspeaker systems, each consisting of four Omaha loudspeakers or four Pismoloud speakers – or a combination of both -are called upon for ten or more public appearances per day, during Presidential visits. These Technomad loudspeakers are stationed at the Anacostia Naval Station and are flown all over the world on the President’s support transport planes. Wherever in the world the President visits and makes a public appearance, 90%of the time he will speak through Technomad loudspeakers. Reliability, ruggedness, military-specification construction, and durability make the Technomad loudspeakers the best choice for an application that would destroy any other loudspeaker in a matter of weeks.

Aside from Technomad’s Military Specification-810E durability, audio performance was ultimately the deciding factor in the WHCA’s choice to purchase the Technomad speakers as a massive upgrade to “The Boss’s” portable loudspeaker system.

Rob Davis is Pro Audio Manager of Markertek, a leading pro audio and broadcast equipment provider, based in Saugerties, New York. As the dealer of record, Rob states, “For high-performance applications, where durability and reliability are of paramount concerns, nothing comes close to Technomad.” Continuing, Rob notes, “The Technomad loudspeakers were designed for those audio applications where the equipment is going to be subjected to extreme road use and abuse. When we were approached by WHCA technical staff for recommendations on the most durable and best sounding mobile loudspeaker for the President’s sound system, I simply advised them, there are no alternatives to Technomad. Personally and professionally, I have mixed on Technomad sound systems, and aside from the fact they are the most road-worthy loudspeaker in the world, they also sound extraordinary.”

Technomad loudspeakers are extremely EQ compliant and offer the user unrivaled control over every type of program material, through the entire frequency spectrum. Technomad full-range loudspeakers deliver pitched musically relevant response to 30 Hz and below. All Technomad loudspeakers are inherently free of cabinet resonance, wall flex, vibration, imperfections in Thiele tuning, as well as other self-generated masking noises and anomalies. A Technomad loudspeaker’s extremely low self-noise floor, along with its forward, detailed and articulate acoustic center, and faster transient response produces 3-D-like, musical performance. A Technomad loudspeaker’s ‘quiet cabinet’ design does not mask vocal, musical, and other subliminal cues from program material, thereby offering greater detail and intelligibility through-out the entire frequency range.

Technomad loudspeakers feature a unique cabinet manufacturing technology, called roto-molding, that was developed and first put into service in 1954. Technomad produces one-piece loudspeaker cabinets with 1/2 inch thick linear walls and 3/4 inch thick corners that are free of imperfections, such as air bubbles, stress areas and other ‘built-in’ weaknesses. A Technomad loudspeaker’s one piece, ATAIII-rated cabinet has no joints or seams joining multiple parts. Technomad’s manufacturing technique makes for a very strong, cabinet, especially in the corner areas where impact is likely to occur. The corrugation that is designed into the cabinet walls provides incredible rigidity to the entire cabinet structure, without the need for additional internal cross-bracing, supports or structure.

Technomad full-range loudspeakers feature a unique, five position, internal Passive Processor EQ System. The Passive Processor reduces the need for outboard processors, thereby eliminating expense and system complexity. The EQ contour of a Technomad full-range loudspeaker is ‘shaped’ by the Passive Processor, providing maximum efficiency and fidelity, for any indoor or outdoor event or program material.

These audio innovations also allow the Technomad loudspeaker to perform with greater detail, intelligibility, and articulation in highly reverberant and high-ambient noise environments. All Technomad loudspeakers are also designed to Military Specification-810E, and are impervious to water, sand, salt, temperature, mold, mildew, condensation, chemical, insect, UV radiation, acids and other damage.

The Technomad loudspeaker systems, referred to as ‘PA Packs’ by WHCA personnel, are powered by two Mackie1400i power amps, and mixes are handled by a Sony MX-P61VU 12 channel mixing console. The other equipment in each ‘PA Pack’ signal chain consists of an ART PD3 Delay, DOD Real Time Analyzer Series 2, DOD SR431 31-band graphic equalizer, DBX 266XL Dual Compressor Gate, and ETA Power Distribution provides clean AC power. A multitude of microphone models, for an assortment of applications, are from Shure, Senneheiser, and Crown.

>> Click here to see Technomad loudspeakers on CNN

The WHCA’s 50 new Technomad Omaha and Pismo loudspeakers augment 50+ Technomad loudspeakers already stationed at various Air Force bases through-out the United States. These additional Technomad speakers are used by the President, Ambassadors, Military Officials, and visiting Heads of State.

The White House Communications Agency (WHCA), originally known as the White House Signal Detachment (WHSD), was officially formed by the War Departmenton25 March 1942 during the Roosevelt Administration. The detachment was activated under the Military District of Washington to provide normal and emergency communications requirements in support of the President of the United States. WHSD provided mobile radio, teletype, telephone, and cryptographic aids in the White House and at Shangri-La, now known as Camp David.

In 1954, during the Eisenhower Administration, WHSD was reorganized under the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Army Signal Corps as a Class II unit and renamed the White House Army Signal Agency (WHASA). In 1962 WHASA was discontinued by order of the Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy, transferred to the auspices of the Defense Communications Agency under operational control of the White House Military Office, and reestablished as the White House Communications Agency.

WHCA played silent, significant roles in many historical events to include World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Panama and Guatemala, Operation Just Cause, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. WHCA was also a key player in documenting the assassination of President Kennedy and the attempt on the lives of Presidents Ford and Reagan.

The Agency evolved over the past 50 years from a small team of 32 personnel working out of the basement of the White House to a self-supporting joint service command. Headquarters for WHCA is at Anacostia Navy Yard and consists of six staff elements and seven organizational units. WHCA also has five supporting detachments in Washington, D.C. and various locations throughout the United States. WHCA is organized into functional areas each with its own mission in support of the total WHCA mission of Presidential support.

ª See Technomad Military PA Products









Technomad Articles : Technomad Military Installation, Afghanistan

This photo shows a typical base-wide paging application. The Giant Voice / Mass Notification / Big Voice system shown is installed at a US military facility in Afghanistan. The Technomad MilPA4 system (an omni-directional PA using 4 loudspeakers to cover a full 360 degrees around the tower) has been installed on a tower to increase its range. Key features of this system include: fully weatherproof construction (unaffected by UV, dust, sand, etc), unmatched speech clarity for ‘live’ voice announcements, excellent warning tone / siren clarity, and up to 1 mile radius range.

For large areas, Technomad suggests linking multiple modular PA systems using our wireless link kits.

ª Read more about base-wide Paging
ª Frequently Asked Questions
ª Products




Horn vs. High Fidelity Loudspeakers in Military Applications

A question sometimes posed by military / government clients is “why use a full-range loudspeaker like Technomad when instead of ‘horn’ products”?  There are a few key reasons.

Intelligibility

First and foremost, there is a critical difference between sheer volume of sound and intelligibility. High-efficiency horn designs popular in the past several decades have truly awful intelligibility – every speech or music signal that goes into them comes out a garbled mess.While this is not a problem if the horn is only generating a siren, or a warning tone, it IS a big problem for speech reproduction. A typical horn system makes quite a racket, but delivers little information – what is being said is too distorted to be understood. This is not just an issue of comfort or aesthetics – inexpensive horns destroy the ability of a government PA system / Giant Voice system to deliver critical life-safety warnings, communicate the location of potential threats, or to convey important instructions to people in crisis situations. Without intelligibility, a military PA system has no force protection value

Another consideration is the value of a PA system for deception or PSYOPS use. Signals played through horn system are not realistic – the limited frequency range, harmonic distortion, and ragged response of a horn make a signal played through a horn artificial sounding. In contrast Technomad full range military audio systems reproduce sound with outstanding accuracy, whether the signal is speech, deep-toned explosions, gunfire, insect sounds, music, crowd noises, etc.

Logistics

A second issue is Logistics. Horns do not lend themselves to mobile applications – they have to be packed in protective cases or they are easily destroyed. Technomad loudspeakers have clamp-on gasketed lids that convert the loudspeakers into Military Specification 810F flight cases (complete with comfortable large-grip handles). Technomad loudspeakers in ‘case mode’ can be transported anywhere in the world securely with no additional protection, and will arrive fully functional wherever they are deployed. Technomads are the only commercial off-the-shelf loudspeakers that are MilSpec 810F rates.

Durability

A third issue is durability. Traditional horns are relatively flimsy structures that do not survive the rigors of wind, impact, and other abuse. They require protection during transport and storage. In contrast, Technomad AS series loudspeakers are extremely rugged and are totally weatherproof. [Click HERE to see Technomad “Torture Testing” videos]. Technomad loudspeakers last years longer in military environments than ordinary loudspeakers and horns.

Dual Functionality

Finally, Technomad full range military loudspeakers offer VASTLY better music playback than traditional horns. This means the same system that delivers base-wide paging and warning playback can be used as a high-quality audio system for change-of-command ceremonies, social events, sporting events etc. This dual function capability means better value in any military or government application.

REFERENCE LINKS

Disadvantages of Hyper-Directional Audio Systems for Force Protection

A number of new acoustic devices have been developed that generate high sound pressure levels (146+ dB) and deliver extremely directional output – with left-to-right coverage angles of 5 degrees or less. This combination of features allows the devices to be used for interesting applications such as ‘acoustic weapons’ or long-range addressing of specific targets for hailing and Force Protection applications. However, there are significant downsides to hyper-directional transducers for general-purpose force protection audio. These disadvantages are: aiming requirements, ‘one-target only’ addressing, low quality audio, and cost.

Disadvantage #1: Aiming Requirements


Target missed.
The narrow beam width of a hyper-directional device requires extremely accurate aiming, particularly at medium and long distances, to ensure that the hailed target actually hears the hyper-directional device. For hailing applications – for example, sentries attempting to warn a vehicle to slow down approaching a checkpoint – it is easy for an operator to miss the intended hailing target with a hyper-directional device. If the hyper-directional device is not aimed precisely at the approaching vehicle, the vehicle occupants will not hear the sentries’ warning, and might drive onward obliviously. The result could be the loss of life if the sentries respond to the ‘duly warned yet non-compliant’ vehicle with deadly force. Tracking issues are compounded if the approaching target moves erratically or at high speed, or the hyper-directional device is hand-held. At short range, a hyper-directional design is unnecessary, yet at medium and long range acoustic devices like this are often ineffective due to aiming difficulty.

Target Addressed!
Technomad Solution: Technomad wide-dispersion military PA systems offer high levels of speech clarity in a 120 degree vertical and horizontal coverage pattern, with clusters of loudspeakers offering full 180 o 360-degree coverage. This means that for guard post, shipboard hailing, or other Force Protection applications, the target is CERTAIN to have been addressed by a wide ‘no-aiming needed’ sound field.

Disadvantage #2: One Target Only


Target missed.
The narrow beam width of a hyper-directional device means that it is difficult or impossible to address more than one acoustic target with the hyper-directional device simultaneously. While a hyper-directional device can be effective in addressing one target, multiple targets cannot be addressed. A multiple-target threat, such as a number of speedboats or jet-skis approaching a ship, or motorcycles approaching a tent city, is poorly met by the highly directional hyper-directional device.

Target Addressed!
Technomad Solution: Technomad wide-dispersion military PA systems flood a large area with clear, articulate speech and sirens. Result: multiple targets can be addressed with confidence, without requiring any operator effort to aim or track multiple potential threats.

Disadvantage #3: Different Volumes for Speech vs. Tones

The typical max SPL specifications of hyper-directional devices show a max continuous ‘tone’ SPL output of @ 145 dB, but max continuous ‘voice’ SPL outputs are generally 25 dB less (120 dB or lower). Further, most hyper-directional device designs have very poor frequency response and phase response, which significantly degrade speech clarity. The limited mid-band frequency response of hyper-directional devices is particularly destructive to male voices. Generally, hyper-directional devices are a poor fit to applications requiring live speech commands.


Technomad Solution: Technomad full-range, high efficiency military PA systems offer high-efficiency output in both speech and siren frequency ranges, and does so WITHOUT high levels of phase shift, harmonic distortion, group delay, or other destructive audio artifacts. Male and female voices are delivered with outstanding clarity, and sirens and sound effects are accurate, detailed, and compelling.

Disadvantage #4: Cost

Hyper-directional force protection systems are extremely costly – a recent price survey showed a typical system priced at $33,000. In contrast, a Technomad MilPA4 system – which covers a full 360-degree area, requires no aiming, and reproduces speech, music, and sirens accurately and without distortion – costs less than half of that price.

REFERENCE LINKS

Technomad Introduces LMR Interface for Military PA Systems

New system allows field staff to use existing land mobile radios to talk directly to PA system for a variety of military field applications


BOSTON, June 28, 2007 – Technomad Associates, LLC introduces its new LMR Interface for Technomad Military PA systems. The 1RU system allows military units to interface their existing inventory of land mobile radios with Technomad Turnkey and Modular PA systems without the need to purchase additional costly equipment. The result is a sophisticated way for soldiers and unit leaders to talk through the Giant Voice PA system from anywhere within the LMRs multi-mile range.

The LMR Interface is available in most VHF and UHF versions for compatibility with most LMRs, including the most sophisticated P-25 compliant units that allow field staff to speak to specific groups or zones. The LMR interface provides a simple, reliable way for field staff to address not only radio carriers, but the entire facility via a powerful, intelligible Technomad PA system. LMR integration is ideal for forward operating bases, large fixed installations, firing-line training and combat simulation among other applications. It can be used as a primary means of voice communications in Turnkey systems, or as a backup audio channel in a larger Modular PA system for force protection and other announcements in the event the main control system is taken down.

The LMR Interface is the latest addition to a growing arsenal of Technomad military products, including its Turnkey and Modular PA systems with Technomads high-quality, rugged and weatherproof loudspeakers; and its SuperConductor MP3 player/recorder for interjecting instant and automatic sounds over the PA system for training and other military exercises and communications.

The Technomad LMR Interface is normally installed in the control/amplifier rack of a Turnkey PA system, or in the Audio Source Pack of a Modular PA system that links numerous Technomad loudspeakers over a large coverage area. Field staff on foot or in vehicles can communicate directly to the PA system; the radio signal is connected to the mixer through the LMR Interface and sent onto the speakers.

The Technomad LMR Interface comes with audio cable to connect with Technomad Military PA systems, and arrives pre-installed in the control/amplifier rack when ordered with a Military PA system. All Technomad Military PA systems offer CD-quality digital audio and speech intelligibility far superior to traditional horn speaker systems that suffer from inherent distortion and narrow audio bandwidth. System options include wireless microphones, telephone system interfaces, solar and wind power, DC power or ‘euro’ AC power adapters, and the SuperConductor military MP3 player.

ABOUT TECHNOMAD

Technomad Associates, LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security / military technology / mass notification industries. The company invented the first reliable full-range military PA systems and now offers eight networkable models with range up to one mile, as well as the SuperConductor military MP3 player and Firefly ultra-lightweight PA system.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 617.275.8898 x 710
International: 617.275.8898 x 710
Email: [email protected]

REFERENCE LINKS

ª Contact Technomad / Request a Demo
ª Frequently Asked Questions
ª Products

Technomad Articles : Technomad Military PA Systems Leading Choice for Military Audio Applications at Fort Hood

Weatherproof PA systems deliver superior sound quality and durability at lower total cost of ownership than traditional horn speakers

BOSTON, April 30, 2007 – Technomad Associates, LLC announces that Fort Hood Army Base in Texas recently purchased six of its Turnkey Military PA systems, bringing the bases inventory of these high-powered weatherproof systems to 19. The Turnkey systems, which include Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers, a pre-wired amplifier and a signal processing rack complete with microphones, CD/tape players, speaker stands and cables, are made available to soldiers for ceremonies, training, and command briefings among other military audio applications. The flexibility of both outdoor and indoor PA system applications for military bases has allowed Fort Hood to standardize on Technomad in recent years for military audio applications.

Fort Hood is a 190,000-plus acre military post used to house and train the divisions that fall under the Third Armored Corps of the U.S. Army. As one of the largest armored U.S. military posts in the world, the base offers an enormous amount of open training space. It is considered an excellent military base for training for war situations due to its geographical location and the layout of its terrain.

Josh Cavness, AV Support Lead at the Fort Hood Training Support Center, cites durability and quick setup as major benefits of the Technomad design. The all-in-one design of the Technomad system is a big plus for military applications at Fort Hood. Soldiers can sign out a system for field use and transport only two speaker boxes and one separate box with all the instrumentation, instead of the 10-12 separate pieces standard with other systems, said Cavness. The compact design of the system means that the speakers can be set up virtually anywhere on the base, and simple connections from the power supply to the rack means setup is quick and painless. And the systems remain highly durable even as they are repeatedly tested with dirt and abuse in the field.

Technomad Military PA systems offer CD-quality digital audio and speech intelligibility far superior to traditional horn speaker systems that suffer from inherent distortion and narrow audio bandwidth. According to Cavness, Fort Hood soldiers often drive tanks and other heavy artillery vehicles out to the middle of nowhere for battle training. In these situations, the speakers are often pushed to the highest possible volume levels to attain the power and distance needed to communicate with soldiers. He added that this further confirms the durability of the speakers in the field, especially since they rarely require maintenance.

The Technomad speakers provide excellent sound dispersement and audio quality for speech and music, he said. The Army schedules a large number of ceremonies and they demand professionalism throughout. We have never received a complaint with these speakers in terms of audio quality, from both the speakers and microphone use. We have similarly received only positive feedback in training applications. The commander’s voice needs to be clear and audible in these situations, such as tank firing certifications. The soldiers can clearly understand the commands to fire with the Technomad system that they might not otherwise hear clearly or at all with a less reliable system or a naked voice in the field.

Weatherproof construction was cited as an important benefit. The Army doesn’t stop for inclement weather, said Cavness. The Technomad loudspeakers offer a weatherproof design that allow for continued use in harsh weather conditions from rain and wind to sleet and snow, without any compromise in sound quality. Though mainly used outdoors, Technomad Military PA systems are true Swiss army knives in that the same system used for combat simulation and outdoor command ceremonies can serve as a reliable indoor speaker system for smaller ceremonies and presentations where premium audio quality is required. Technomad loudspeakers are highly intelligible in large, reverberant spaces such as gymnasiums and hangars.

Technomad Military PA systems arrive to all military customers pre-wired and ready to use, with a typical setup time of 15 minutes or less. The Fort Hood systems also include the optional wireless microphones, which provide more freedom in training and command applications.

Technomad Military PA systems are used at military bases around the globe for a variety of training applications and military ceremonies, as well as mass notification and forward operating base PA systems. As an all-in-one solution, it is no longer necessary to carry a mix of PA systems for different events; Technomad Turnkey and Modular PA systems can provide rugged, reliable, high-audio quality installations for any military audio application.

Setup can be accomplished by a single operator regardless of audio expertise. All systems are built into rugged flight-cases and are fully weatherproof. Protective gasketed lids clamp onto the front of the loudspeakers and the control rack, converting the system into flight-cases ready for convenient transport. System options include wireless microphones, telephone system interfaces, solar and wind power, DC power or ‘euro’ AC power adapters, and the new SuperConductor military MP3 player.

ABOUT TECHNOMAD

Technomad Associates, LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security / military technology / mass notification industries. The company invented the first reliable full-range military PA systems and now offers eight models with range up to one mile, as well as the SuperConductor military MP3 player and Firefly ultra-lightweight PA system. These products are widely used for Giant Voice / Big Voice, PSYOPS, MOUT, Mass Notification, and Force Protection applications.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 617.275.8898 x 710
International: 617.275.8898 x 710

REFERENCE LINKS

ª Contact Technomad / Request a Demo
ª Frequently Asked Questions
ª Products

Technomad Military PA System Adds Realism to Field Medical Training Courses at Sheppard Air Force Base

Medical Readiness Training Center interjects realistic, intelligible sound effects and speech into two advanced courses with Technomad system



BOSTON, June 26, 2007 – Technomad Associates, LLC announces that Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas is using a Technomad Military PA System for two courses operated by the Medical Readiness Training Center on the base. The system is primarily used for two advanced courses: EMEDS, Expeditionary Medical Support training, a course that simulates a deployed hospital setting; and CASF, Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility training. The latter is a component of the Aeromedical Evacuation Training course that simulates a deployed holding cell for casualties being transported via an Aeromedical Evacuation system.

The Medical Readiness Training Center installed a Technomad MilPA4 Turnkey package, featuring four Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers, a Technomad SuperConductor MP3 audio player for storage and playback of sound effects, a pre-wired amplifier to drive the audio signals, and a signal processing rack with a wireless microphone, CD player, speaker stands and cables. The loudspeakers were integrated as a fixed installation in a large outdoor Tent Pad that serves as the training site for both advanced courses. The speakers are evenly divided between opposite ends of the Tent Pad, with two speakers apiece designated for the EMEDS and CASF training courses. The courses are conducted independently of each other at different times.

The speakers are installed on tent poles at an elevation of eight feet for the best possible audio dispersal. All four speakers run cable to and up the 15-foot observation tower in the middle of the course. A supervisor at the top of the tower runs the exercises, using the Technomad SuperConductor audio player to playback sound effects over the loudspeakers to impart realism into the simulations, and uses the supplied wireless microphone for occasional voice announcements.

The Medical Readiness Training Center uses the Technomad speakers with their ability to survive the harsh northern Texas environment. The speakers are sealed in hard plastic cases that came with the system when not in use, but are also weatherproof with the lids off and have been able to withstand the harsh temperatures and variations through the winter, including heavy rains, without any problems.

The Technomad system is typically used on Thursdays for 12 hours a day, from approximately 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. to simulate daytime and nighttime scenarios that a medical training staff could potentially face in a deployed hospital or air evacuation environment. The system can play sounds instantly or automatically on a schedule set by an operator. This allows the operator to play a schedule of sounds throughout the training exercise, and interject occasional non-scheduled effects on the fly.

The primary audio coming out of these speakers represents a variety of sound effects designed to impart more realism to exercises. The time of the day and the light conditions dictate what kind of sound effects are played at any given time, combined with the intended threat environment to be simulated.

The system was pre-loaded with sounds such as bombs, bugle calls, guns and aircraft, and offers the ability to load up to 1 GB of their sound effects, voice announcements, or alerts directly to the SuperConductor’s USB drive or via Ethernet. All sound effects come through intelligibly with no report of any garbled word-based speech over these speakers. This system allows the Medical Readiness Training Center to fit an entire gamut of experiences and interactive requirements to all participants over the course of their 12-hour exercises. Operators continuously devise new ways to inject more realism into these exercises.

Technomad Military PA systems are used at military bases around the globe for a variety of training applications and military ceremonies, as well as mass notification and forward operating base PA systems. All Technomad Military PA systems offer CD-quality digital audio and speech intelligibility far superior to traditional horn speaker systems that suffer from inherent distortion and narrow audio bandwidth. Technomad Military PA systems arrive to all military customers pre-wired and ready to use, with a typical setup time of 15 minutes or less.

Setup can be accomplished by a single operator regardless of audio expertise. All systems are built into rugged flight-cases and are fully weatherproof. Protective gasketed lids clamp onto the front of the loudspeakers and the control rack, converting the system into flight-cases ready for convenient transport. System options include wireless microphones, telephone system interfaces, LMR ( land mobile radio ) interfaces, solar and wind power, DC power or ‘euro’ AC power adapters, and the new SuperConductor military MP3 player.

ABOUT TECHNOMAD

Technomad Associates, LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security / military technology / mass notification industries. The company invented the first reliable full-range military PA systems and now offers eight networkable models with range up to one mile, as well as the SuperConductor military MP3 player and Firefly ultra-lightweight PA system.  Technomad systems are widely used for FEMA CPG 1-17 / UFC 4-021-01 alerting applications.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 617.275.8898 x 710
International: 617.275.8898 x 710
Email: [email protected]

REFERENCE LINKS

ª Contact Technomad / Request a Demo
ª Frequently Asked Questions
ª Products

Technomad Introduces Ethernet Intercom System for Military and Security Applications

Technomad Introduces Ethernet Intercom System for Military and Security Applications

BOSTON, August 21, 2007 – Technomad Associates, LLC introduces its new Ethernet Intercom unit, a simple, networkable IP-based intercom system for robust, intelligible voice communications on military bases and within demanding security systems. The Technomad Ethernet Intercom is a 1RU system with a built-in loudspeaker, push-to-talk microphone, Ethernet interface, and auxiliary audio inputs and outputs. The Ethernet is ideal for everything from large-scale mass notification to basic control center-to-guard post intercom voice communications.

The Technomad Ethernet Intercom can be attached to an existing facility network and/or LAN infrastructure; multiple units are easily integrated to create a simple, robust and scalable communications network. A systems operator can set up audio streams to target devices in point-to-point or multipoint configurations using a simple Web interface. Target devices can include basic intercom stations at guard posts, in communication centers and in equipment rooms, or Technomad Military PA systems for alerting troops and personnel.

Technomad Military PA systems, available in Turnkey and Modular packages, come complete with weatherproof loudspeakers, a pre-wired amplifier, and a signal processing rack with microphones, CD/tape players, speaker stands and cables. The Technomad loudspeakers offer speech intelligibility and CD-quality audio far superior to traditional horn speaker systems that suffer from inherent distortion and narrow audio bandwidth. The rugged, durable systems are ideal for permanent and mobile installations on military bases and in high-security applications.

The Technomad Ethernet Intercom is an ideal way to extend to these systems, particularly to Modular Military PA systems which are designed to cover a wider territory. Technomad offers optional digital IP-based Link Kits for its Modular systems to form very large-area, networked PA systems (10 square miles or more) without complex programming. The Technomad Ethernet Intercom can join these PA system networks, allowing the user to alert staff in different areas of the base. An optional Zone Control function can be used in these situations to talk to specific targets.

The Ethernet Intercom can also receive audio streams from the PA system Audio Source Packs, allowing the Ethernet Intercom to play all-call or zoned audio alerts through its internal loudspeaker. This feature allows the Ethernet Intercom to function as an alerting system for guard posts, trailers, offices, and other compact spaces.

The Technomad Ethernet Intercom, now shipping, is available for purchase as part of a Technomad Military PA system or as a separate unit to plug into an existing system. It can be configured as a desktop system or a standard rack-mount unit, and offers a quick and simple set-up process.

ABOUT TECHNOMAD

Technomad Associates, LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security / military technology / mass notification industries. The company invented the first reliable full-range military PA systems and now offers eight networkable models with range up to one mile, as well as the SuperConductor military MP3 player and Firefly ultra-lightweight PA system.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 800.464.7757 x 710
International: 617.275.8898 x 710
Email: [email protected]

The Ultimate Military Training Facility: Technomad @ Zussman Urban Combat Center

UPDATE: 7/18/2001: Click Here to See the CNN Web-Feature on the Zussman Urban Combat Training Facility [look closely and you’ll see the Technomad loudspeakers]

Located a little over 30 miles south of downtown Louisville, the Zussman Urban Combat Training Center, to date, is the government’s most realistic and complex military training facility. The 26 acre Center supports mounted, dismounted, special operations and combined force training ranging from urban unrest and operations other than war (such as peace-keeping missions and hostage recovery), through to mid-intensity combat. This Military Training in Urban Terrain (MOUT) system offers realistic simulation of forward-operating conditions.

Construction commenced in October 1997 to install the fully instrumented and automated urban combat training site at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the facility was completed in May 2000. Its formal dedication, viewed by an international audience of military officials and political dignitaries, was held on May 25, 2000. The dedication was followed by a highly realistic, 10 minute-long military force-on-force demonstration, consisting of over 200 soldiers and approximately 12 armored units. (Refer to Photo 1)

A deployed-force-in-training at the Zussman facility experiences the total impact of a broad spectrum of urban environments. The city’s 21 structures (intact, as well as battle-impacted), are designed and constructed to resemble facilities found in many urban areas. Structures includes air traffic support facilities, an industrial area, a well developed business area, municipal buildings – including a three-story embassy – a residential area complete with a modern 2-story school, and a complex system of roadways, replete with the normal array of several hundred tons of “combat debris.” The buildings are augmented with facades and are color-coded. Furniture installed in the buildings will trip-up the unwary and hide friend or foe targetry. The normal mixture of ‘urban support’ facilities includes recreational sites such as a subway entrance, a soccer field – large enough to land a helicopter – an open air market, as well as electrical, water, and sewer.

To support a realistic environment, a battery of special effects may be employed, including; a class 100 bridge that can blow-up & burn, five ‘burn-on-command buildings’, ‘on command’ moving and burning cars, ‘on command’ interior and exterior non-toxic smoke, color and sound confusion effects, collapsing and exploding telephone poles with ‘dancing’ electrical lines, a gas station that can blow-up causing a ‘river of fire’ to cross a primary road, as well as wide area and specific point sound effects, and more. Getting very realistic, the sewer system filled with varying depths of ‘dirty water’ – as well as the “little things” normally found in such a place – also links key areas of the city underground. These underground areas can also be “smoked” at a unit commander’s discretion.

The Zussman Mounted Urban Combat Training Site provides a unique learning center for individual and collective technical and tactical skills supporting a successful urban military or para-military deployment, as well as force protection operations. Units with limited training objectives may elect to face a single structure or any mixture of allocated structures. The facility can support four separate company-sized units simultaneously, each with a defined area of operation, or a battalion task force taking on the entire facility.

Performance evaluation is supported by command selection of 10 different video feeds for taping and computer reports provided in either CD-ROM or print-out formats, or staff observations. A high-tech control and command facility (disguised as the town’s water tower), supported by video feeds, computer monitoring stations and a large and detailed mock-up of the facility support a qualified training evaluation.

The Army Corp. of Engineers managed the construction of the 13.5 million dollar facility and Redstone Arsenal and the Aviation Missile Command was tasked with the instrumentation and software for the facility. NCCIM, a joint venture formed in 1997 between Nichols Research Corporation and COLSA Corporation, both headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, provided the audio and video systems for the Zussman facility. The gentleman almost solely responsible for the design of the AV systems is NCCIM Senior Systems Analyst, Mark Seeber. (Refer to Photo 2). Ron Galyean, Telecommunications Specialist with NCCIM, is the on-site team leader for the installation of the communications systems.

Acoustical Audio Design located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was the primary certified contractor chosen by Mark Seeber for the project. Innovative Electronic Designs, Inc., of Louisville, Kentucky was contacted by Mark due to their experience in “being able to find solutions to route audio to an infinite amount of zones in convention centers and airports,” states Mark. “I knew they would have the solutions to the obstacles I was going to face in designing Zussman’s audio and video systems. IED worked closely with Acoustical Audio Design into the project since AAD are the local certified contractor.”

THE FRONT END

The front end of the system, located in the control tower, is controlled by two software applications, one which operates the audio effects and the second controls the sensors, modular video and targetry throughout every room in every building. Targetry, video cameras and sensors are incredibly modular and are custom installed in each room, as well as around the facility, according to a commander’s training scenario ‘script’. (Refer to Photo 3- a pneumatic pop-up target positioned in the ‘town’s’ traffic circle). Once the aforementioned equipment is installed, the commander can program the complete training scenario from two computer screens in the command center in as little as one hour.

Jeremy Green and Terry Townsend, both programmers with NCCIM, were the gentlemen who toiled for almost a year to create the targetry, video and sensor control software application. Jeremy states, “We’ve created the control application from Wonderware’s In Touch and In Control applications. These are industrial control applications that allow the programmer to customize the software to control large-scale facilities, such as a factory or a jail.”

Jeremy continues, “To design a scenario, you just click on each building from an overview of the city. Once on the view of a building, you can continually click to pull-up the various in-depth views of the floors and rooms. Once in a room, you can select the targets and sensors you need for the scenario, through simple drag-and-drop programming. You drag the target, video, etc., control where you want it, program it for when you want it to come up, go down, and how many kills you want for that target. You can also program any of the video cameras to record for a specific duration of time once a sensor is tripped.”

Jeremy adds, “This control software does not control the flame effects. It does provide us with a ‘Go’/’No Go’ signals for some flame and other effects. The third manual control system was designed so that all flame and other effects are NOT run by software, but by people, so no one gets hurt, or worse, killed.”

The audio control system for the Zussman Mounted Urban Combat Training Site was manufactured by IED and includes IED’s Universal Digital Audio Processing System (UDAPS?). UDAPS is a DSP-based system that provides audio routing, mixing, level control, EQ, delay, announcement distribution, and paging all in the digital domain. The UDAPS for Zussman is sized at 24 X 32, which can dynamically route any one, or a combination, of the 24 input sources to any individual or group of the 32 zone outputs.

The UDAPS delay and DSP functions also provides cross-fading for the fly-around effects and can provide contact closure interface for remote triggering of effects. IED’s UDAPS configuration is controlled by graphical software on the IED 590 Computer System. The custom graphic software package provided by IED allows the user to configure and monitor an entire training scenario, which includes selecting and scheduling the sound effects and choosing the zones to where they will play. The software also provides a DSP probe to audibly listen to any point in the system over the monitor speaker at the computer.

The application displays an overhead view of the site and sound events can be selected for multiple sounds. The user can simply drag-and-drop multiple sound samples into the three ‘run categories’ – Timed, Triggered and Manual – for each specific training event. (Refer to Photo 4).

Timed sounds are audio events that occur on a regular schedule during a scene, such as a school or church bell ringing, as well as nature and environmental sounds. Eight channels of environmental sound samples – from a three minute helicopter fly-by, to one hour of school children playing, to two hours of nature sounds – can be mixed together and assigned to any zone, or series of zones, to create specific and simultaneous environmental effects for the training exercise.

Triggered sounds, which are tied into the targeting systems, are events that will occur when a sensor provides a contact closure and trigger explosion sound effects. For instance, if the convenience store is ‘blown up and burned’ during an exercise, the program supports that physical effect with audible explosions. Manual “sudden” surprise sounds can be triggered in any zone, at any time, by the system operator while a scene in a training scenario is being played out. Manual events are ‘sudden’, surprise sounds, such as a baby crying, the sound of a machine gun attack, or crowd noises. These manual, ad-libbed, ‘outside-of-the-script’ events are ‘thrown into the scenario’ by the commander to keep his trainees on their toes.

The third, 100% manual control system runs the exploding and pneumatic effects such as the moving and burning cars, collapsing bridge, burn-on-command buildings, and exploding and toppling telephone poles. Obviously, effects which cannot be left to the ‘blind’ run-control of a software application. Even after the software gives a ‘Go’ command, the situation around a manual effect is ‘eye-balled’ and then green-lighted at ‘ground level’ by maneuver observers. The ‘Go commands’ are radioed to the control tower and then the effect is manually triggered. Mark points out, “Multiple approvals need to clear a manual effect to confirm that no troops are in proximity to prevent injury, or even death, from the end result of the effect.” As an extra security precaution, eight remote controlled ‘observer’ video cameras are installed at critical points in the facility. The operator in the control tower controls all pan, tilt and zoom functions while viewing a scenario on eight screens. (Refer to Photo 5).

TARGETRY, SENSORS AND VIDEO

The facility’s digital interface is completely modular and can be customized for each and every exercise. A tremendous amount of video, light effects, sensor and targetry information can be controlled and routed to and from the command tower via each zone’s Communications (Com) Room. In each of the five Com Rooms, 50 node boxes, each carrying two fibers of information, allows the commander to custom install the aforementioned modular equipment, and then program the computer control of his training areas. Ron states, “We can bring in God knows how much information and route it out to wherever we want.” Each room in every building is ‘wired’ with six pairs of fiber for the installation of targetry, effects and video, while sensors are all permanently installed in each room.

External areas can be as small as an alley to as a large as a street or traffic circle, as well as the sewer and subway systems. Once this equipment is installed, the commander can commence with the scenario programming for the room, building, area, etc.

All sensor information generated from all programmed areas during the course of a training exercise, is fed back to the control tower where it is stored on ten, six gig computer hard drives. Sensor information consists of time the soldier(s) spent in the room to accomplish the mission, shots fired, etc.

Video is captured for all events in each room and area during a training scenario. (Refer to Photo 6 – one of the many customized, modular cameras installed around the facility). Note the microphone. The foam cube prevents input overload from gun fire and training grenades.) Ron states, “Video cameras are always run on a fiber pair as a primary and secondary, so in case the primary is lost for whatever reason, we always have a back-up video feed. Audio is picked-up at the camera and carried over the video fiber pair, as well. At the Com Room, the information from the cameras is routed to a customized, full audio/video matrix switch, which we call a Knox Switch. The Knox Switch is designed to simultaneously route 32 audio and video sources from the 50 pairs of inputs in each Com Room, back to the control tower and, secondarily, to the closed circuit cable system.” (Refer to Photo 7) The video feed to the cable television system allows viewers to watch everything from each camera, on multiple screens live, as it happens.

Ron continues, “The primary function of the video system is to record to hard drive, all information generated from each camera. The system allows for detailed recording of all audio and video information and subsequent fast editing capabilities to create an accurate record of the training scenario.”

During a training scenario, the room or area sensors determine what cameras are going ‘hot’ on the network. The sensor information is routed to the Knox Switch which then routes the 32 audio and video sources to ten video encoders. From the encoders, the video information is then routed to the system’s file structure. The video, as well as the time-line information, is stored in the file structure according to what area the information originated from. In video editing, the video files from the time line are just ‘dragged and dropped’ to create the scenario movie the commander needs to review with his troops. The final edit is either burned to DVD-ROM or VHS tape, or transmitted over the closed circuit cable system to the training review theater.

THE AUDIO

Once the Timed, Triggered and Manual audio effects are programmed into the system and the scenario is set to run, audio is distributed on six channels to each Com Room via miles of fiber runs.

Mark points out, “At the Com Room, the digital audio signal hits the American Fibertek converters and then its cooper out to the loudspeakers. “Input levels and acoustic response is what we needed and American Fibertek was able to produce the product that matched our specs.”

Ron states, “Fiber can be a lot tougher then you might think. But, once you know how to work with and terminate it, fiber is great. The beauty of fiber is you can run fiber lines right up against power lines and have no interference. This place is an RF nightmare. If you could see the RF here, it would look like a fog. You can just tell from our video feed in the tower how nice and sharp it is over the fiber network, it’s really beautiful. If we were unable to use fiber, it would be amazing that we would have any video in this installation.”

Seventy permanently installed Technomad Paris 616T 70-volt loudspeakers were installed in the 25 exterior audio zones throughout the facility. Almost all of the Paris 616T loudspeakers are installed at the first story level of each building with Allen Products speaker brackets. Mark points out, “At the height at which they are mounted, four Paris speakers can effectively cover an entire street.”

Not only did the Technomad loudspeakers need to be installed fairly high-up on the building for the proper sound coverage, they also had to be out of the range of the exhaust output of many of the armored vehicles, such as an M-1 tank. Mark points out, “When it came to the loudspeaker selection, the weather is the least of my concerns. The diesel exhaust from armored vehicles would kill any less or loudspeaker very quickly. But more so, the heat output from an M-1 tank can melt hair and skin within 8 to 10 feet. It’s a tough environment for all the audio and video gear that is out here, with all the exhaust heat and smoke, compounded with the smoke generated from explosions, flares, smoke grenades and canon fire. The speakers get the worst of it, and I could not find anything else on the market that would endure what the Technomad’s have to go through. Believe me, I looked!”

An additional 16 Technomad Cairo 15/C loudspeakers are utilized in ‘modular interior audio zones’. The high-powered, Crown K2-driven Cairos are installed in close-quarter stairwell and hallway ‘grenade drop’ zones. The Cairo 15/C is bi-amped, 3-way, 1,000 watt Cairo loudspeaker consisting of a 12″ coaxial driver and a 15″ bass transducer. In the Zussman application the Cairos are being run full-range for their various applications. Mark notes, “Since the areas where these speakers are installed are so small, size and output was a critical factory. I could not find anything in the Cairo’s class that could duplicate the SPL output of a close-quarter hand grenade explosion.” Continuing, Mark states, “Since this high-powered explosions are not part of every training scenario, the Technomad Cairos are installed on a ‘need only-basis’, such as when they are installed under the collapsing bridge or in various buildings.”

The K2s were selected to power the Cairo’s grenade drops, “Because,” Mark states, “Since I needed an amp that was going to be left on 24/7, there is nothing to break down on the K2, such as fan.” Continuing, he quips, “The Technomad Cairo and K2 combination just make the sound effects as real as they can get, short of setting off real hand-grenades.”

Comtech 410s and 810s efficiently drive all of the 70 volt Technomad 616T loudspeakers, even in spite of cable runs that are as long as 1,000 feet from each Com Room. Mark notes, “I was concerned that with these long cable runs, we were going to have to add more power or install fewer speakers; you have to do whatever you can go balance it. But, the Comtechs proved to be very efficient for the application.” Continuing, Mark notes, “The system is incredibly quiet. It’s powered-on all the time and there is no hiss or hum at all.”

Mark adds, “The playback is very life-like, therefore very effective. In one demonstration, I was playing a mixed combination of vehicles and machinery, crowd noises such as multiple conversations and people milling about, as well as a significant amount of nature sounds, birds, wind, what-have-you. I walked a large part of the facility with several commanders who commented they couldn’t hear the audio program, just all the aforementioned background noise. Then I stopped the audio program and there was nothing, no noise at all. Zussman is easily four or more miles from the nearest country road, so when you’re out here alone, there is no civilization background noise all at, just the occasional bird or maybe the wind. I, essentially, had the commanders psychologically convinced that a lot was happening out here, until I shut it all off. That was a very effective demonstration to the commanders as to the accuracy of the playback system.”

THE MINOR DETAILS

Roland AR2000s were installed for random playback messages consisting of, up to, two hours of FM radio stations, as well as telephone transmissions. Mark points out, “The FM radio station recordings, for one such scenario, were various repeating Russian broadcasts, which were actually recorded from radio stations in Kosovo. The broadcasts are transmitted within the facility and are all part of the scenario, if part of the training is to monitor enemy radio broadcasts, especially if Army Intelligence is involved in the training.”

Making the scenarios even more realistic, additional AR2000s are tied into the facility-wide telephone network. Mark continues, “I can store up to 250 messages on a single AR2000 PC card. These messages can be as varied as a dial tone, someone dialing, static, a conversation in who-knows-what language, and so on. For whatever reason an individual in training needs to pick-up a phone – keep in mind, FBI, CIA, and police forces will train here – we can have various pre-recorded telephone noise or conversations going on as part of the scenario. A contact closure starts another random message whenever a receiver is picked-up.”

Mark states, “The Zussman facility represents the state-of-the-art in systems designing for operation and control simplicity. When the project was still on the drawing board, a few executives visited the talent at the leading amusement parks, such as Universal and Disney. They wanted to investigate how they created their attractions and what technology is used to pull-off such realism, even though none of Universal’s or Disney’s attraction technology was incorporated in the finished Zussman training facility.” Concluding, Mark quips, “Though the public will never be allowed to participate in any event here at Zussman, I can assure anyone, we have both Universal and Disney beat in the realism department.”

ª See Technomad Military PA Products