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Technomad Military PA Systems Power Firing Range Audio on Virginia USMC Base

BOSTON, November 30, 2012 – The United States Marine Corps is now using Technomad advanced audio systems to project live voice commands over large areas while conducting military training exercises on a Northern Virginia base.  The complete audio solution, procured and delivered by government support contractor Tatitlek, allows system operators to target announcements across multiple audio zones — and allows USMC trainers at various locations to remain in contact as they conduct exercises at several outdoor firing ranges.

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Tatitlek, which was also responsible for managing the installation, approached Technomad seeking a comprehensive PA solution that provided zone control and gave USMC trainers the power to remain mobile during exercises.  The Technomad Modular Military PA system features multiple loudspeakers and a central signal processing solution to amplify and distribute audio to each zone, along with an intelligent land mobile radio interface to translate verbal commands to the loudspeakers.  The Technomad loudspeakers are completely weatherproof and highly durable for long-term use and survivability on the open-air firing ranges.

The training exercises take place on four firing ranges, three of which have several firing lines at incremental distances extending to 1000 yards.  Tatitlek installed Technomad loudspeakers at the left and right end of every firing line — about 300 feet wide — reproducing live verbal commands at powerful volumes with no distortion or lack of clarity.  The immaculate speech intelligibility of Technomad loudspeakers ensures that soldiers are reacting swiftly to loud and clear commands.

“Operator control is perhaps the biggest advantage,” said Rodger von Kries, vice president of Technomad.  “The intelligent zone control solution allows any trainer or operator to make announcements over any set of loudspeakers, from any location.  The central radio operator, situated in a bulletproof structure, can choose which set of loudspeakers will broadcast an announcement.”

In a typical scenario, trainers on the firing lines communicate with soldiers, making announcements over the loudspeakers from their handheld radios.  Meanwhile, another trainer situated behind a protective berm in the “pit” commands his team on when and where to raise pop-up targets.  An additional set of loudspeakers in the pit area allows the trainer to clearly communicate all firing target directives to his support team.

The Technomad solution also features a dedicated amplifier channel for each firing line, with custom 70-volt loudspeaker configurations to accommodate lengthy cable runs back to the central audio headend.  Signals are routed to the amplifier channels through a third-party audio splitter, which ensures that commands are delivered to the appropriate zones.

A Technomad Turnkey Military PA System at a fourth “Requal” (requalification) firing range for handgun training ties all audio to a single source for maximum efficiency.

Technomad Military PA systems are used around the world for military/Giant Voice applications including mass notification, force protection, combat simulation and training, large range firing systems, PSYOPS, operations scheduling and tactical/mobile PA.  Recent shipments include military bases in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Central America (Honduras).

All Technomad Military PA Systems (Turnkey and Modular) include weatherproof loudspeakers plus a high-powered amplifier, six-channel mixer, and audio playback to power voice and music over long distances — all pre-wired into a shock-proof signal processing rack.  Loudspeaker stands, a dynamic switched microphone, cables and connectors round out the turnkey systems.  Options include the SuperConductor, often integrated into Military PA System applications to simplify and enhance audio playback, add field recording capabilities and introduce message repeating for training drills, emergency situations and general base information.

ABOUT TECHNOMADTechnomad LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security/military technology 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.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 800-464-7757 x 710
International: 617-275-8898 x 710
Email: [email protected]

Long Distance Force Protection

This article appears in the January-February issue of MilSat Magazine.

The military has long relied on satellites for long-distance communications.  The success of the early satellite trial phases in the mid 20th century led to increasing reliance of the satellite infrastructure to dependably deliver information to distant military bases over free space.

Today, military communications, or COMSAT systems are still in place to inform and protect military personnel.  COMSAT systems are aligned with various bands of electromagnetic spectrum to deliver provide such information.  This includes the X-Band, a microwave radio band that lives in the 7.0 to 11.2 GHz frequency range; and the Ka Band, which falls into the 26.5 to 40 GHz range.

There is also the UHF, or ultra-high frequency band, more popularly known for its role in terrestrial (over-the-air) television delivery but sometimes used for military satellite communications.  The U.S. military reserves the right to use the 1452-1492 MHz chunk of the UHF spectrum.

The common aspect of these different bands of spectrum is that they are all reliable for the delivery of voice and data over free space, from point to point or one point to many.


Technomad loudspeaker in Military PA System
A simulated military drill featuring a Technomad Military PA system


IP Enters The Mix

It is established that plenty of bandwidth exists in a typical long-distance satellite connection to deliver voice and data.  Increasingly, these systems are interfacing with Ethernet and fiber links to provide both redundant and/or first-mile and last-mile connections.

Audio over IP is ideal for streaming live audio from a source to a target, both separately and in combination with satellite links.  IP-based technologies have matured to the point where it is simple to reliably “hand off” a communications signal from an IP-based system or network to a COMSAT system.  The combination provides a powerful solution for multipoint communications and/or extending the reach of a point-to-point connection.

The challenge is in maintaining a consistent live, working connection for streaming data and audio over IP.  Whether for everyday operations or emergency situations, the remote connection suffers if plagued by occasional dropouts and temporary outages.  This becomes a potential safety hazard if a live or recorded voice message streamed in real-time goes silent due to a poor connection.

An alternative solution for remote satellite communications is to use the same technology for distributing commands.  These CGI-based commands are useful for triggering tones, alarms, announcements and other audio as single events or repeated messages.  This strategy temporarily opens the connection to trigger an event at the remote base(s) instead of requiring a continuous, open IP connection to stream live audio.


Military PA System in Afghanistan
Clear speech and audio intelligibility enhances force protection in combat situations


Central Control

Military bases using audio playback systems such as the Technomad SuperConductor have the option of informing base personnel of the day’s events through a series of announcements, either triggered manually or on a scheduled basis.  The option to repeat the message any number of times exists for important but non-critical announcements as well as for emergency situations.

The latter is an ideal example of how such technology can benefit warfighters and distant military bases receiving information from U.S.-based unit control centers over a COMSAT system.  The ability to advise patrol teams and even local citizens of hostile movements, MOPP conditions and other dangerous situations is critical to force protection and mass notification – essentially, for saving lives.

The ability to trigger these announcements, tones and other warning signals locally from distant unit control centers ensures reliability of playback.  The use of the CGI command as a data stream instead of streaming live audio also preserves bandwidth, making more efficient use of the existing space in the larger COMSAT system.


Remote Base Systems

The momentary IP connection required to send a CGI command is enabled from the unit command center.  If the remote playback system allows scheduling (such as the SuperConductor), military personnel at the command center can use the same command to set up an events in advance.

Once the connection is made, the operator would access a web interface, enter the appropriate passwords, schedule the event and quickly disconnect.  The playback system would trigger the event at the schedule time, allowing for a very efficient use of satellite resources.  This can be achieved for multiple locations with the appropriate playback systems, with few human and time-related resources required.

But what happens when the command is recognized and the audio event is triggered?  It’s at this point that the quality of the audio becomes relevant.  Bases with harsh sounding horn systems will produce tinny and distorted audio that is difficult to comprehend.  Horn designs frequently have narrow coverage angles, behaving like an acoustic “spotlight.”  Those directly in line with the horn are blasted with sound while those to either side of the horn cannot hear the message clearly.

High-clarity PA systems with the appropriate end point (loudspeakers) and infrastructure components (amplifiers, mixers) will ensure that the message sent from the unit control center is loud and clear.  Most remote bases will simply require turnkey systems with several loudspeakers to cover something in the area of one square mile, although networked Giant Voice PA systems may be designed to cover much larger spaces.  The latter can also double as a public safety system for local citizens.


Technomad SuperConductor military mp3 player and recorder
Technomad SuperConductor military mp3 player and recording system enables long-distance force protection via satellite and IP audio communications


Connecting the Dots

Setting up such a system at the remote base should be relatively simple.  In most cases the playback system would exist as 1RU component and live in a signal processing rack with additional infrastructure and networking equipment.  Local military personnel would also have access to the system to manually trigger warnings in critical situations.

The delivery of the warning tone or message to the loudspeaker points can be handled over cabled infrastructure using Ethernet, twisted pair, or optical fiber lines; or wirelessly using RF transmission.  In larger systems, Ethernet connections add the benefit of zone-control to stream audio to specific areas in a facility.

Announcements and warnings can be fanned out further by tying in a land-mobile radio system.  This allows patrol units at the base to connect to the central PA using handheld radio, adding another local element of force protection to the mix.  The brains of the system can live inside the same signal processing rack as the audio playback and infrastructure systems to create a clean, centralized and fully realized local PA system.

Protection from the elements is a final but important consideration.  Military technology is nearly worthless without ruggedness and durability.  Weatherproof loudspeakers are ideal for outdoor installations to cope with rain, snow, sleet, and water ingression.  Likewise, outdoor loudspeakers should be able to withstand the blowing dust and dirt of a desert environment.  Equipment that cannot survive the rigors of wind, impact and other abuse will not last long in the military or in other challenging installations.

The goal of military satellite communications is to supply information to military units that lack a reliable means of terrestrial communication.  The proliferation of IP-based technologies can now provide more power and diversity to COMSAT systems to further enhance protection for military personnel serving at remote bases around the world.

See http://www.milsatmagazine.com/cgi-bin/display_article.cgi?number=1396500954 to access the publication’s article.

Technomad Ships Large Order to USMC Firing Range

Technomad LLC, a leader in high-powered weatherproof PA systems and communications equipment for military, security and other government applications, has shipped a large order of fixed and mobile Technomad Military PA systems to a military base in North Carolina.  The durable, weatherproof systems will provide instructional audio and public address on firing ranges for United States Marine Corps unit training, and inject “in-theater” realism for both the firing ranges and simulated Iraqi villages on the base.

The USMC has long used Technomad Military PA systems on its firing ranges at the North Carolina base, citing weatherproof construction, audio quality and long-distance projection as critical elements of the system that are vital to the unit’s mission.  The new systems address safety issues on firing ranges currently lacking PA systems, and replace decade-old PA systems from other vendors.

Firing Range with Technomad Loudspeaker

Technomad is delivering two of its new FireFly tactical mobile PA systems for us on smaller firing ranges.  The FireFly is the first backpack-portable, weatherproof, self-casing, all-in-one PA system for the military and offers superior audio quality, high power output, quick setup and rugged durability.  The FireFly systems provide loud and clear command and control capabilities to operators, along with unimpeded mobility to avoid shooters as they move between yard lines.

The USMC unit is also adding five fixed, turnkey Military PA Systems featuring multiple Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers with gasketed lids for extra protection.  The complete systems also feature amplifiers, six-channel audio mixers and Technomad SuperConductor military mp3 players among other components (wired and wireless microphones, speaker stands, cables and connectors) — all pre-wired within shock-mount signal processing racks.

The SuperConductor adds instant, manual playback capability from a front-panel knob position; and scheduled audio playback capability for base operations and training purposes.  The SuperConductors will replace older CD and cassette systems that were previously used for audio playback, providing a simple way for commanders and soldiers to upload sounds and background noises for single-event or repeated playback.  This enables repeat commands on the firing lines, as well as the injection of weapon- and war-related sounds for combat simulation.

The SuperConductors will also play back audio files in the villages and on the firing ranges that add to confusion of combat, including Muslim worship prayers, gunfire and vehicle sounds.

USMC Firing Range

The base commander in charge of equipment purchases notes that the first Technomad system on the base is still in top operating condition after five years of direct sun and rain exposure and living through two significant hurricanes.  The communications department, which handles system installation, has also purchased several Technomad Military PA systems to broadcast live voice and music during VIP ceremonies and other special events.

Technomad Military PA systems are used around the world for military/Giant Voice applications including mass notification, force protection, combat simulation and training, large range firing systems, PSYOPS, operations scheduling and tactical/mobile PA.  The SuperConductor is often integrated into Military PA System applications to simplify and enhance audio playback, add field recording capabilities and introduce message repeating for training drills, emergency situations and general base information.

ABOUT TECHNOMADTechnomad LLC, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security/military technology 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.

For Additional information, contact:
Military Sales, Technomad Inc.
USA: 800-464-7757 x 710
International: 617-275-8898 x 710
Email: [email protected]

Technomad Military PA System Helps New Civil Affairs Brigade Unit

 

 

Technomad LLP, a leader in high-powered weatherproof PA systems and communications equipment for military, security and other government applications, announces that the US Army 361st Civil Affairs Brigade in Germany is using a Technomad Military PA System and SuperConductor mp3 military player/recorder for military training and simulation.

 

The 361st Civil Affairs Brigade is a new Civil Affairs unit within the US Army Reserve Command, established to diplomatically work with local populations in foreign environments.The unit’s Annual Training Exercise emphasizes this diplomatic effort, training soldiers to fight for battle as well as to talk, negotiate, persuade and assist the local populace.The goal of the Civil Affairs Unit mission is to “Win The Hearts and Minds” of locals through civil military operations.

 

The Civil Affairs Brigade Unit Relies on Technomad's Clear Audio and Powerful Output to Reliably Cut Through the Nearby Dense Forests During Training Exercises
The Civil Affairs Brigade Unit Relies on Technomad's Clear Audio and Powerful Output to Reliably Cut Through the Nearby Dense Forests During Training Exercises

 

 

The Technomad Military PA system, featuring two weatherproof loudspeakers, an amplifier and mixer among other components, plays an instrumental role in the exercise, partially acting as a force multiplier during convoy lane training to simulate explosions.The system was also used at a simulated displaced personnel camp, projecting crowd noises, music and other sounds to enhance the training environment and create a foreign environment for soldiers.Audio files were programmed in the SuperConductor ahead of the exercise for easy recall via a front panel knob and push button.

 

“Adding realism to every bit of training is paramount for soldiers to understand how to react in foreign environments once deployed,” said CPT Ryan Bromenschenkel of the US Army 361st Civil Affairs Brigade.“When the day comes to perform at your given task, you can perform with ease knowing that you have been there before through extensive training.The Technomad Military PA System helps us achieve this realism by providing a portable system with outstanding audio clarity.We were able to mentally prepare soldiers by playing foreign sounds, music and language whether inside the personnel camp or a half a mile away in the forest.”

 

Bromenschenkel noted that the amplified sounds projected from the Technomad system were able to cut through the heavy dense forest and the sounds of nearby loggers.He added that the entire system can be set up in five minutes or less with ease, which was pertinent with only 12 personnel on site to set up for the entire exercise.

 

The goal of the Civil Affairs Unit's Mission is to “Win The Hearts and Minds” of Locals Through Civil Military Operations; Technomad Military PA Systems and SuperConductor Military Audio Players Help Them Achieve this Mission.
The Unit's Mission is to "Win The Hearts and Minds" Through Civil Military Operations. Technomad Military PA Systems and SuperConductor Military Audio Players Help them Achieve this Mission.

 

 

Technomad Turnkey Military PA Systems offer a unique combination of power, compact size, weatherproof construction and clear speech and music reproduction, providing far superior intelligibility than traditional ‘horn’ speaker systems that suffer from inherent distortion and narrow audio bandwidth. The complete systems include Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers with gasketed lids for extra protection, a pre-wired amplifier, a six-channel mixer, source equipment, a dynamic microphone cables, connectors, and a shockmount equipment rack.

 

Options include the SuperConductor, a 1RU system that allows for manual and scheduled playback of audio files from a front panel position and without the need for a computer or web browser; and the ability to record field audio and immediately schedule the files for playback from its internal sound library.Scheduling can be as straightforward or complex as desired; sounds can be programmed to play hourly, daily, weekly or annually, also making the unit ideal as a message repeater in both critical and non-critical situations.

 

ABOUT TECHNOMAD

Technomad LLP, founded in 1995, designs and manufactures loudspeaker systems for the professional audio and security/military technology 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.

 

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

 


Technomad Military PA Systems Provide Audio for Brigade Training at Army National Training Center at Ft. Irwin

Weatherproof PA systems broadcast religious prayers throughout simulated Arab villages to replicate regional culture as soldiers prepare for Middle East deployments

BOSTON, November 13, 2007 – Technomad Associates, LLC announces that the U.S. Army National Training Center at Ft. Irwin in California has purchased 15 Technomad Turnkey Military PA Systems for its Brigade Combat Team training program, designed to prepare soldiers for Middle East deployments by injecting realism of the local culture into the training scenario. The National Training Center already has 15 Technomad Military PA systems in use to broadcast religious prayers within simulated Iraqi villages at the National Training Center. The new systems will be installed in new towns and villages for the same applications as the training area grows, and the program expands to include simulated Afghani villages.

The National Training Center is the Army’s primary training center for Brigade Combat Team training prior to deployment. The 28-day program replicates the regional culture of the brigade deployments, rotating between Iraq and Afghanistan. For a 14-day period, soldiers are deployed into the box, a 700-plus square-mile area that includes 13 towns and six cave complexes, complete with Iraqi-American or Afghani-American actors that speak the native language.

Prayers are broadcast from two Mosques in each town using the Technomad Military PA Systems to cover the towns and its outlying areas, with four Technomad loudspeakers pointing in different directions from the roof of each Mosque. The soldiers plug MP3 players directly into Technomad amplifiers to broadcast prayers. For Iraqi rotations, each town has one Sunni and one Shiite Mosque broadcasting prayers in Arabic. The Afghani rotations, scheduled to begin this fall, will feature prayers in the native Pashto language to replicate Afghani culture.

Calvin Phillips, Deputy of Training Support Division in G3, U.S. Army National Training Center, said that the main point is to overwhelm the soldiers with the regional culture by injecting as much realism as possible into the 24/7 program. We currently have 250 Iraqi-Americans in the box that bring an air of culture and language to the training scenario, said Phillips. The towns are set up to resemble the real thing as much as possible, and we replicate communications, logistics, and other problems soldiers will face when they are in theater. The Technomad Military PA Systems are essential to providing the sound and feel of being in theater, and ensure that all of the soldiers’ sensors are attacked. We use the systems to clutter the battlefield with audio, and the long range of the audio from the loudspeakers allows us to reach the outlying areas of the towns instead of just the town centers.

In addition to the four weatherproof loudspeakers, each Turnkey Military PA system includes a PA control rack with an amplifier and cables, and rugged flight-cases with protective gasketed lids that clamp onto the front of each loudspeaker and PA rack to protect the systems when not in use. The National Training Center’s location in California is susceptible to high winds that continually blow dirt and dust. Winds reach 20-40 MPH on a regular basis, and often reach 60 MPH or higher. These conditions, coupled with high heat and humidity, required a highly rugged and durable PA system that could withstand the harsh environmental elements of the region.

The ruggedness and durability is what initially attracted us to Technomad, said Phillips. We needed weatherproof PA systems that we could mount and leave in the box without the fear of them falling apart during a rotation. We are extremely hard on equipment, and nothing lasts forever out here. But the Technomad loudspeakers and amplifiers are extremely rugged, and with some forethought on our part they require very little maintenance downrange.

Phillips reiterated that the Technomad Military PA Systems are well suited to survive the harsh outdoor elements of the National Training Center. Heat is an issue most of the year out here, with temperatures reaching 115 degrees in the dead of summer, and in September and October the temperature can drop 60 degrees in a matter of hours. But wind and dust are the biggest issues. Dust gets into everything out here, and weaker PA systems would not be able to take that beating. The heat and humidity would dry out the systems, and then the overwhelming amount of dust will kill them. We’ve been using the Technomad systems for about a year now, and the loudspeakers and amplifiers have continued to function at top condition.

Phillips expects to take delivery of the next 15 Technomad Military PA systems this fall, sending 10 of them to new towns for Mosque installations. The remaining five will be added to the National Training Center’s bank of spare Technomad PA systems, which soldiers can sign out for change-of-command broadcasts and other ceremonies. Each Technomad Military PA System also comes with a microphone, which soldiers can connect to the amplifier for use in these applications, as well as loudspeaker stands for quick set up.

The Technomad Military PA Systems are very easy to set up, and the stands simplify the process, said Phillips. It’s nearly impossible to set up the loudspeakers incorrectly, which makes it easy for the soldiers. And the broad audio range of the loudspeakers means they can cover an entire parade field. They don’t have to worry about anyone not being able to hear.

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]