Qatar played host to a major handball tournament earlier this year with participation from 24 national teams from across the world.

The International Handball Federation’s 24th Men’s Handball World Championships was held in Qatar in January and February 2015 with the 24 teams competing in 88 matches in the presence of over 300,000 spectators. The championships were held across multiple venues, with three purpose-built just for the event, including the 15,300-seat Lusail Sports Arena.

The Arena was the location for the most important games of the championships as well as the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies. Australia’s David Atkins Enterprises produced the celebrations with technical assistance from Auditoria’s Scott Willsallen. Based on their experience with major sporting events around the globe including the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, Sydney’s The P.A. People was chosen to provide communications services throughout the championships.

The P.A. People entered the project during the completion of the Arena construction to install the communications infrastructure.

Scott Davidson, Senior Systems Engineer - Event Communications for The P.A. People explained that it was important for them to pay close attention to detail, as the equipment not only had to run the event, but also stand up to the installation work happening around it. With reliability, functionality and flexibility as the key performance requirements, The P.A. People chose multiple products from the Clear-Com range of wired and wireless communications solutions.

The P.A. People ran a closed fibre optic cabling loop and additional copper cabling around the Arena, and followed it up with the deployment of 32 V-Series key stations as well as expansion panels throughout control rooms and any location that needed extensive communications monitoring and switching. Key stations with 24 digital pushbuttons plus expansion panels were stationed at show call and operations control, as well as with the artistic and technical directors. Staff members responsible for broadcast, announcements and operations were also provided with 24-button stations.

The V-Series panels incorporate digital signal processing, 10-character displays, Listen Again memory, and native IP technology in an acoustically controlled housing that ensures every word comes through loud and clear. An Eclipse-Median system frame fitted with 48 analogue ports sat at the heart of the Ceremonies system, and ensured non-stop performance with its dual redundant processors and power supplies. Three 32 port Eclipse-PiCo system frames also made the journey to Qatar and supported the matches in the smaller venues.

Stage and artist management was facilitated at the Arena’s entrances using Clear-Com’s digital partyline HelixNet master stations that were strategically located around the ground under the bleachers. Event staff wore HBP-2X HelixNet Beltpacks cabled back to HelixNet HMS-4X four channel main stations. In addition to the opening and closing ceremonies, the IHF also put on special concerts by international artists including Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Jason Derulo and a host of local artists in addition to appearances by Kylie Minogue and Taio Cruz during the closing ceremony.

Clear-Com’s Tempest2400 MasterBelt wireless beltpacks enabled further communications coverage with staff wearing Tempest BeltStations working freely across the Arena floor without physically hindering themselves or others, as the Tempest Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum system ensured that their wireless communication didn’t interfere with any existing RF from wireless microphones or IEMs. Tempest’s Redundant Data Transmit, which sends each packet of audio data twice on different frequencies, ensured that floor staff could always rely on uninterrupted audio communication.

Clear-Com’s flexibility ensured that integrating The P.A. People communications system into other venue infrastructure was simple and effective. Clear-Com gear could be easily integrated with the Arena’s state-of-the art equipment. Third-party UHF radios were also incorporated into the Clear-Com system.

The Clear-Com system delivered an outstanding performance at two huge ceremonies and throughout the 88 matches of the global sporting event. Scott explained that reliability was an important factor in Qatar’s environment where The P.A. People did not necessarily have access to their regular level of resources.

Scott and The P.A. People have already packed down and shipped their Clear-Com equipment off to multiple sites around the world, ready for the next big match on the world stage.

Jands is a leading Australian distributor of professional sound systems as well as lighting and staging equipment.