Plain sailing with licence-free radio

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is benefiting from Icom’s licence-free radio solution

Plain sailing with licence-free radio

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), the venue for the sailing competition at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is using a new licence-free two-way radio system to manage its facilities.

The venue, which will host some of the most exciting sailing these shores have ever seen, now uses Icom’s latest IC-F27SR PMR466 hand-portable radio to help coordinate its many varied operations.

The Academy has been running for six years and receives no ongoing funding, so has to run many different business streams to cover its overheads. These include events, conferencing and catering. With 25 members of staff it is vital that each business is managed efficiently and effectively, so good communication is vital.

Great example

Chris Knight, the centre’s business manager, said: ‘We hold a lot of sailing events throughout the year and 2012 is no exception. This year is a great example of how pivotal the Academy is to sailing in the UK.

‘Obviously the Olympics is an important spectacle coming to the South West but surprisingly it is not the largest event we deal with. Some of the sailing events are actually much bigger. Not only do we manage yachting events, but we look after dinghy, windsurfing, sea swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking as well.

‘With the high volume of activity at the Sailing Academy we need dependable radio equipment that provides reliable communications in the marine environment. We already use IC-M71 VHF marine hand portable radios and IC-F110M marine base stations to help organise the many high profile international events on the water. However, we now use the Icom IC-F27SR licence-free two-way radio as a land-based radio solution.’

Knight added: ‘The simplicity of the IC-F27SR means that a variety of our staff can use the radios. They provide good communications for on-site staff between offices and operational staff on the pontoons, in the dinghy park or in the Yacht yards.

Customer service

‘To ensure that the centre continues to flourish we have to be extremely focused on customer service. This is quite challenging as our customer base is varied and ever-changing so the licence-free comms have proved invaluable in providing effective on-site communications.’

Knight highlighted the importance of licence-free radios. He said: ‘They have helped improve our customer service, allowing us to communicate to our staff and provide resolution to enquiries in a timely fashion. It has also saved us a huge amount of money by taking away the use of mobile radios.

‘We use them a lot at the weekends where we have a lot of marshalling to do. Timing is critical in a lot of our events and getting people into their kit, getting them to their boats on time is of paramount importance. With the licence-free radios we can ensure that the whole team are on top of these pressures.’

So how have the radios performed? Knight has been impressed: ‘I love the battery life of these radios. They seem to go on forever without charge. The IC-F27SR covers our facilities and provides crystal-clear audio all of the time. As it operates on non-marine channels it can be used without interfering with ship-ship communications and does not require private marine channels to be used.’

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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