Fern Communications (FernCom), a Lowestoft-based authorised Hytera dealer has developed and deployed a purpose-built Hytera multi-site digital trunked radio system to provide the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm project and surrounding area with reliable communications The company was selected by Galloper’s principal marine services contractor, James Fisher Marine Services, to provide communications along the Galloper transit routes and across the Galloper Field. However, soon afterwards, FernCom was asked by other subcontractors to develop a similar solution and this challenge led to the creation of Wavecom. Wavecom is based on a Hytera DMR Tier III solution and provides coverage to all existing and future planned wind farm sites off the East Anglian coast. It is intended to manage high radio traffic, maximising available capacity across user groups.

Siemens Games, Wavecom’s first customer, is using the system to integrate their offshore Marine Control Centre with portables and vessel radios working in the ports, the transit routes and the Galloper Field. The users have always had difficulty operating the hand portable radios inside turbine towers at sea, but Wavecom’s unique solution and the Hytera devices ensure they can now communicate with the wider system.

The Wavecom system is integrated with a range of Hytera portable radios with Marine VHF, data messaging and dispatcher workstations. The chosen radio handset is the Hytera PD755, selected due to its digital display and rugged, waterproof design. The Hytera SmartXPT dispatcher console provides a centralised control hub to and direct the DMR radio fleet, and enables text messaging to single or multiple handsets and voice transmission recording. Another feature offered by SmartXPT is crosspatch that allows two separate companies working on site to communicate through a private channel for inter-company communications.

According to Hytera, Wavecom offers a high level of redundancy and is monitored by a comprehensive diagnostic alarm control system designed and built by FernCom to monitor the environmental conditions in which the communications equipment is kept. Sensors are set-up to identify issues with power, cables or antenna and any problems will trigger an alert to the dedicated support team who can resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

To recognise the work undertaken in developing Wavecom, FernCom engineer James Cleverly was recently awarded the Hytera Engineering Award.