Short range radio

Live data is essential in competitions for delivering information to organisers or speakers. It enhances the overall experience for spectators and competitors. For spectators, it is far less spectacular to watch an event like orienteering, MTB Enduro, trail, and so on, by having only the final results. The competitors in the forest or on the track might at some stage pass by the competition arena, but most of the time they are invisible for the spectators. With the use of additional SPORTident equipment (SI radios and receivers), live data can be produced to provide more information for the speaker and the public, like the position in the race of the participants, allowing them to make race predictions and to analyse the respective split times.

The following SPORTident products are specifically designed for SRR (short range radio):

Data radios Data receivers

BSF8-SRR

SRR USB Dongle (connects to a PC)

SIAC

SI-GSM (GSM modem)

The collected data can be processed by a web service or used directly by evaluation software (see section Live data).

Sender device: BSF8-SRR

radio bsf8 srr

BSF8-SRR station

The special SI-Station BSF8-DB is additionally equipped with SRR modules. It enables wireless transmission of SPORTident data records over distances of up to 8 metres. The radio is working in the licence free 2.4 GHz radio band and can be used worldwide.

The data from a direct punch with a SI-Card is transmitted to a receiver. The BSF8-SRR can be configured as a normal station in the operating modes CLEAR, CHECK, START, CONTROL and FINISH.

Other operating modes are not supported in conjunction with Short Range Radio.

A typical application for SI-SRR is the so called online controls in orienteering sport. Because the control point in orienteering can be placed at nearly any position in any terrain, a wired data transmission from the control station can be inconvenient or even impossible. SI-SRR creates a wireless data bridge to a receiver or repeater mounted some metres away. The receiver (SRR USB Dongle) can be connected directly to a computer and a repeater (SI-GSM) can be used to send the data to a web service.

SI-SRR uses two radio channels (named ‘red’ and ‘blue’) to achieve a robust data transmission with a low error rate. While the SRR stations uses the two channels simultaneously, the data receivers (SRR USB Dongle) always work on one and the same channel.

BSF8-SRR configuration by using Config+:

1. Read the station in remote mode by clicking on Settings.

2. The following advanced settings have to be set:

  • Enable Auto send

  • Disable Legacy protocol

radio srr config
To avoid unnecessary energy consumption, the setting Auto send should only be activated when a radio receiver is present.

Sender device: SIAC radio

The SIAC features an inbuilt radio to deliver timing data to a receiver and for online transmission. The SIAC’s radio is disabled by default. The radio is activated by a special signal sent from the BSF7/8 respectively BS11 station.

When punching a control, the information is always stored in the memory of the SIAC. The BSF7/8 and BS11 stations can optionally be configured such that their signals tell the SIACs in range to transmit the punch details along with the SI card number. For using this feature, the BSF7/8 stations must be configured in beacon mode (the BS11 stations are always in beacon mode) to enable the radio options in the AIR+ settings area. Essentially, during each contactless punching the station tells the SIAC which data to send via its radio (the default setting is no radio).

The receiver is ideally placed very close to the control. The transmission distance from the SIAC to a receiver should be kept in a range of no more than 8 metres. .

If a BSF8-SRR station is configured as a beacon control and is punched with a SIAC in the contactless way, the data stored in the SIAC (depending on the configured settings) will be sent to the receiver by the SIAC. The radio of the SRR station has no function at that moment.
The SIAC’s power consumption is significantly increased when using its radio. Therefore, the SIAC’s radio should only be activated by a control station if a receiver for radio data is mounted nearby.

Programming the radio options in Config+:

1. Read the station by clicking on Settings.

2. Click on the field of the operating mode (below the control number). The different options are shown. Choose the desired beacon function.

config operatingmodes airplus

3. Four different SIAC radio options can be chosen in the AIR+ settings area:

  • No radio: This is the default setting. It should only be changed if radios will be used during the event to avoid unnecessary consumption of battery power of the SIAC.

  • Send last record: Transmits the most recently received record. This is normally, the ‘punching’ of the control where the radio is mounted.

  • Send all unsent records: Transmits all the records not yet successfully transmitted.

  • Send all card contents: Transmit all the records stored in the SIAC’s memory.

In cases where a SI-GSM receiver (repeater) is used, it is possible that the data is transmitted with a certain delay, depending on the coverage of the GSM network. If for any reason the information cannot be sent because of a momentary poor coverage, the information is not transmitted to the monitoring software and thus not available for further use. The SIAC is of course not aware of this delay. When using ‘Send all unsent records’ at the next transmission point, the SIAC will only send the new records recorded after the previous transmission point. We recommend not to send more than three records at once.

Receiver device: SRR USB Dongle

radio srr dongle

SRR USB Dongle

The SRR USB Dongle receives data records sent by a BSF8-SRR or a SIAC. The device features an USB interface for easy connection with a PC, laptop or other standard communication equipment.

The SRR USB Dongle can manage up to eight logical radio links. There is no upper limit for data sources working in ad-hoc mode. SIAC always works in this mode.

Although the radios are working on two radio channels simultaneously, the SRR USB Dongle only works on one radio channel permanently. This channel has to be configured by Config+. When using the radio signal from the SIAC, this signal is only available for a very short time due to the speed of the participants. This is especially the case for MTB or ski competitions of any kind. Therefore, to profit from the frequency agility of the SI-SRR, two receivers are required, respectively operating at the red and blue channel. Both SRR USB Dongles are connected to the computer.

For correct functionality it is important to check that the SRR USB Dongles and occasionally other receivers in the neighbourhood do not work at the same radio channel.

Configuring the radio channel of the SRR USB Dongle in Config+:

1. Plug the SRR USB Dongle in a USB port of the computer and click on Settings.

radio dongle config

2. Choose the radio channel for the dongle. If you only use a single dongle, there is no preferred channel, both are identical from the technical point of view. It is recommended using two dongles, one working on the red and the second on the blue radio channel to avoid occasional loss of information.

radio dongle channel

3. The default setting for the communication protocol is the ‘AIR+ protocol’. Unless an older evaluation software is used, this setting should not be changed.

radio dongle protocol
The SRR USB Dongle can manage up to eight connected SRR stations. There is no upper limit for collecting information from transmitting SIACs.

Receiver device: SI-GSM

radio modem

SI-GSM

The SI-GSM modem features two built in SRR receiver modules (red and blue) and automated data transmission to a web service by using the mobile network. No SRR-specific configuration is needed.

The SI-GSM modem is delivered ready to use by SPORTident. This means that a SIM card is already mounted inside of the box. The SIM card offers a general service and automatically selects the best signal provider. The SI-GSM is equipped with two receivers, one for the red and one for the blue channel. Each SI-GSM has its unique identification number. This is important as it will be used to identify the device that is sending data to the monitoring or evaluation software.

As the SI-GSM is delivered with an active SIM card, costs for the use of the device will be based on the number of runners per event and day.

Please contact support@sportident.com for more information.

The SI-GSM is turned on by holding the SPORTident instruction card on/off switch against the I/O label until the LCD screen becomes active. To turn it off, the switch needs to be kept against the I/O label for about 4 seconds. A blinking orange LED confirms the turning off procedure until the LCD display is empty.

The SI-GSM has a rechargeable battery and need to be charged before application. Therefore, the stations are equipped with a standard mini USB connector. The stations need to be connected directly to a USB port of the computer or with an adapter to the socket. To assure the waterproofness of the stations, the mini USB connectors are protected and you should ensure to always put the protector back on after charging.

See section LCD display information / SI-GSM for display information explanation.

When using the SI-GSM, testing of the availability of a decent GSM network at the desired location might be necessary prior to the competition. This can easily be done by punching a classic SI-Card in a BSF8-SRR station or with a (switched on) SIAC and a station in beacon mode.

Reading the SI-GSM in Config+:

radio gsm config

The settings of the SI-GSM can be read in Config+ by selecting the device and clicking on Settings. The settings are visible but cannot be modified. The SI-GSM is delivered preconfigured and any changes would only disturb the correct operation of the device. The default operating time is 96 hours, which is identical to the capacity of the battery. In a normal use case the device should be manually switched off. The buttons Backup and View punch will provide the needed information in the same way as any other SI device.

Show received data in Config+

Config+ features a simple monitor function to visualize the SRR functionality. Select a SRR USB Dongle or a SI-GSM (it has to be ‘on’) as target device and choose the feature View punch in the main toolbar. The devices will immediately show the data received from a BSF8-SRR station or a SIAC (instructed to send its data). The available information is slightly different between a classic and an AIR+ punch.

radio view punch

The first row shows the information for a classic punch, the second one for a SIAC. Here, information is given about the configuration of the station that gave instructions to the SIAC (in this example Beacon Control 44 – radio Send last record – punching mode – No gate). It also displays information about the used SIAC (for example Battery OK).

This feature in Config+ allows you to test the equipment that will be used before the competition.