A Submarine Expedition Needed Reliable Comms—Clear-Com Delivered

Submarine pilots take their sub to great depths with communications provided by Clear-Com.
(Image credit: Clear-Com)

Germany-based wireless cameras and comms specialist HDwireless chose Clear-Com digital wireless solutions supplied by Audio-Technica to power its comms during a submarine expedition to the bottom of the deepest lake in Austria, part of a research project (“Tiefenrausch”) meant to discover “the sound of the Earth.”

The expedition spanned five 12-hour days, and reliable communication technology was essential, in part because the crew had to obtain approval from the Austrian military to sail out to the dive site each day.  Ultimately, HDwireless decided to use Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak Edge Wireless System due to the wide range of possible applications and its perfect audio quality, according to Patrick Nußbaum, managing director at HDwireless. “We were not only responsible for the communication within the submarine and to the crew ashore, but we also used the FreeSpeak Edge system for the entire broadcast sound of the television transmission,” explained Nußbaum.

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Once at the dive site, “at a depth of nearly 200 meters, you have to be really safe,” Nußbaum continued. “If you’re out there and have no way to communicate with the submarine, the OB van or the crew on land, you have a real problem. It’s a big security factor.”

Clear-Com products on a table ready to use on a submarine expedition.

(Image credit: Clear-Com)

The submarine was manned by four people: a pilot, a co-pilot, a presenter for the TV show, and a guest, all of whom were equipped with FreeSpeak Edge beltpacks. The intent of the submarine’s voyage was to retrieve a hydrophone previously sunk to the bottom of the lake, which, along with other recording devices, captured the sounds made by the Earth.

All crew members on the submarine could communicate with each other and send their feeds to the TV production’s OB van on land, which was equipped with an Eclipse HX Digital Matrix System and V-Series Iris Keypanels. The crew on the land and pontoon boat were also able to communicate via the Agent-IC mobile app.

In fact, the crew didn’t use any additional audio equipment; the production relied solely on Clear-Com systems. “That was one big reason we chose Clear-Com,” Nußbaum said. “The products simply work. And we would do this all again using that equipment.”

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Clear-Com and Audio-Technica solutions and products at work with three people helping a submarine expedition.

(Image credit: Clear-Com)

HDwireless is the go-to specialist when it comes to wireless comms and camera solutions in Europe, and they heavily favor Clear-Com equipment. Other applications using Clear-Com include TV shows, corporate events, music productions and large sports events like Formula 1 and the 24-hour motorsports race at the Nürburgring, the biggest racetrack in Germany.

Nußbaum said he will always use Clear-Com products not only because they work well, but because of the company’s excellent customer support. “When you’re planning challenging projects like this, when there are sudden changes or problems, or when you need additional equipment at very short notice, outstanding support is crucial—and Audio-Technica as the German distributor, as well as the colleagues at Clear-Com in Europe and the USA, provide us with this.” 

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When asked the ultimate question, “what sound does the earth make?” Nußbaum laughed. “I don’t want to make it.”

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