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24 Dec 2015

Review: ClearCom FreeSpeak II

Real freedom of speech

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ClearCom would have to be regarded as one of the main big players in the comms industry, and with a comprehensive array of product spanning wired and wireless pointto- point and partyline systems, it’s little wonder.

The FreeSpeak platform has been around for long enough that it was time for an update, hence FreeSpeak II. The system is made up of a base station, one or more active antenna transceivers, beltpacks, and optional antenna splitters.

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The series II base station is basically the same as the original series I base, so with a little firmware update existing users of the platform can quickly be on the way to updating. The base station features dual partyline connectivity, plus PGM in and stage announce outputs, as well as four 4-wire ports and GPO connectivity. The front panel has a blue dot matrix display with adjacent rotary encoder / button for basic configuration. Optional connection to a ClearCom Matrix system, allows more advanced beltpack functionality – basically each beltpack works like a comms panel in the matrix system.

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Three versions of the base are available – we tested the mid-range “FreeSpeak II” base which supports up to 20 packs concurrently. Antenna splitters allow up to 5 antennae to be hooked into a single port on the base station – even remotely. Existing antenna splitters can also be used on the new platform after a simple modification (performed by the distributor).

FreeSpeak II operates at 1.9 or 2.4GHz, or even a combination of both bands if you want. The choice depends on which antennae and beltpacks you use. The base station supplies power and handles audio functions into and out of each transceiver, while the transceiver itself looks after all RF functions. 2.4GHz transceivers support up to four beltpacks each, while the 1.9GHz versions up this to five packs each. The base station has two antenna ports, but using splitters you can connect up to 10 antennae, allowing up to 50 packs to be used in one concurrent chunk of RF (at least in Australia – other countries have different limitations).

The FreeSpeak II antenna transceivers are IP65 rated, with rubber bungs to seal unused ports, and they can be wall mounted or simply attached to a microphone stand. While power is normally supplied via the base station, the transceivers can be locally powered too allowing for very long cable runs between the antenna and the base – up to 1000 metres! If multiple antennas are required in a remote location, a splitter can be remotely installed too.

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  • Brand: ClearCom
  • Model: FreeSpeak II
  • RRP: FreeSpeak II base AUD$23,815.00 FreeSpeak II Beltpack – AUD$4,135.00 FreeSpeak II Transceiver AUD$3,875.00 All prices include GST.
  • Product Info: www.clearcom.com
  • Distributor: www.jands.com.au

First published in CX Magazine (December, 2015)

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