Wireless PA on the Cheap;-)

By | May 28, 2010

OK, so it’s swim season again for the Tracy Tritons. And we are going to host a big meet with 700+ swimmers age 4 to 18 years plus their families.

Our biggest concern is to make sure, everybody has updated information so that the meet can flow smoothly without much waiting for swimmers or volunteers.

So far we have a PA system around the pool. But the big grass area at the high school where we host the meet is like 150++ meters away from the pool. So our speakers will not reach there. Putting extra speakers that far away from the amp without a good way to run cables would need really heavy-duty cables if it would be possible at all.

So the idea was to find a wireless setup which could be placed somewhere in the grass area where there is a power outlet. The problem here is that most commercial systems have a wireless microphone which reaches 25-35 meters. And they are expensive when you need a larger, outdoor rated system 🙁

I’m running a Wi-Fi access point at the meets to basically let people check the meet information based on my mmweb code. So the idea was to add a streaming server to that host so that any Wi-Fi client could actually receive the PA stream as well. So we  set up a special client, which would send the stream to a second Amp somewhere in the field. The Wi-Fi client is based on the internet radio setup from MightyOhm. Unfortunately, the newer OpenWRT sources get pretty close to the flash limit of the Asus WL-520GU. So I had to build a very specialized image for my use.

So far, the setup works fine for a distance of two meters in my living room;-) Let’s see how it works over the weekend;-)

As always, have fun playing with stuff.

— Marco

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