TOPR [Tatrzanskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe], founded in 1909, is a government funded organisation that provides Mountain rescue services in the Polish Tatras mountains and reports on weather and avalanche conditions.
A key part of the infrastructure that supports these services is a permanently manned rescue shelter high in the Tatras mountains. Having search and rescue personnel stationed at 1,700 meters, offers much faster access to large parts of the region in times of emergency.
The isolated PMR base station on the tower close to the rescue shelter covered local communication needs, but it was not interconnected with the other base stations in the network. Because of this, rescuers didn’t have connection with the rest of their team in the valley, nor with helicopters scrambled to support search and rescue missions. Staff at the rescue shelter were forced to use GSM services for communication with colleagues, but with very limited success. Being a mountainous region there were many coverage blind spots and the GSM channel was showing capacity limitations due to increased usage by tourists.
A decision was taken within TOPR to source and commission a reliable link between the Base stations at the rescue shelter and below in the valley, providing secure communications within TOPR using a private PMR licensed radio with Kairos trunk connection. Initial hopes of using a 5GHz microwave link were dropped when link analysis showed this was not possible due to the distance and NLOS environment.
RACOM’s RipEX radio was then identified as being the optimal solution. Despite the NLOS environment and 15 km link distance, network throughput using RipEX is enough for effective PMR base station communications. Indeed, this radio modem provides sufficient coverage and speed, with a 50 kHz channel to easily meet all end user need. Operating at 450 MHz on the UHF band using 16DEQAM modulation, 140 kbps and powered at 2W, RipEX passed every test with flying colours.
With high resistance to multipath propagation and interference, an industrial hardened design and the ability to work seamlessly in extreme conditions, RipEX is sure to be helping TOPR save lives in the Tatras Mountains for many years to come.