Orbiter Times Races on 42 ft. wide starts: Note UHF antennas work best when the antennas are in the air. Placing an UHF antenna on the “ground” degrades performance as the “earth” is ground. Low Frequency RFID has better characteristics when place on the earth than UHF. Orbiter antennas are kept in free air.
See Pictures below: On a 42 ft. long start line (with chip time start.)
Economy: The entire race set up for this 42 ft start line is held by a single SUV, and incredibly with one paid race timer with volunteers. No package truck needed. This economy allows Orbiter race timers a competitive edge in the bidding process for both large and small events. Yet, maintain accurate times as any other system.
The key is bring a tape measure and allowing the spacing betweent the reader to exceed 15 feet apart. This is because the side lobe is 8 ft out on each side of the Orbiter.
This year we found that by placing the Orbiter back such that the whole front line of a packed course is read at distance works well. This is because everyone on the line’s bibs are read exactly at the start, when the start button is pushed. The method of staging them back allows all the tags to be read as people stand on the start “line”. Then as people spread out, continue reading new tags as they become visible on the line. Placing a line backer down the road then allows for any missed tags to be picked up. (If there are any missed tags, that are picked up by the linebacker, these will be shown and the extra time taken to get to this point deducted.) Competitive systems also provide back up with an additional line of mats or readers. You should get 100% on the start line and the line backer not needed but just in case the same as in other systems.
1 volunteer per Orbiter deploys the Orbiters minutes before the race. They walk out from the sides rolling the Orbiters into position. A person standing behind each and holding them for the five or ten minutes until the thousands of runners pass. The Orbiters shine RF directly at the chest where the chips are located on the Bib. This also works for reading Orbiter shoe tags. No Orbiter are in position until minutes before the race starts. This way cameras have an unobstructed view for taking pictures of the line up on the start. After the start people crowed thru the Orbiter and the volunteers cannot be seen.
As a note, after such races there has been not one person mentioning anything odd about the start set up.
The only people that dislike this set up are competitors. They claim race directors don’t like it. Frankly, this is not so, as Race Directors appreciate the ease, speed and economy of the set up. Having generators and packs of pelican boxes with cables that can disconnect from the many antennas is a hassle and creates risk that their system may partially go down. Orbiter reduces risk as there are fewer moving parts….All In One Setup…each Orbiter works independently of each other with their own battery power supply and no cables. If there ever is a failure with one, the linebacker fills the gap.
After the start, the Orbiters are instantly rolled away and readied for the finish. In the case of the picture below the finish was to the left of the start shown. By the way, for 10 years, myLaps (Champion Chip) had a similar lay out for starts. They placed pelican control boxes in the middle of the start line. They also had people stand with the systems to keep people from running into them.
The big advantage with Orbiter is instant set up as the Orbiters are ‘on’ when rolled out. This allows them to be positioned instantly before the start providing the best in visuals and economy.
This years’ race will be even bigger…