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Proven Performerby: AFM Editorial Staff
© February 2009
Top programs are increasingly choosing the DX300 sideline communications system from HME for its proven reliability and superior features.
Steve Lineweaver knows about reliable performance. As head coach of the Trinity Trojans in Euless, Texas, Lineweaver has built one of the most consistently outstanding high school programs in the nation. With 5A Division I state titles in 2005 and 2007 and a national top ranking for most of the 2008 season, the Trojans perform in high-profile, high-pressure situations every week.
Coach Lineweaver and his staff understand that without the program evolving and adapting, continued success would be difficult. Whether tweaking the X’s and O’s in the playbook, finding cutting-edge training methods for the off-season, or investing in the latest technology, Trinity is always looking to find a way to raise their level of performance. One priority they needed to address in 2008 was sideline communications.
With seven coaches on the sideline and four in the press box for each game, good communication between coaches is important, and reliable performance of Trinity’s wireless headset communications system is critical. “The ability to recognize opponents’ alignments and tendencies and to communicate that information to the sideline is essential,” said Lineweaver. “Knowing that the headsets are going to work is one less concern for the staff.”
So, prior to last season, Trinity switched to an all-new communications system – the DX300 from HME – that has given the Coach Lineweaver the confidence in his staff communication to match the Trojans’ confidence on the field. “When it comes time to play, the last thing on a coach’s mind is if his headset will work,” said Lineweaver. “The dependability of the HME DX300 system gives our staff a sense of security. The durability and dependability are the two features that sold us on the product.”
Trinity is not alone in making the switch to HME. Top programs around the country have become DX300 users as more and more coaches discover the proven performance and superior features that come with every system.
Some might consider this success surprising for a product that’s been on the market for less than two years, but not HME’s Pro Audio Product manager Rick Molina. “HME has been in business for over 35 years and we actually introduced the first wireless intercom system for professional users in 1979,” according to Molina. “The DX300 is the latest in a long line of HME wireless intercom systems. We sell and service our wireless products in over 95 countries and we have been granted 29 patents.”
Another program sold on the superiority of the DX300 system is Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, California. Led by Head Coach Bryon Hamilton, who AFM readers will recognize as the developer of the Shotgun Zone Fly offense, the Foothill Cougars achieved a perfect 12-0 season and a California Northern Section Division I title in 2007 – despite having an unreliable headset system. “We had suffered through several key games where our previous headsets failed to work or quit working in the middle of a game,” recalled Hamilton. “Our old set was very inconsistent and that is something that no football coach or team can accept in any phase of the game, including communication.”
After a full season using HME’s DX300 system, unreliable communication between coaches is no longer an issue for Hamilton and his staff. “One word can describe the HME system – consistent. The HME headsets never failed us,” he said. “Having good communication is vitally important and I’m confident, after using the HME system for a season, that we won’t have to worry about losing our communications in a game ever again. As a head coach, that’s priceless.”
While dependability in a headset communications system usually refers to having uninterrupted signals during games, it can also mean having units that will stand up to the more physical demands that sometimes occur during games. Ask any coach who has, mistakenly or intentionally, dropped his headset during a game and had communications disconnected. “Knowing that dropping a headset or belt pack is not going to kill the entire system is invaluable,” Coach Lineweaver remarked.
Reliable headset performance is critical to coaches, but so is ease of setup and use. In these areas, the DX300 shines. According to Jason Caruso, who is Trinity High School’s Tech Coordinator for football, the HME system excels because of its simplicity. “Size, ease of setup and breakdown, along with versatility and durability, are the system’s most important features for us,” said Caruso. With 11 Trinity coaches using the system every game, easy set up and operations are critical.
Even for the smaller Foothill Cougar program, which has only four coaches on the sideline and two in the booth on their DX300 system during games, having a system that is user-friendly has made a difference. “The system is very easy to use,” commented Coach Hamilton. “The phones themselves are very light and easy to set up. The whole process is simple and reliable, which is a big asset to our staff.”
Battery performance is, of course, critically important for any headset communication system. The duration of the charge and the re-charging process are two additional areas that can sometimes frustrate coaches. But, in the case of the DX300, these issues are not a concern. “The battery life was incredible and the charging base is simple to use,” said Foothill’s Hamilton.
As you might expect from a company that has been a pioneer in wireless communications, the technology built into the battery system of HME’s DX300 is superior. “Constant monitoring of the battery condition in our Communicator® is unnecessary since you don’t have to take it out of service while the battery is being charged,” said HME’s Molina. “You just snap in another battery from our stand alone four-port battery charger and go about your business. The communicators will let you know to change batteries about fifteen to twenty minutes before they need to be charged. With up to twenty hours on a full charged battery, most users will never hear the ‘change battery’ message.”
Cutting-edge technology is also responsible for the DX300’s clear, reliable signal that coaches experience during games. “To ensure secure, uninterrupted communication, the DX300 uses encryption and dual-slot diversity,” according to Molina. “We’ve used Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum with TDMA in our products for years and knew it could be improved. We actually encrypt the audio and transmit it twice, at different times and different hop frequencies, then select the strongest returned signal on our diversity antenna system. We believe in redundancy when so much is on the line.” In layman’s terms, HME adds tech features unique to the DX300 to make sure your game-time signals are stronger and clearer than you’ve ever experienced before. Jason Caruso of Trinity confirms, “The DX300 is clearer and less likely to have interference.”
Consistent, dependable, durable, simple to use. All words used by two top coaches to describe the DX300 headset communications system from HME after using it for an entire season. If you’re one of the hundreds of programs that will be looking for improved, more reliable sideline communications this off-season, take a tip from Steve Lineweaver and Bryon Hamilton and look into HME’s revolutionary, yet affordable DX300.
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