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AFM Magazine

The Choice of Champions

Two San Diego area schools claim section championships with HME’s new DX300 headset system.
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As every coach will attest, effective and reliable communication between the coaches on the sideline and those in the press box is a critical element of any team’s success on the field. For two San Diego area high schools, this meant a change was needed for the 2007 season.

Head Coach Damian Gonzalez’s Division I Poway Titans were coming off an 8-6 season in 2006 where headset communication was sometimes an issue. “At certain schools we would pick up a lot of static on our headsets and that was bothersome,” said Gonzalez. Division III Cathedral Catholic, led by Head Coach Sean Doyle, faced even more serious issues during the team’s 6-6 campaign in ’06. “We had interference and at times a headset would just lose communications,” according to Doyle. “Communication with the coaches upstairs is vital in putting your best effort forward,” he added.

The solution for both Gonzalez and Doyle was replacing their sideline communications systems with DX300 systems from HME. In both cases, the results were dramatic. Poway finished 12-0 to claim their first-ever San Diego Section Championship and the Cathedral Dons ran the table in the Division III playoffs, compiled a 10-2 record and also won the Section crown.

For Poway’s Gonzalez, there’s no question that the DX300 system contributed to their undefeated season and helped with their march through the playoffs. “Our first playoff game was in a storm where we had over an inch of rain and 40 mph winds,” recalled Gonzalez. “Our system never skipped a beat – we had no loss of performance. There was no static, no interference – it was unbelievable. If we would have been using our previous headsets, they would have definitely shorted out.”

Cathedral’s Doyle also credits the DX300. “It was the best headset system I have ever used,” he said. “My coaches could focus on coaching instead of dealing with the communication system before or during the game.”

It’s rare to see a new product enter an established field and immediately generate such positive impact with coaches, but that’s exactly what the DX300 has done. To HME’s Pro Audio Product Manager Rick Molina, this comes as no surprise. “Although the HME name is new to the football community, we’ve been in business for over 35 years and actually introduced the first wireless intercom system for professional users in 1979,” said 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 have been granted 29 patents.”

Because the DX300 was designed specifically for high school and small college coaching staffs, simplicity, portability and ease of use were key considerations in the design process, according to HME’s Molina. “Our design objective was to make the DX300 as simple as possible to set up and operate while providing all the necessary features an engaged coaching staff would require,” he said.

In practice, according to the coaches who used the system during their respective championship seasons, this goal has been achieved. “The compactness of the system and ease of set-up were great,” commented Sean Doyle. Gonzalez agreed. “One of the best things we experienced with the DX300 this year was portability. The system is very compact and lightweight which is a huge plus for us,” he said. Poway’s Technical Coordinator Jason Lindquist was even more positive in his endorsement of the system. “The DX300 has been a smashing success for our coaches. It is lightweight, quick to set up and simple to operate, without sacrificing any essential features,” according to Jason.

Battery performance, of course, is critical to any headset system, and it’s here that HME offers a unique approach. “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,” commented 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 fully charged battery, most users will never hear the ‘change battery’ message.” For Coach Doyle of Cathedral, charging his system’s batteries is easier than ever. “Our old headsets had to charge for 12 hours where the DX300 took only a few hours.”

A long list of additional features sets the DX300 apart from other headset systems. For Gonzalez, it’s the ergonomic design. “The belt pack is so small and light, you hardly know it’s there,” he remarked. “We also have wireless headsets and they’re a huge bonus.” For Doyle, the DX300 multi-channel capabilities provided a communications edge during games. “The ability to communicate with all coaches at once and still have separate channels for offense and defense is great,” he said. “Any coach can switch back and forth between O and D, making it the most versatile system I know of.”

For the tech-savvy coach, or any coach that wants guaranteed performance, the DX300 offers advanced features that ensure clear, uninterrupted signals during the game. “The DX300 uses encryption and dual-slot diversity,” said Rick 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 frequencies, then select the strongest returned signal on our diversity antenna system. We believe in redundancy when so much is on the line.” Of course, the bottom line for coaches is performance, and it’s here that the DX300 shines. “The quality of the technology and the flexibility of the system allow us to maximize our communication during the game,” said Gonzalez.

Easy to set up and use, technologically advanced, loaded with features and affordable to every program in the country, the DX300 from industry pioneer HME provides the most important factor for any coaching staff – reliable game time communications. Can HME guarantee a championship season to every team who uses the DX300? No, but more than likely you’ll wind up agreeing with Poway’s Damian Gonzalez when he says, “It’s absolutely awesome! I wouldn’t give up that headset system if someone paid me.”


HME's DX300 helped the Poway Titans to a 12-0 record and a Sectional title.

All coaches face obstacles during the course of a season, but for Poway and Cathedral Catholic, the 2007 season presented a unique and deadly challenge – the massive Southern California wildfires that burned out of control for over a week in mid-October. The largest fire in San Diego County, the Witch Creek fire, tore through the North County region where both schools are located, forcing evacuations and cancellation of all football games the last weekend of the month. The numbers were staggering – over 1,000 homes destroyed and nearly 200,000 acres burned by the Witch Creek fire alone.

For Coach Damian Gonzalez and Poway, the fire had a devastating and lasting impact. “This season was a big challenge for our team and our community because of the fires,” he said. The Titans blue-chip tight end, Ryan Deehan, lost his house in the fire. “All of us felt for Ryan and his loss but it really did bring us closer together as a team” said Gonzalez. “Going undefeated has brought a positive thing into his life.”

Despite the tragedy, Coach Gonzalez saw positives in the fire’s aftermath. “After the fires, all of us were so excited to be back coaching and playing,” he recalled. “The community looked to us and we looked to the community for strength and it turned out to be a very positive and successful season for us.” Ironically, the primary shelter for evacuees, Qualcomm Stadium, also hosted the Section’s Championship games that capped both Cathedral’s and Poway’s winning seasons. It was a season that coaches and players will not forget anytime soon.

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