Democratic National Convention
Mobility Locations
A behind-the-scenes peek at this historic event

These pictures provided by Rick Zach, Chief Engineer at WCVB-TV Channel 5. Click here to return to the main page for this article.

Many WCVB-TV live locations were strategically located to maximize news coverage of the local story: "How the DNC effected the City of Boston and it's citizens"

Historic Faneuil Hall
The very old and the very new

This truck was used to send news feeds via satellite

The air conditioned and well-equipped interior. Provided a great location to quickly edit news stories in the field.

This mast supported both a microwave transmitting dish and a mast-mounted camera to provide elevated views of crowd scenes. The crowd scenes never happened...

The WCVB Rover Team

A three-person rover team was created to provide unprecedented live coverage from many secured protest areas that could not be accessed by ENG vehicles. Much like a SWAT Team, their exact mission could not be predicted until events unfolded.

This was WCVB's first-time-ever attempt at foot-mobile, battery powered electronic news gathering. A microwave transmitter was located inside the red backpack. The large blue backpack carried spare batteries, communications gear and personal safety equipment.

Rover team members:

Scott Nadeau, Microwave Technician

Kelly Tuthill, Reporter

Steve Menard, Videographer

The rover team had no shortage of volunteers including Kelly Tuthill who was a brand new mother of four months. (Kelly's baby was conveniently born after the New Hampshire primaries.) The green bag on Steve's hip contains tear gas protection equipment. Dual channel radio headsets enabled cueing in one ear with two-way radio communications back to the Needham control room in the other ear. Trial and error finally identified an interference-free coordinated communications channel in a very RF-hostile environment. One lesson learned the hard way was the need for greatly beefed-up strain reliefs on the microwave RF cables.

A rover team narrative by Scott Nadeau:

    "Dressed in sunglasses and non-media identifying clothes (due to recent security threats), 2 backpacks (1 large pack for extra gear & 1 small pack for the transmitter), battery belt, headphones, 2 belt clipped radios, numerous cables, and a suspicious pole with an attached horn, it should have come as no surprise to have to field numerous questions from curious passersby as well as law enforcement personnel. Most questions were of the generic type, such as "What are you doing?" or "What is that pole thingy you have?" The question was easily answered with a simple, "It's a video transmitter for channel 5 news.

    "As the first few days passed, and the people and protesters became more and more unusual, I endeavored to dodge as many questions as possible by feigning being intensely involved in important headset radio communication. Caught without my headsets on the final day of the convention, there was one question which I had never anticipated I would have to answer: "No, I am not gathering intelligence for al-Qaeda by intercepting military helicopter radio communications."

What a world we live in!

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Posted: January 12 2005
Bob Lamm, SMPTE/New England Newsletter/Web Page Editor