Comms Design helps big science to push new boundaries, and can help small science by bringing new ideas to market.

Big Science, big ideas

"On the vast plain known as the Pampa Amarilla (yellow prairie) in western Argentina, a new window on the universe is taking shape. There, the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory is studying the universe's highest energy particles, which shower down on Earth in the form of cosmic rays." - Jim Cronin, Nobel Laureate

The Comms Design Team were engaged in an exciting and challenging project to provide a bespoke digital radio communications network for the world's largest cosmic ray observatory.

This $50million international collaboration of 250 physicists and engineers from 18 nations seeks to determine the origin of extremely high-energy cosmic rays by means of a 3,000 sq km detector located in an unpopulated region of Mendoza Province, Western Argentina.

The Comms Design Team successfully ran a £2.4million programme to develop and commission a 1600-node custom digital radio network for the observatory. This 28-sector network covers an area equivalent to that of Greater London (inside the boundary of the M25 motorway). The radio system was designed to operate for 20+ years in the rugged and inaccessible environment of a desert.

Tasks Undertaken

  • Radio network planning, including propagation simulations and an on-site measurement campaign
  • Microwave backhaul route planning
  • Radio equipment design for a 915MHz frequency hopping TDMA system
  • Development of bespoke air-access protocols appropriate for the data payload
  • Equipment manufacture and supply (1750 digital radios shipped to site)
  • Regulatory Type Approval (radios were type approved and homologated for use in Argentina)
  • Specification of all towers and antennas
  • Installation of all tower antenna and feeder systems, including microwave backhaul equipment
  • Full installation of all radio equipment in tower shelters

We are very proud of our participation in this world class experiment and invite you to take a look into the fascinating world of ultra-high energy cosmic ray astronomy.

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Small Science, big potential

Comms Design doesn't just work with big science experiments. We work with Universities and academia to help 'spin-out' ideas and bring them to market. The award-winning Ultracane is an example of this, where Comms Design worked closely with scientists at Leeds University to refine their initial concept and prototypes.

Our experience means we can understand your concept and offer valuable advice on where to take your innovative ideas and work with you to make them into practical products and business propositions on a small or large scale.