Wireless Technology Keeping the Grass Even Greener

Wireless tech keeps the grass green

The sun shines bright as it rises in the distant horizon shimmering across the lake of a magnificent golf course.  You pull the sock off your favorite Big Bertha driver excited as you meander to the tee box for your first shot of the day.  Your mind clears from the stresses of work with the endless meetings, emails, and phone calls.  The breeze softly blows by as the grass dances putting you in a trance.  Time stops for a brief moment and you are in disbelief that you finally are able to spend a quiet day playing 18 holes.  As you tee up your ball, you peer down the fairway planning how you will execute your shot when you notice the perfectly manicured grass and wonder how do they keep it so green?  It is perfection, like the lines your wife leaves after vacuuming the carpet.  The deep green relaxes you as your club launches your Titleist 375 yards gracefully delivering your ball just a foot from the pin.

There is one secret to green grass, water and lots of it.  The average golf course thirsts for 35 million gallons of water a year.  To effectively get this water evenly spread over the 18 holes requires upwards of 1,500 sprinklers spaced 70-80 feet apart.  The average course runs sprinklers for about 8  hours a day, everyday.  To effectively control a massive system such as this takes advanced technology.  When golf courses are designed, the irrigation system is carefully engineered to keep the grass green, minimize water usage and do all this while remaining hidden to anyone on the course. Irrigation companies use numerous sensors deployed that will note the temperature, humidity, and moisture within the turf to properly irrigate the golf course and keep it green.  Sprinkler heads are controlled wirelessly through a 450 MHz paging system allowing the 1,500 sprinkler heads to be remotely controlled automatically.  The wireless sensors have technical limitations in range as well as FCC transmission guidelines to comply with.   To effectively install and maintain the wireless 450 MHz irrigation systems require an advanced tool that can measure the signal strength.  Engineers need to measure how well the RF (Radio Frequency) signals propagate within the confines of a given course to maintain adequate signal coverage.  When designing a wireless network there is even a need to factor in wireless obstructions such as leaf foliage.  The leaves on trees hold a tremendous amount of water which attenuates a radio frequency signal greatly affecting propagation characteristics. There is also a need to verify that there are no other ‘interfering’ signals within the same band in adjacent properties.

Irrigation companies turn to BVS for our Mongoose™ signal strength meter to tackle their wireless challenges.  The Mongoose unit is a ruggedized calibrated field instrument that effectively measures the 450-470 MHz band aiding in installation and maintenance of the wireless network.

Next time you are driving down the fairway or putting for birdie, stop for a moment and enjoy your day away from reality.  In the back of your mind you might even think of Irrigation companies and BVS who are working behind the scenes to ensure the grass stays green.

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