Located in Sudbury, Canada, and home to two of the country’s world-class science centres, Science North is one of Northern Canada’s top destination for tourists and educational resources for schools. The earth science centre, Dynamic Earth – Home of the Big Nickel, takes visitors on a journey through time via several dynamic exhibits, including the famous, guided underground tour exploring a real nickel mine that takes visitors seven stories (22-meters) underground.

With the safety of its visitors and staff always paramount, Sr. Manager for Science Programs Jennifer Beaudry and her team determined that their existing analog-based two-way radio platform was fast-becoming worn and dated, so a decision was made to upgrade to a digital platform. With their global experience working predominately in the mining industry, Ms. Beaudry turned to leading mining industry partner, Becker Varis, to take on the project.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Science North’s transition to a digital radio mobile communications system is not the notion that the use of the radios and equipment is integral in the everyday operation of their exhibits and facilities, but more so that the importance of modern, reliable radio communication is also part of the show - the education program shared with visitors on the tour. Guides spend considerable time discussing the mission-critical nature of communication systems for mining workers.

The tour also includes some interactive components where visitors get to use the radios and equipment themselves, providing Science North guests a truly hands-on experience.

In addition to ensuring a slick look-and-feel of the radio units, there are several functional factors why the switch to a customized digital Hytera solution was recommended by the Becker Varis project team.


The two-way radios are used by all staff, including visitor tour guides. One of the chief requirements of updated equipment was to develop and enable a dynamic user tracking system. The new system had to provide users with the functionality to track where visitor groups or staff physically are at any given time.

Channel Noise and Dead Zones:

Because of the nature and depths of the environment, reliable communication channels were always a primary concern. The antiquated equipment that was in use was starting to show its wear and tear, resulting in decreasing quality of signal. Even with Becker-Varis’ Leaky Feeder system in place, an upgrade to the equipment would help to eliminate some of the dead zones.

Dedicated Channels

Due to the nature of day-to-day operations, there was a need for more flexibility when configuring dedicated channels. By adding Hytera Super Repeaters the team was able to create dedicated channels and user groups (Supervisors, Technical Services Team, Parking/Events staff, Emergency, etc.). These dedicated channels resulted in more clarity and efficiency of communication throughout the organization.

The PD6 Series handheld radio units used throughout the entire organization were selected for their versatility and design as well as the seamless transition from an analog system. The compact and lightweight design of the radios can also easily be carried in the bluecoat pockets of staff uniforms, or for those working below ground, harnessed to their mining belts or overalls. Additionally, the sleek and ultra-modern design make the PD6 Series an ideal radio to demonstrate during the hundreds of tours done annually.

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28 December 2017

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