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Cango Caves boasts first for Africa

Cango Caves boasts first for Africa
Deon Saayman, Steve Mouton (head guide), Sean Mervitz (Kenwood), Hein Gerstner (Manager: Cango Caves) and Alison Moos (Operations Manager: Cango Caves). Photo: Jacques Swart
OUDTSHOORN NEWS - A first for Africa and quite possibly a first for the world. This is how a modern communications system installed at the Cango Caves, a World Heritage site, has been described.

Modern technology has been applied to the Cango Caves where a Kenwood Nexedge Digital communications system has been deployed, boasting 100 percent underground coverage. "As the Cango Caves is the largest show caves of its kind in Africa, I would not be surprised if this is not only a first for Africa but a first for the world," said Steve Mouton, Cango Caves head guide, speaking at the official unveiling of the new system last Friday. Mouton added that all communications proved to be troublesome until now. "This new digital system is the first to address our needs."

The system boasts techno-logy used at Heathrow Airport, Bulgarian airports as well as universities and hospitals in the USA.
According to Hein Gerstner, Cango Caves Manager, the need for a comprehensive and reliable communications system, was already recognised twenty years ago. "We approached several suppliers in that time and all of them failed. It is only now that modern technology has allowed us to install a fully functioning digital communications system." Gerstner said that the depths of the underground caves posed a challenge to digital communications systems. "We also required the entire system to be hidden from sight and be invi-sible to tourists."

The system consists of seven antennaes with cables and wiring. A battery pack allows for up to 12 hours back-up power.
John Fraser from J&E Communications in Oudtshoorn explained that he was required to install four 'repeaters', all linked via optic cable. "Several repeaters can be located at va-rious sites. The handsets function on a mini voting system whereby they search for the repeaters and lock onto them automatically. What we can add onto our system is a cellphone or a switchboard modem. Then a user may be able to phone from a cell phone or landline to one of the radios, or phone out from a radio. Additional software will also allow a person to speak to one of the guides from any laptop anywhere in the world."

Fraser said that the Oudts-hoorn Municipality already uses a wireless network linked to the internet. The Caves system can now be linked to the existing municipal emergency digital system, allowing immediate communication in case of any emergency.
"We believe in long-term relationships," said Sean Mervitz, Manager Kenwood Domestic Maket. Kenwood's Nexedge two way radio system is used in this project. "The product will evolve as you add features and adapt the system to suit your needs.
Lazer-mapping of the caves, immediate data capturing or the immediate capturing and relaying of video from within the depths of the caves are all future possibilities."

Mervitz said that the successful application of this project would serve as grounds for an international case study by Kenwood. "This is a marker that has left a legacy. Our minds are filled with wonderful future possibilities."

Deon Saayman, Steve Mouton (head guide), Sean Mervitz (Kenwood), Hein Gerstner (Manager: Cango Caves) and Alison Moos (Operations Manager: Cango Caves). Photo: Jacques Swart

'We bring you the latest Oudtshoorn | Klein-Karoo news'

06:00 (GMT+2), Fri, 30 August 2013
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