If you’re considering purchasing a mat system, read this:
The picture below shows an example of a large race mat system being nailed down. This is to prevent the mat from being a trip hazard. Each row of mats can be ten times the weight of one Orbiter. Mats have up to 29 components to assemble and disassemble after each race and most need a package truck and several people to set up. Additionally, mats can not keep up with the flow of runners at very large races. Up to three need to be used. Because of this Orbiter is more time accurate than mats.
Mats also use delicate copper cables that fray with each winding and unwinding. This detuned the antenna and they need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.
Mats have copper antennas that also get detuned when run over by a vehicle. To attempt to counter this flaw, thick plastic fold-able mats are attempted to be use. They still fail and need to be upgraded prematurely. This is costly.
Mother earth grounds out UHF radio waves when the antenna is laid down. This side antennas are up off the ground. This is why the Orbiter system needs only one tag per bib to gain excellent read rates. This saves money and works reliably.
Orbiter invented and patented mobile side antenna technology for road running. Some of us have been timing events individually since the 1970’s, and as Orbiter since 2006. Our product is used for Olympic trials and events worldwide. As large major USA Marathon manager predicted, “future is side antennas, and mats will no longer be used.”
Plus, only Orbiter has turned the traditional heavy pelican timing box into software. We made it obsolete. We did this using “thread safe” software coding.
Orbiter’s simplicity means better control and dramatically lower timing costs with greater accuracy. The ability to time any human powered event, whether small or very large, means greater business opportunities. The ability for one person to arrive to the race without a site survey and set up and time even large races quickly and easily means lower costs.
Orbiter has a Reprocessing button that allows configurations of the race to be changed on the fly and even after the race. Reprocessing saves races because it allows setup errors to be corrected even after a race.
Mats take a long time to lay down. Orbiter side antenna detectors are better way-points because they set up so quickly and are more economical. Plus, their 24 volt ‘in the air’ batteries keep up with the flow of major Marathons. This is unlike mat systems where ‘mother earth’ grounds and dampens the power.