Wrentham: Fern Communications lands Qatargas deal

SUFFOLK-based two-way radio technology specialist Fern Communications has secured a deal with Qatargas to purchase its pioneering FRX-1 radio repeater systems following a successful field trial.

Fern, based at Wrentham, near Beccles, has been a provider of two-way communication systems to the oil and gas industry since it was set up in 2002.

Its unique radio repeater can direct signals around solid structures so that workers on oil rigs and gas platforms never lose reception when in confined or dangerous places. The technology is also used by emergency services.

Technical director Clive Cushion said Fern Communications was contacted by Qatargas with an offshore communications problem believed to be accentuated by the steel structure of tankers.

During a four-day trial, the Fern Communications team worked with members of the crew on-board a tanker to demonstrate two FRX-1 units, both UHF and VHF. By positioning the unit at strategic points on the vessel, the radio signal was able to travel from one crew member’s radio around the steel structure to the receiving crew member’s radio.

Qatargas has now purchased units to serve as a standard component of its on-board communications equipment.

It is also in discussions with Fern about adopting the system for use across all its operations, both on and offshore.