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Who Makes Race-Timing Tags, and Which Ones Should We Use?

Posted By RFID Journal, 08.27.2014

We are creating a timing solution for sporting events, and we need to buy RFID transponders that can be strapped near a person's ankle. Can you please suggest some vendors? Also, should we use passive or battery-assisted tags?

—Name withheld

———

Innovative Timing Systems offers a wide variety of passive RFID tags, as well as an active tag for various sports timing solutions. Orbiter offers both disposable and reusable passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponders. Race Timing offers low-frequency (LF) tags, operating at 134 kHz, that can be strapped to a person's ankle. It also sells disposable passive UHF transponders. These are often pinned to a runner's bib. In addition, the company has a reusable tag that can be strapped to the ankle or wrist via a Velcro band.

The question of whether to use passive or battery-assisted tags—or active tags—is difficult to answer. I would say that passive UHF transponders have improved greatly throughout the past few years, and that most race-timing solutions now employ passive UHF tags, as opposed to LF, high-frequency (HF) or battery-assisted. However, the human body does interfere with the ability to read tags consistently, and passive UHF bib tags might not be read with 100 percent accuracy if the system isn't set up properly. In events such as boat racing, in which readers cannot be set up near tagged participants, you might need to use battery-assisted or active tags.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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