How Drive In Church Services turn parking lots into Places of Worship

How Drive In Church Services turn parking lots into Places of Worship

This pandemic has affected us all in so many different ways, but the larger alteration of everyday life falls upon all kinds of public gatherings. Some of them, like movie theater showings, large music concerts, restaurant outings or similar leisure activities can wait until this is over, but there some that can’t, in particular religious ceremonies. But to be able to carry them out in a safe manner for all involved will require some ingenuity, improvisation and technology.

Drive In Church Services

When all this started and churches were prompted to close their doors, a lot of people had the same idea: “what if we use our parking lot and people stay in their cars during the ceremony?”. While at first this might seem like a great solution there are some technological barriers that need to be overcome to make it happen. The exponential factor of how many worshippers will need to be served makes it mandatory for them to provide their own audio devices, and the church would only need to purchase equipment to broadcast it. So, everyone’s minds turned to car radios. 

Drive In Churches Services

The idea is that the ceremonies will be transmitted on a radio signal and all the participants inside a single car can listen to it by just tuning their radio to the appropriate frequency. That would be great and relatively inexpensive. The problem is that would also require a license by the FCC. You see, car radios work within the spectrum of commercial FM frequencies, and to broadcast in one you need to have approval by the FCC, since these are usually reserved for regular radio stations. Additionally, there's two kinds of FM transmitters that you may come across online for purchase and neither will provide a feasible solution: the assistive listening transmitters that work on a frequency range outside of what car radios can pick up and require special receivers, or FM transmitters that are not FCC approved and thus illegal, which if used to broadcast to car radios might incur in fines for up to $10.000 per day.

Another technology needs to come into the mix to make this possible: Wi-Fi, which is licence-free  and requires the use of the other electronic device you can know for sure your participants will bring along, their cell phones or tablets. So instead of an FM transmitter you will need a Wi-Fi transmitter, these don’t exist as such but need to be put together with two or three devices: a Wi-Fi server, an access point and a switch (in cases in which more than one access point is necessary).

What are these devices that will make your church a drive in church?

Drive In Church Services

A Wi-Fi server is a device that turns audio from a microphone into a digital signal, ready to be transmitted over Wi-Fi. We recommend the 8 Chennel WiFi Broadcast Server , which is designed to fulfill this purpose.

A WiFi access point like the Ruckus Zoneflex will receive the information coming from the server and broadcast it  for up to 70 devices. In case you have more than 70 devices, additional access points will be needed as well as an Ethernet Switch to connect two or more access points.

To make this simple and streamlined, we have created two bundles that are already configured and ready to use to start broadcasting your church services from the parking lot. For up to 70 smart phones or cars, we recommend the WIFI-BUN1 that includes one server and one access point with its power supply. For up to 140 smart phones, tablets or cars, the WIFI-BUN2 is recommended and it includes one server, two access points and a POE switch to connect and power them.

We sincerely hope this broadcasting solution will help you and your church through these difficult times so that it can remain open to offer religious services to worshippers, while keeping them safe, yet connected to God. 

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