Salisbury Cathedral deploys Chat-Com Radio Network

To improve logistics and Health & Safety on site

Upgrading to a digital radio network will improve coverage. clarity and capacity at the busy Cathedral site.

Project Overview

Built between 1220 and 1256, Salisbury Cathedral boasts Britain’s tallest Cathedral Tower, set in an 80 acre close in the centre of town. Over 600,000 people visit this famous structure each year, to enjoy the guided tours and view the best preserved Magna Carta in the country.

The Cathedral is managed by a busy team of caretakers, tour guides, security, construction workers and admin staff, who need to communicate clearly and efficiently during the day, to ensure the smooth running of this World Heritage Site. The Vestry team had already been using an analogue radio system for some time, but were looking to upgrade to digital communications, with all the benefits that this could provide.

Project Requirements

Rob Douglas, Floor Manager at Salisbury Cathedral, needed a reliable two-way radio network, which could cover all internal and external areas of the Cathedral site. Simplicity was the key for those using the radios, and it was important to be able to speak to every member of staff in the case of an emergency, such as an evacuation procedure.

The radios would also be used by the busy Tour Guides team, who show the public to the top of the Tower, via a narrow winding staircase. Clear communication between the tour groups is vital to ensure people can move safely around the tower and members of the public can be escorted to safety in case there is an issue during the 332 step journey to the top.

Chat-Com always holds a requirements meeting with prospective clients, to ensure they understand all the features and benefits that a digital radio can provide and to build a bespoke codeplug, created with exactly the features required for the client. This includes the right number of channels, display radios, safety features and scanning options.

During our requirements meeting, two safety features stood out to Rob, when Chat-Com demonstrated the applications of a modern digital radio: ‘Panic’ and ‘Man Down’.

Implementation and Recommendations

After discussing the requirements with Rob, Chat-Com performed a site survey to determine what equipment was necessary to guarantee coverage across the site. After exploring the venue, we determined that a digital UHF radio, running at 4W, was capable of covering the site, without the need for a repeater and antenna. This would reduce the cost for the client and ensure there were no issues with installing an external antenna on this listed building.
Chat-Com suggested that the Cathedral use the Caltta digital radios. These radios included all the features necessary for the project (good battery life, clear digital audio, IP67 rated), at a very reasonable cost when compared to competitors in the market.
The Caltta radios also included the safety features that the team needed and include GPS as standard, allowing a clear upgrade path in the future, should the Cathedral look to use Despatcher software. The Panic feature allows a staff member to subtly raise an alarm to other radio users in case there in an issue, perhaps with a member of the public, where speaking openly may not be appropriate. The ‘Man Down’ feature gives staff members peace of mind that should an accident occur, other radio users will be notified and they can quickly come to their aid.
These crucial features, along with Private dialling and ‘Radio Silence’ (important during the main busy services at the Cathedral), made the Caltta a great choice for the Cathedral.


The new radios were introduced to the team in April 2023, just before the busy Easter and Summer periods. Chat-Com has made a few tweaks to the radio programming, once the day to day running of the network was established, to ensure that the system is fully meeting the requirements of our client. The radios have really helped to streamline daily operations for the different teams on site.
We’ve already had discussions around expanding the network to integrate with the Fire Control panel on site and how we can expand the network to include other buildings around the close, perhaps with the installation of a repeater system. Chat-Com is always keen to work with their clients on a long-term basis and forge great relationships, which ultimately benefits both teams.

Client Feedback

“We just had Sarum Lights, our light and sound experience which welcomes over 13,000 people. The new radios made communication a breeze, allowing our large staff and volunteer team to easily communicate and react to any situation.”

Rob Douglas, Floor Manager, Salisbury Cathedral

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