Start beeps

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Comments about this discussion:


In 2B.6.7, it is written:

As an alternative a start-beep apparatus can be used. In that case we have a six-count start. Example: “beep - beep -beep - beep - beep - buup!” The timing between  beeps is one second. The first 5 beeps have all the same frequency. The final tone (buup) has a slightly higher frequency, so that the racer can easily distinguish this tone from the rest.

While this has worked well during the last few years, I'd like to sharpen up the text in two places:

  • the start beep must have a finite (meaning: bigger than zero) length to be audible. In practice, each beep lasts about 100 milliseconds. I have asked the Swiss timing team at which moment exactly the rider may start. This is at the beginning of the last beep. I propose to include this in the rules.
  • the final tone should not have a slightly higher frequency but a clearly higher frequency. Not everybody can easily distinguish tones that are slightly different.

Please discuss.


>"the start beep must have a finite (meaning: bigger than zero) length to be audible."

Im not sure if we really need to write something like that in the rules… In my opinion if there is a beep this beep have automatically a finite length because otherwise there is no beep. But maybe my understanding of a beep is not the general understanding.

The start-beeb used by the swiss timing team is the ALGE STB1. This start-beep have 100 milliseconds beebs and the relays to start the timing closes with the beginning of the last beep, that's right. It seems reasonable to include the exact moment when the timing starts and the rider may start. It wouldn't be good if some day on a competition a start-beep is used where the time starts at the end of the last beep. Especially if there is also a falls start monitoring system.

I also agree that a clearly higher beep is better than slightly higher beep. I think the ALGE STB1 uses 650 Hz for the first five beeps and 795 Hz for the last beep. Maybe the frequencies seem to be only slightly different (if we look at the whole spectrum we can hear) but the last beep is clearly higher then the others.


No my intention is not to state the finite length in the rules. This was just a little bit of explanation from my part in this discussion, to explain why it matters that the start time must be more precisely defined than just "the last beep". I understand that you agree to defining the beginning of the last beep as the exact starting moment in the rulebook.

I don't doubt that you know that to judge how far frequencies are apart, what matters is the ratio between them, not the difference in absolute Hz. The two tones used are slightly over a "minor third" (in musical terms) apart, which is clearly audible. No need to change anything to that, and that was not my intention. My suggestion for the rulebook text is to replace 'slightly' with 'clearly'.


While I agree "slightly" is not the best word there needs to be a strict definition of "clearly". What is clear to me may not be clear to you.


Let us then simply drop the word "slightly" without replacing it with something else. Or we could strictly prescribe that the frequency difference needs to be between a factor 1.189 (or perhaps 1.2) and 2.0, or minor third and octave, in musical interval terms.

I just discovered that in 4D.10 also a paragraph about start beeps occurs. There, 'slightly' is dropped already.

By the way, it is strange that in Road Racing this information is in the Event Organiser section, while in Track Racing it is in the Competitor Rules. But then again, there are numerous inconsequences and issues with the new Rulebook setup, I am not going to try and pinpoint them all. Synchronising the content of all similar rules (start beeps is an example) is another one.


You understand it right, I agree to defining the beginning of the last beep as the exact starting moment in the rulebook.

I'm fine with the wording in 4D.10 without the word "slightly". I think we should use the same wording in 2B.6.7. Maybe "slightly" as well as "clearly" mean something different to every person who reads the rules with the result that it is better to leave it completely away. (In my opinion 795 Hz is a slightly higher frequency than 650 Hz but not a clearly higher frequency. However for me the beep with 795 Hz is clearly higher than the one with 650 Hz. I think Kenny put it straight: "What is clear to me may not be clear to you." - that was the point I wanted to address in my first post) So your suggestion of dropping the word "slightly" without replacing it with something else seems really reasonable to me.

Up to now I'm not sure if I really like the new Rulebook structure… I think there is still a lot of work to do.


If no-one disagrees (speak up if you do), I'll create a proposal to simply drop the word 'slightly' from the start beep specification, as discussed.


I have created a proposal but is not approved yet.

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