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Crowd-Proofing Our Wireless Rig ?

wireless interference drop outs antenna system signal walk test system design wireless mic relay xd-v

We've all been there… Aside from the empty venue, everyone else in our "crew" is busy doing their own "bit" of the bump-in. So how can we quickly check that our wireless beltpacks and/or handhelds will still "cut it" once the crowd's arrived, …single-handedly ?
Old Ron's Method (Patent Pending)

Ingredients
  • Beltpack transmitter/s (only use handheld/s if beltpack is neither available nor intended to be used),
  • Fully rigged and aimed wireless antenna system,
  • Powered and fully rigged "target" receiver/s for the above beltpack/s …and… (drum roll, please)
  • An RF attenuating metal container, preferably with an opening that can be oriented so that it faces away from receiver/s, such as a steel or wire-sided trash can or a stainless steel ice bucket, (dry with no ice, scotch, bourbon or rye) ...both of which have openings that naturally face upwards.
Procedure
  • Power and check our transmitter with it immediately adjacent to its receiver, to ensure that all's well before our arduous test has started,
  • Place the transmitter inside and at the bottom of our custom RF attenuator, (patent pending) ensuring that its antenna does not (and can not) actually make contact with the metal of the can or bucket, (insulating material, such as paper or plastic packing will almost certainly be needed to ensure this with a handheld)
  • Place that assembly at the maximum expected limit of range that we need from our wireless system/s and
  • Walk back to observe the RF strength displayed on the diagnostic display of our receiver/s.
What we've done is to use our (patent pending) RF attenuation device to roughly simulate the combined RF attenuating effects of both the interference and body mass that will undoubtedly "walk in" later.

For many years now, whenever a genuine, fully populated "real person walk test in advance" was simply not possible, I've found that re-jigging my antenna arrangements for "good" signal indications (in spite of transmitter performance being deliberately hampered as above) has resulted in flawless RF "on the night".

Placing the (patent pending) "bucket" system on the floor is also often useful for an even more critical test.

I've never bothered with a "bucket list", though...
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