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ytsejamr

Antenna placement help / dropouts

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Hi all,

 

So my company puts on live curling broadcasts.  We mic up 8 players with XD-V75 wireless lav's.  We have the XD-AD8 and the P180 antennas.  We also have a handheld for sideline reporting, so we actually have 9 wireless going at once.  

 

We've pretty much experienced dropouts at every event.  We can be in small and large hockey arenas or smaller curling clubs.  Generally the antenna/receivers are at one end of the arena pointing out over the ice.  I've been running in RF1 mode since most of these venues have some sort of Wi-fi available to the public.  

 

We get most of our dropouts when the players are on the far end of the ice.  Especially when players are facing us, with the pack on their back.  We have other issues such as players clothing covering up the packs.  That's sort of out of our control because we don't want to force players to certain clothing (it's cold out there).  

 

I generally keep the antenna about 6 feet above the players heads, and play around with placement and direction.  I think we have 100' rg58 cables max.  I've never successfully eliminated the dropouts.  I usually don't have enough time to troubleshoot as I'm running around doing 100 other things.  

 

So I'm looking for some advice on ideal placement.  The beauty of the sport is that the player locations are really fixed.  Think between the two goals in a hockey rink.  They pretty much just move back and forth between those, facing one direction or another.  

 

I would think if we could get one antenna on each end of the rink that would be ideal.  But that might be a 300 foot run or more to our location for the far end.  Is there cabling that could be used with the P180's that would allow that?  Are there more directional antenna, or higher powered ones for the long distances?  Any other ideas?

 

Thanks!

 

-Brian

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Top down from the ceiling would be my instinct.  That reduces the body blocking the signal as they'd need to be laying on the pack for that to happen.  Not sure how feasible this would be for you, though.

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Top down from the ceiling would be my instinct.  That reduces the body blocking the signal as they'd need to be laying on the pack for that to happen.  Not sure how feasible this would be for you, though.

That's actually possible.  We are usually hanging cameras over the playing surfaces.  In fact we're using trusses at our next event.  So it's feasible.  What's the recommendations on cabling?  Is it possible to make 300' runs with those antennas?  What type of cable?  

 

Thanks,

 

-Brian

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I'd suggest doing everything possible to reduce the lengths of your antennae cables. You can run audio cables for miles (literally) without issue but antennae cables really should be kept as short as you can. If you can safely mount your receiver rack in the roof near to the overhead antennae and run a long audio multi down, that would be a better way to go.

 

I notice you say you're using RG58 - I suspect you'd be much better off with LMR195 as its losses are significantly lower. I'm sure that's cropped up elsewhere on this forum before - a search might throw up more details. Yes it does cost more but a cheap solution that doesn't work isn't worth anything.

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I'd suggest doing everything possible to reduce the lengths of your antennae cables. You can run audio cables for miles (literally) without issue but antennae cables really should be kept as short as you can. If you can safely mount your receiver rack in the roof near to the overhead antennae and run a long audio multi down, that would be a better way to go.

 

I notice you say you're using RG58 - I suspect you'd be much better off with LMR195 as its losses are significantly lower. I'm sure that's cropped up elsewhere on this forum before - a search might throw up more details. Yes it does cost more but a cheap solution that doesn't work isn't worth anything.

 

Mounting a rack in the roof wouldn't be a viable option in a majority of the locations we go to.  There isn't always a truss or catwalks.  Sometimes we just have i-beams to attach cameras to.  It's possible to get the antenna in the roof, but not in all the venues.

 

We could possibly get the receivers at the side of the rink in the middle at ground level.  

 

And are you talking an xlr snake running from the receivers up to our location (mixer)?  We actually starting thinking down that route after our latest event.  We have a digital mixer and they make a digital snake that only requires running a cat6 cable from the mixer to the receiver location.  

 

http://www.tesn.us/uploads.html

 

So in the picture linked above, we could most likely get the receivers to the red X.  From there we need to cover the area of the ice highlighted in red.  Thoughts on best placement again?  Ground level.  

 

We'll most likely be grabbing some LMR400 cable for the antennas, just to be safe.  

 

Appreciate the help!

 

-Brian

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If you can get the rack on the red X, I'd probably try one antenna on either side, about 20' away along the side of the rink, a little above head height, aimed straight across and angled slightly down. I was considering suggesting each one further along the rink edge but that would ultimately reduce the diversity as you'd end up essentially with one covering each half which could result in dropouts again. Watching the meters as a particular player moves from one end to the other may be instructive - should give you some indication of whether both antennae are giving usable coverage across the whole arena.

 

Yes - either an XLR snake or a digital one.

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If you can get the rack on the red X, I'd probably try one antenna on either side, about 20' away along the side of the rink, a little above head height, aimed straight across and angled slightly down. I was considering suggesting each one further along the rink edge but that would ultimately reduce the diversity as you'd end up essentially with one covering each half which could result in dropouts again. Watching the meters as a particular player moves from one end to the other may be instructive - should give you some indication of whether both antennae are giving usable coverage across the whole arena.

 

Yes - either an XLR snake or a digital one.

 

Thanks!  That's the kind of info I was looking for.  I wasn't sure what would be the best placement in that scenario.  My uneducated thought was that an antenna on each end would ensure full coverage, but I'm starting to understand that both antenna need to receive the signal, not just one at a time.  

 

-Brian

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Thanks!  That's the kind of info I was looking for.  I wasn't sure what would be the best placement in that scenario.  My uneducated thought was that an antenna on each end would ensure full coverage, but I'm starting to understand that both antenna need to receive the signal, not just one at a time.  

 

-Brian

 

 

Think of directional antennae as lights with a wide coverage (look at the documentation for the antenna for how wide of an angle).  You want the coverage to overlap as much as possible, and the 'shadows' that people cast need to be minimized.  As for height,  few feet above head hight is optimal, but sometimes you need to go top down to get the best line of sight.  This will definitely take experimentation still.

 

if you do end up going from the top down, don't go from the ends; be in the middle somewhere.  Don't point straight down; you'll want them at an angle pointing inward a bit.  Always keep the antenna pickup pattern in mind.

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