RFvenue RF Spotlight Application Notes

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The RF Spotlight™ is an innovative, patent pending UHF antenna design that excels in applications where wireless microphones will be used in a limited area. With one or more RF Spotlight units in the area of use, the user can create a local RF field- similar in effect to a soft spotlight in a dark theater. By intentionally designing the unit for reduced signal sensitivity yet a uniform, omnidirectional pickup pattern, the RF Spotlight can be within very close range of the transmitting handheld microphone or bodypack at all times. This proximity of transmitter and receiving antenna is critical to maintaining a high quality signal without introducing other sources of interference picked up by high gain, high angle remote antennas. Multiple units can be combined to cover even larger areas!

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RFvenue RF Spotlight Application Notes

  1. 1. RFvenue RF Spotlight™ Application Notes by Henry Cohen Production Radio RentalsBackgroundThe RFvenue RF Spotlight™ (RFS) is an alternative and innovative approach to the typicalantenna design philosophy as applied to entertainment production wireless microphones and inear monitors (IEM). Designed with the idea of mitigating interference at the antenna in orderto protect wireless microphone operations, and for reducing one’s own interference potentialto other nearby operations in the case of IEMs, the RFS exhibits both limited and predictablehorizontal and elevation beamwidths for those applications when a relatively small coveragearea is required, such as an exhibit booth, podium or lectern; or in a very limited area of activityon a larger stage.Typically, event production wireless antennas are designed to be deployed at some distance fromthe talent-worn transmitter or receiver and at some elevation in order to get above head leveland other obstacles with the goal of achieving as clear line of sight propagation path as possible.Deploying the antenna high creates a greater exposure to potential interference – in the case ofwireless microphones - from unwanted RF energy (either broadband or just an increase in thenoise floor) and other purpose-generated carriers that the user has little to no control over. Inthe case of IEMs, the user could potentially be radiating energy beyond the required coveragearea at levels strong enough to interfere with other event elements or with neighboring events.When and Where to Use the RF SpotlightFor those applications where both a relatively limited coverage area can be defined and theperformance area permits placement under carpeting, matting or under non-conductivedecking/staging, the flat mat structure of the RFS affords significant interference mitigation,limited propagation and visually unobtrusive performance. The RFS is a round, flat rubberizedpackage approximately 20” in diameter by ¼” thick with a 12” RG58 coaxial tail terminatedwith a female BNC. With a hemispherical radiation pattern, circular polarization and deliberatereduction in sensitivity across its 470-698MHz operating range, the RFS is placed on the floornear or directly under the talent. Because the RFS is significantly closer to the talent, it doesnot need the same sensitivity performance of a typical antenna designed for free spacedeployment. This, coupled with the floor position, produces a lower usable horizon, and resultsin the RFS being far less sensitive to potential interferers outside of the hemisphere ofcoverage. The coverage pattern size can be further shrunk with respect to the wireless micreceiver by inserting an attenuator at the equipment end of the coax, or at the RFS connectorin the case of an IEM.Coverage Area and Range Coverage Range with Attenuation LevelWhen placed on the floor as intended, free field 10mW bodypack in free field(unobstructed) sensitivity of the RFS approaches that 84’ -of a wideband UHF-TV band dipole at a six footheight to a distance of about 42 feet (84 foot 40’ 10 dBdiameter). At that point the coverage pattern begins 20’ 20 dB
  2. 2. to fall off sharply at more than 12dB per doubling of distance at a height of four feet (waistlevel). By placing a 10dB pad at the end of the coax, the effective similarity to the dipoleshortens to about 20 feet (40 foot diameter); a 20dB pad reduces effective coverage to about10 feet (20 foot diameter). Further decrease in sensitivity can be achieved with higher valueattenuation. Coverage pattern reduction can also be achieved by using longer sections of coaxrelying on line loss, and by taking advantage of obstructions such as set pieces and booth walls.SummaryThe RF Spotlight is for those applications when a relatively small coverage area is required, suchas an exhibit booth, podium or lectern, or in a very limited area of activity on a larger stage.Expect a coverage area close to the transmitter, and reduced signals from distant, and potentiallyinterfering sources.About the Author Henry Cohen is an RF engineer, consultant and principal at Production Radio with over thirty years in the entertainment industry, the last fifteen focused almost exclusively on radio frequency principles and practices. He is a recognized authority on event production wireless equipment, system engineering and deployment in critical high profile and difficult RF production environments

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