Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? What about now?…
It is always stressful when an antenna does not work as expected. It is stressful for the customer, the user, and the manufacturer. However, in terms of antennas, the root cause of a reduced coverage area may not be the result of the antenna itself but rather how it was installed. Antennas are sensitive pieces of equipment and can be easily damaged if installed incorrectly. If the antenna is bending or twisting, the antenna is not installed correctly and vibration and material fatigue can occur. The antenna should be straight and mounted in a sturdy fashion; it should have minimal movement and should stay as still as possible.
The source of a reduced coverage area could be a result of several factors, but it is important to first look at how the antenna was installed and the clamps used. Is it a Sinclair clamp or is it another manufacturer’s clamp? Sinclair clamps are specified with every Sinclair antenna. When installers move away from the specified clamp, the antenna is not installed to its fullest potential and may not provide complete coverage. Sinclair clamps are designed with weight, diameter, height, potential ice build-up, and other considerations in mind while competitor clamps are often focused only on antenna diameter which may not be sufficient for certain applications. The installers themselves may have incorrectly installed the antenna which may cause failure, mechanical breakage (ie. cracked radomes), and a reduction in the main power area. The photo on the left shows a cracked radome from improper mounting.
In addition, assessing the climate conditions of where the antenna is installed is important as harsh weather conditions such as ice and wind can create irreversible damage to antennas. Heavy weather sites require special heavy duty antennas that are tailored to the specific site conditions. Ice and wind can create extreme mechanical and electrical damage.
During a particular project, the installer used different clamps than the Sinclair clamps specified for a SC412 Sinclair antenna at a public safety facility. The installation site experience a wind storm and the antenna was damaged (see image on right). The SC412 Sinclair antenna was tilted and the coverage area was reduced since the clamps were not strong enough to support the load and did not provide enough friction to hold the antenna. The photo demonstrates the importance of using proper clamps and mounting techniques.
Sinclair’s sales and technical support teams are available to answer your antenna installation questions. If you are unsure of what the best practices are, please feel free to call your Sinclair sales representative and they will be able to assist you in your antenna installation. In addition, Sinclair’s team has come up with a Sinclair Clamp and Side Mount Selection Guide which can help ease the process and ensure that the right clamp is selected for your application and antenna. To learn more, click here.