We often receive calls from installed A/V professionals looking for a way to mount one of our external antennas safely in a school gymnasium, or outdoors somewhere in an ideal location but safe from the rain.
You shouldn’t completely enclose an antenna in anything if you want it to work well. And using protective covers made from wire or mesh is almost guaranteed to cause wireless problems.
That’s why we were thrilled to learn of a solution that Dave Kint, Vice President of dk communications, inc., discovered in the course of working with some of his clients out in Colorado: an affordable transparent dome made of special acrylic.
Dk communications is up to some cool stuff, and Dave has high standards. He knew he needed to mount his Diversity Fin and WiFi router in an ideal, lofted position for excellent line-of-sight, and protect them from wind, rain, basketballs, footballs, and baseballs in the multiple school gymnasium and football field venues he has as clients, without sacrificing wireless performance. Plus, why not try and actually make it look good, too?
After a bit of research, Dave found California Quality Plastics, which manufactures a durable, RF permeable clear acrylic hemisphere/dome that fits over an external wireless antenna and easily mounts to any architectural surface. Dave uses the 24” diameter model, part HEMI24. Navigate directly to this model by clicking here.
“Before we found these domes,” Dave explains, “we really didn’t have anything that would allow us to put antennas in an area where it was going to be susceptible to some sort of damage or impact. I’ve talked to other people about non-metallic metal boxes, but, that didn’t really pan out. They are very expensive, and the other problem is that there’s nothing that’s really of adequate size for the antenna to fit inside.”
Dave notes that California Quality Plastics hemispheres are UV resistant, so they won’t become brittle or discolored after years of sitting out in the hot sun. There’s also enough space for dk to include other wireless gear: "We also were able to put the Apple Extreme under the same antenna dome so that we could use that for Airplay connection and system WiFi control of the DSP controller."
Typically, we don't recommend placing wireless devices so close to one another, because of the risk of out-of-band interference bleed over, as well as the metal in the Apple device altering the electrical characteristics of the Diversity Fin.
But, he says it works great and the DFIN is as effective as ever.
Thanks for the tip Dave!