Extending range of RF remotes

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LinuxPenguin
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Extending range of RF remotes

Postby LinuxPenguin » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:01 pm UTC

Hi there.

Here is my problem. I have two RF remotes that I need to extend the range of by approx. 50-75 feet.

What's the easiest way to do this? I've seen where people have wrapped the antenna of iPod FM transmitters w. copper wire to extend the range / get better reception. Would that (wrapping the antenna of the transmitter and/or receiver w/ copper wire) work here? Any other ideas?
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Re: Extending range of RF remotes

Postby Moose Hole » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:26 pm UTC

You could make a directional antenna to extend the range. Get a metal bowl and some electrical tape. Use the tape to suspend the RF remote so that it is flush with the top of the bowl. This will allow the bowl to reflect and focus the waves on the RF remote, which will give you a better signal. Just point the inside of the bowl at the source and you'll be all set.

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Re: Extending range of RF remotes

Postby LinuxPenguin » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:27 pm UTC

I was rather hoping to be able to keep it omni-directional.
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Re: Extending range of RF remotes

Postby Moose Hole » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:21 pm UTC

I used to touch my walkie talkie antenna to my flag pole when I was a kid. It worked better that way, even on antennas encased in plastic.

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Re: Extending range of RF remotes

Postby mosc » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

Impossible to answer without more specifics of the application. In very general terms, you can increase range by increasing the gain of either antenna, increasing the directionality of either antenna, or increasing the transmitter power. Mattering on frequency, line of site obstructions can also make a large difference.

Note that making an antenna larger does not increase it's gain in and of itself. Antennas require "tuning", which can be done on the transmitting and receiving end, but the closer the antennas electrically resonant frequency is to the transmission frequency (or a harmonic of it) the more efficient it will be. Adding arbitrary length to a tuned antenna can destroy directionality (or omnidirectionality), compromise the performance of tuning electronics on either side, and change the resonant frequency of the antenna drastically.
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