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2.45GHz antennas, weatherproof, low cost?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, May 8, 2013.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest


    Having serious quality issues with one vendor so we are looking for an
    alternative. The antenna itself is fine but the connector quality is
    causing issues.

    Outdoor use in hot climate, Frequency 2.45GHz, the usual 1/2 design
    that's about 4" long, somewhat flexible rubber outside, RP-SMA
    connection, no swivel joint (because it'll just corrode and gunk up),
    weather-resistant, UV proof, around $5/1k or less.

    Any ideas?
  2. miso

    miso Guest

    Sounds like a customer to lose. Hopefully your name won't be associated
    with the product.

    I generally use L-Com for outdoor wifi antennas. If you troll dslreports and find the WISP posts, you can see what works
    and what doesn't.
  3. miso

    miso Guest

    Make that
  4. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    It's not about sealing. We've tried various other antennas. Unless they
    are rated for outdoors use (and sometimes even if they are) the UV in
    the southern areas of our country destroys them within months.
  5. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    It's a very good client. I designed some of the electronics but this is
    about an OEM part where it seems to be tough to get any decent quality
    at a reasonable price.

    On the one we have the rubber stick holds up well under UV exposure. On
    the alternatives in the <<$10 price range the connectors hold up well
    but the sun totally ruins the rubber part. So there must be good cheap
    RP-SMA connectors and good cheap rubber parts. What I need is a product
    where these two are combined.

    I have been through Internet searches, haven't found. I have seen som,e
    discussions on dslreport about outdoor routers and how to make your own
    antennas but not about low cost UV-resistant off-the-shelf rubber versions.
  6. Uwe Hercksen

    Uwe Hercksen Guest


    rubber is a problem when exposed to intensive UV. Especially if the
    rubber is not black but white or red.
    Black rubber may hold well when it contains much black soot powder, but
    the resulting conductivity may be a problem with 2.45 GHz.

  7. tm

    tm Guest

    Why not get a rubber one with a good connector and put a piece of UV
    resistant heat shrink around it?

  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Well, car tires out here in super-hot California easily last 10 year,
    even the fancy white-wall ones :)

    It wouldn't be much of a problem if they placed a secondary non-laced
    rubber ring or something wround the ground of the connector first. It
    also does not have to be rubber, just somewhat flexible. Flexible in a
    sense that it won't snap if someone accidentally bumps against it.
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Water, bird poop, dust and other gunk would collect up top where the
    shrink tube ends, and the sun would still destroy that part. In many
    areas where this gets deployed the sun comes from straight above at times.

    But the main obstacle is the added labor for this process.
  10. amdx

    amdx Guest

    Arg, Fla. sun here.
    I'm in discussions now with Sam's and Michelin about very minor rubber
    checking. The tires have 21k miles 8/64 of the original 10/64 tread and
    are just shy of 4 years old.
    Took the car in for a slow leak in a rear tire. I watched the fellow go
    out and look at a front tire, came back in and said he could not fix the
    tire because it was rubber checked caused by the sun. Wanted to replace
    all four tires for about $500.
    I called Michelin, they said take it to another dealer for an
    inspection report. The tires barely show rubber checking and Michelin
    offered a 25% discount on new tires as a courtesy, but I ask the tech
    "if they were your tires would you replace them?" He said no, drive them
    another 3 or 4 years.
    And then, add in the wife, " I don't unsafe tires... Arg
    PS, If your willing to pay up to $5.00, Buy a decent low priced antenna
    and pay someone $2.00 to put two layers of heat shrink on.
    Even the manufacturer.
  11. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    My previous set was Yokohama Geolandar tires. They held up very well but
    at 10 years I replaced them because of age. Tread was still 50%, at
    50,000 miles. Now I have Michelin LTX on there but since I am now a
    consultant the car never spends the whole day in the glistening sun
    anymore. Most days it's in the garage, so less of a concern.

    Ideally we'd like an antenna that's already UV-proof. We can't be the
    only ones needing that.
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks, Dave. I have registered but must wait for the blessing of the
    administrator before I can post.
  13. miso

    miso Guest

    The rule of thumb for outdoor use is UV rated radome. It isn't cheap.

    There is the right away and then there is cheap. It depends on your
    reputation. Some companies like the old HP never sold shit because your
    name is as good as your crappiest product. Other companies use branding
    to sell shit. Market the crap under one name and the good stuff under

    I don't have the time to troll dslreports, but there are people on that
    WISP forum who make a living doing outdoor wifi. I settled on L-comm
    because it is what the installers use. At the time they were pointing
    out which panels were prone to leaking.
  14. miso

    miso Guest

    Ideally we'd like an antenna that's already UV-proof. We can't be the
    There is no shortage of waterproof wifi antennas. Just not cheap ones.

    I can't think of any outdoor wifi that wasn't TNC or N.
  15. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Well, we have one but the connectors are junk. The FCC requires it to be
    RP-SMA. Not that that makes a whole lotta sense but ...
  16. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Nah. The car I drove in Europe (Audi) has a rubber antenna on the roof,
    never fazed by the sun. The car is now 26 years old and the current
    owner said it's still all fine.

    All I need is an antenna like there is on my Audi, but for 2.45GHz
    instead of 88-108MHz. It works.

    Leaking is under control. Right now it's the connectors that have gone
    bad (used to be ok).
  17. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I believe they require them to be "not commonly available" (not
    specifically RP-SMA), in order to deter consumers from easily
    replacing low-gain antennas with high-gain ones and thus increasing
    the ERP beyond what the radios were actually certificated for.

    I understand that trying to keep coming up with "not commonly
    available" connectors has been a rather huge problem for manufacturers
    over the years... as soon as they find a good one, lots of people
    start using it for that purpose and all of a sudden it's "commonly
    available" and can't be used :-(

    Well, with RP-SMA at least you are on the "good side", having honestly
    made an attempt to discourage fudging. What more can you do?
  18. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    No, pretty much just what I mentioned in the first post, outdoors and

    Thing is, we aren't quite high enough (yet) in quantities that custom
    parts make sense. I am looking for something off-the-shelf. We can't be
    the only ones with outdoor applications.

    Well, one vendor makes them but their connector quality fell apart.
    Other than that they are ok.

    Wonder what the profit margin on those is :)
  19. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Some companies really know how to do this right. Our ChannelMaster TV
    antenna is well over 20 years old, sits in the glistening sun all day,
    yet none of the rigid and flexible plastic parts have deteriorated.
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