TV Timecard and Sound Report Writer apps

Friday, December 16, 2011

Antenna Distribution Layout for 4 SRs

I've had a lot of questions about the layout of my antenna distribution system in my bag, so I've put this post together as an open-source project. If you have any suggestions or modifications, feel free to post in the comments below. The original idea was to have a sort of mobile cart setup to get the best attributes of a cart based system (i.e. robust RF, video feed access, etc.) with the mobility of a bag. The Octopack seems too bulky, and I didn't like the layout.  It's not ideal for every shoot, but it works well for most that I do. Plus, I carry my whips in the front pouch just in case.
Antenna Distribution Flow (click for larger version)

Ok, for the actual parts list, here's what I recommend for 4 Lectro SRs.  The hardware is a must, but you can make your own cables if you're handy and have time.

Required Stuff:
It's a mess right now, but it works well.
One of these for each side of the SR makes it work

Since it stays velcroed shut, I added female
BNC extensions for convenience
Choose an antenna type:
  • For Dipole Antennae: 2 #ACOAXBNC cable from Lectrosonics cut to your block (bag mountable)
  • For Shark Fin setup: 1 Diversity Fin from RF Venue at $399

Remote Antenna Cable:
  • 2 25ft RG8 coax cable at $170/each, but I use 2 25ft RG59 (shhh!) at just $5.50/each and I don't seem to have any issues.  I'm sure I'll get reamed for this one.
  • I also keep a 6ft. version in my bag for when I don't need/want all 25ft.

The end of my BNC extensions coming out of the bag

  • 1ft. BNC extensions (SCB11983-XX) coming from inside your bag so you don't have to dig in everytime; it's just there on the side.  They're male on the end that connects to the UFM230 and female on the end that connects to the coax run.  I actually also have 2 hanging from my Diversity Fin permanently for convenience.  This way there are fewer weak points with no barrels needed.  My 4 were custom made by Trew and were a bit pricey, at about $50/each (ouch!!).  Not sure I would recommend that.
At the end of the day, this rig gives me powerful range while allowing me to set up and break down in tight spaces where it's essential to maintain a small footprint (i.e. Reality TV).  I went from pretty much living next to camera with all this strapped around my back, and now I'm able to jump in with ease for any fixes or communicate with production in Video Village.  Whatever your reasoning is for a system like this, good luck!  You're sure to enjoy it!!

Find Tyler Faison on Google+


  1. Hello Tyler,
    I'm considering doing a similar system with four Lectro 211s in the bag with a Nomad. I do work for DIY Network shows and I get reasonable range but would like to stay farther away from the dirty environment of construction/demolition. Instead of the Lectro amplifiers (too expensive) I was considering this:
    Do you think that would work as well? When you have to move quickly do you then connect to the dipoles attached to your harness?

  2. The biggest problem with the ZX60-3011+ is the super wideband range it covers. The passband ranges from 400MHz to 3000MHz whereas the UFM230 only covers around 8 blocks (230MHz rather than 2600MHz). That's the 'filtration' feature of the UFM230. You'd still need the splitter as well. The gain on this unit is also very high. You only need about 8dB to split 4 SRs. The ZX60-3011+ has around 15dB at the freqs you would use. It's important to use the right amount of gain because the more gain, the more noise. The more noise, the more unwanted garbage you may pick up. PSC has a unit out now that puts all this in one little box for around $700. I'm waiting to see the actual performance of it, but I'm hoping to get one down the road.

  3. Hi Tyler,
    I'm thinking of doing this myself. Are all your wireless on the same block? I think the Diversity Fin covers all the blocks but aren't the Lectro dipoles ajustable for the block your using?
    Just trying to figure out what most guys do.
    Also would it be cheaper just to buy a PSC RF MULTI SMA instead of building a antena distro? or were they not out when you built yours?

  4. Grant, in this setup all of my wireless is on Block 21. All of the components are able to handle several blocks, but I obviously have them on one for other purposes. The Lectro dipoles (SNA600) are adjustable to 50MHz ranges, or about 2 blocks. The Diversity Fin covers 470MHz-698MHz, in my experience, pretty damn well. Moreso than the range it covers, the polar patterns of each I think would be the deciding factor for your application(s). I built this system before the PSC RF Multi was out, and since we are still all waiting for a reliable version of the PSC RF Multi, this setup definitely takes the cake right now. I have two on order whenever they get updated to a field-ready product. It's cheaper and more compact. It just isn't reliable. Cheaper isn't ways better.

  5. oh I didn't know there were problems with the PSC RF Multi.
    if you would indulge me, what are your reason's for keeping everything on the same block? so you can swap between talent's TX's or is it more to do with antennae?

  6. Have a read on JWsound at the latest update from Ron at PSC. They are working diligently to get the issue addressed, but are having trouble getting any field-ready version.

    As far as keeping everything on one block, yes, it is for changing talent and channel assignments with ease. I've had so few RF issues with my antenna rig that it makes it easy to keep everything on one I do. Works for me, but I'm in Dallas. May not be ideal in NYC, for example.

    1. Sorry to keep bugging you Tyler, but now I have someone knowledgeable on the line...
      do you think I could mix manufactures RX's with this set up?
      I was thinking of getting a Zaxcom RX900S to mix in with my Lectro 411's and 211's.
      Now I have a Nomad I was thinking of going down that road to take advantage of the ZaxNet capabilities. I can't afford to change to all Zaxcom wireless all at once.
      Thanks for use of your brain.

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