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!!

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