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Print PageMOUNTING AND RADOMES
March 2005

Where will the antenna be mounted?

While this question is easily answered, the real impact comes when assessing the total environment and whether the antenna will perform and survive once installed. Furthermore, don't underestimate the impact of local zoning ordinances and regulations on installing antennas.

The next question is how will the antenna be mounted? If the antenna is attached to a tower or mast, what is the diameter of the pipe or mast? Will the antenna be rear or center mounted?

For an exterior mount, the integral strength of the design must be considered such as its ability to withstand wind, ice, heat/cold and other extremes. You should also assess the ability of the major components such as the feed, the radome and connectors to withstand stress. The materials and hardware used in the construction of the antenna are also important. Outside mounted antennas should use durable materials such as aluminum with stainless steel hardware. Additionally, has the antenna been designed to properly operate with 1/2" of radial ice encrusting on it, or will it stop working until the ice melts?

The inside of buildings can also be torturous. Will a desk top antenna survive constant handling and having books and coffee cups dropped on it? Must the antenna be mounted to a wall or a ceiling? Will the antenna have to be disguised? Will a wall mount be used as a target? As wireless applications continue to grow, the locations for antennas will multiply and challenge the ingenuity of the designer.

Is a radome required?

Radomes serve two purposes, to protect and to hide the antenna. Increasingly, the visual impact of an antenna is being considered when making a choice. Does the antenna blend into its surroundings or is it a sore thumb? Radomes can be colored and shaped to improve aesthetics. This has proven very effective indoors as well as for outdoor applications.

Panel antennas are usually enclosed within a radome to protect the elements and/or any printed circuit boards. Yagi antennas equipped with radomes usually are more of a detriment than a value. The wind load on the antenna is significantly increased and protection offered to the antenna itself can often be offset with proper design of the feed system and the directors.

Dishes and vertical omnis all benefit from proper placement to disguise them as well as selecting an appropriate color for either the radome or the exterior coating.

The system engineer should be as familiar with the major attributes of the antenna as with the other components of the system. To make it easier to specify the right antenna for your application while taking full advantage of the expertise of your antenna supplier, here is a list of the

Top Ten Questions you should have answered before you make a final antenna selection

Astron Wireless Technologies, Inc. and the author retain the rights to all intellectual property contained herein. This information should be used as a guideline only to help you in the appropriate selection of an antenna.

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