Troubleshooting Antenna Issues


This article will briefly show you various troubleshooting techniques to identify common problems occurring with your antennas.

Common Antenna Troubleshooting Issues

1.    Operating Frequency: When determining the operating frequency of an antenna, it should correspond with the reader’s region settings. To verify the frequency of your antenna, check the back label of the antenna.

  • Some antennas come in a variety of operating frequencies, including FCC (902-928MHz) and ETSI (865-868MHz). If your antenna happens to be a wideband antenna, it will work at both FCC and ETSi frequencies.

2.    Cable Termination: When trying to mate two cables together, it can be easy to have issues, especially if you are trying to mate a reverse polarity male connector to a standard female connecter. In this case, the connectors will fit together but the center pins will not connect properly. Once you have made sure you are not making this mistake, be sure to check that your connectors are securely and firmly mated.

3.    Cable Condition: Be sure to examine cables for any obvious damage before using them. You should look out for any fraying, connector damage, and exposed conductors and insulators. Also, you should be cautious of any kinks and sharp bends, which can result in damage to the cable dielectric.

4.    Cable Swap Test: You should also be cautious of faulty cables, which may appear to visibly be in working condition. To test for this, try using an antenna with another cable that you know is in working condition.

5.    10K Resistance Check: Some antennas feature a 10K resistor inline with the cable termination. This feature is used by antennas to sense a connected antenna. You can check for a failed antenna connection by connecting a multimeter to the antenna connector and checking the resistance between the center pin and ground. Ground is defined as the outer body of the connector.

  • Depending upon your antenna type, it should show the resistance as 10K ohms (any resistance of +/- 10% is acceptable). If you encounter a reading that is much higher than this or significantly lower, this is an indicator of an open circuit or short circuit and indicates a fault. Keep in mind that other antenna types will show no resistance or infinite resistance, so check with the manufacturer to see what resistance to expect for your antenna.

6.    RF Power Check: To verify that your antenna is transmitting, you should use a RF power meter. When an antenna is operating properly, the RF power meter will show pulses of power when placed in front of an antenna. Before using the RF power meter, make sure your reader is active and transmitting.

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