This week I've been tinkering with my soldering iron and doing a bit of basic electronics; while also gently dipping my toes into the black art of antenna design. Neither of these things are completely alien to me. My degree in Broadcasting Technology got me problem solving electronics and I've been soldering for half of my life, and basic antenna design was a semester length module as part of my University time so after about a half hours reading I'm getting the gist of things again.
My first job, to get my eye in, was to fix a couple of cables that had stopped working. They'd been sitting on my desk in the "fix it" pile for about 6 months so I thought it was about time I did something about them. One old guitar lead (arguably my favourite one before I started wiring all my cables with Neutrik self muting jacks) is now back to it's former glory, and one long XLR, that somehow had all of the connections in one end broken, is now back in the regular rotation of cables.
My second and more ambitious project is to replace the ratty old antennas on
my Sennheiser G2 radio packs. Now it seems as though Sennheiser has stopped stocking the particular part, for UK channel 70 operation, that I needed, which is a shame because they are cheap, (although fairly involved as a replacement job compared to simply screwing on a new one like you would on the typical SMA connectors on most professional level radio packs). A though which made me seek out guidance from the internets about how I might go about putting SMA connectors on these packs. Turns out someone else, a chap named Ian Sands, had already documented his method and has a pdf available to download. (Here's a link to his page)
With the exact part he's listed from RS Components (I'm sure other suppliers can provide the same connector) and a bit of patience, mainly for hand filing some metal from the connectors so they fit in the space available, it's a pretty easy mod and one that'll no doubt be appreciated over their further increased years of service, even if all it does is make them look a tiny bit more "pro" with their detachable whip antennae, or, even even better, connected to an RF distro and some high gain antennas.
Here's my Instagram of the finished article:
As you can see they really look smart with their sexy gold connectors. They've been out with me on two jobs since I did the mod and can happily say that they work very well, and the added convenience of having detachable aerials made of a more robust material makes it completely worth the time and monetary investment. However I think it's important to note that by replacing the originals with similar quarter wave antennas you absolutely WON'T get any marked performance alteration from your radios. What you do gain on the flip side of that is, that by adding the SMA connector to the receiver body, you get the opportunity to attach half wave or even full wavelength antennas, which in theory should increase the gain of the antenna by some degree.
As a side note I'm also thinking about doing this mod (and the same thing for G3 radio packs) for other people who might want it done. So if you're comfortable with me wielding a soldering iron near to your electronics then do get in touch!