No Dropouts, No Problem—RF Venue Powers First Robotics Tournaments

The First Robotics tournament with robots in action and an RF Venue Diversity Fin wireless antenna providing coverage.
(Image credit: RF Venue)

Branded as “The Ultimate Sport for the Mind,” First Robotics’ nationally organized high school robotics competitions are literally creating the next generation of robotics specialists. However, the chapter had been experiencing problems with its wireless microphone systems during competitions, particularly ones that took place in larger cities. 

That all changed when RF Venue sourced NE First Robotics its 4 Channel Wireless Microphone Upgrade Pack.

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Under strict rules and limited time and resources, teams of high school students are challenged to build industrial-sized robots to play a difficult field game in alliance with other teams, such as the recent district event in Reading, MA, which took place mid-March. It’s a challenging but rewarding mission, and it’s one that NE First Robotics, the New England regional chapter of the non-profit organization, excels at.  

RF Venue’s Diversity Fin antenna.

(Image credit: RF Venue)

“When we were competing up in Maine, for instance, no problems at all – the frequency spectrum was wide open and clear,” says Jx2 Productions’ Justin Holmes, who provides AV equipment engineering and support as well as serving in NE First Robotics district leadership. “But when we went to field competitions in places like Boston and Hartford, it became much harder to find available frequencies for the wireless mics. Very often we’d also find ourselves competing with the schools’ own wireless systems for frequency space, and a lot would also depend on the orientation of the building and how much RF obstruction there was. What would happen is there would be 20 judges on the floor during a closing ceremony, and the emcee’s microphone would be cutting in and out while he was reading the winners’ names.” 

A circuit board of RF Venue microphone solutions.

(Image credit: RF Venue)

The 4 Channel Wireless Microphone Upgrade Pack combines a DISTRO4 antenna distribution system, a Diversity Finn Antenna, and all needed cabling to connect and power four wireless microphone receivers of any brand or model. The package, easy to set up and operate, solved those issues for NE First Robotics from the very first time they deployed it. The high-gain, directional Diversity Fin reduces microphone dropouts and interference by using one element that captures vertically polarized waves, and another that captures horizontally polarized waves. The result is an antenna that dramatically improves diversity system performance regardless of how the wireless transmitter is positioned. The DISTRO4 distribution system splits the signals from the Diversity Fin and buffers its four diversity outputs for delivery to multiple co-located receivers. Also included in the bundle are eight coaxial RF cables and four DC power jumpers for interconnection. 

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“Since we began using the RF Venue package a few months ago, the dropouts have completely stopped,” said Holmes. “The audio quality is excellent and consistent. The D-Fin antenna filters out the frequencies we don’t need and lets us have a clear path on the ones we do. RF Venue made a huge difference and solved the problem.”

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