Raltron antennas connect utility meters

  • July 11, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Florida-based Raltron says it is simplifying wireless antenna designs and providing longer operational life for utility metering applications with its RLX series of metal helix antennas.

The ruggedised omnidirectional antennas for utility meters are constructed from either phosphor bronze or brass, for better outdoor performance in residential and industrial applications. Able to withstand the extreme heat and cold, these antennas go beyond the typical five-year warranty and are designed to perform for a minimum of ten years, reducing the amount of replacement demands for meters in the field.

The profile of the meter’s main PCB is critical to the antenna design as the antenna needs to be compatible with the other metal components on the board. To optimise circuit performance and maintain efficiency for each meter application, Raltron helps users by specifying the compensating inductor-capacitor circuitry to maintain the required antenna frequency and desired bandwidth.

Raltron does this by providing a free evaluation and analysis of the user’s PCB layout ensuring the antenna frequency will not be altered.

The antennas provide the desired range of operating frequencies for utility metering from 169 to 960MHz. This antenna gain is dimensioned to ensure the system will be readable from the specified reading points and distances.

“Metering customers that utilise our free analysis service, enable us to optimise circuits with additional compensating circuitry to keep their product on frequency and to give them a higher efficiency antenna,” said Lawson Williams, antenna product manager at Raltron. “The antenna frequency can change if it is located too close to another metal component on the board. Not everyone does this analysis, and we have seen much improved performance in the field as a result.”

Founded in 1983, Raltron is a privately held ISO-9001: 2015 certified company that offers frequency management devices. It develops, manufactures and sells products worldwide including crystal resonators, clock oscillators, VCXOs, TCXOs, OCXOs, VCOs, SAW and LTCC filters, ceramic resonators, and IoT compatible antennas, RF cable assemblies and RF connectors.