Most of the systems we install now use Alarmnet cellular communicators rather than traditional telephone lines.
So where should the radio go?
An easy option is at the panel – no extra wires to run, etc… That isn’t always the best option. Where do we put the panel in a utility room surrounded by metal that blocks the cell signal and is in the basement where the signal is weakest anyway? I often see the Alarmnet actually mounted below the panel – this is a worst-case scenario because now the panel is actually between the radio and the tower. It can also make it difficult to place the battery without smashing the wires in the can.
We should always strive to get the radio in as high a place as possible, but never the attic because it gets too hot up there. A closet on the main floor may be an appropriate alternative.
All trucks have an antenna extension in the spare parts kit. This antenna doesn’t add any gain to the signal, but if our techs need to get a little higher (like in the attic) to get signal, it is one possible solution. It should be very rare that we use one of these because of its limited benefits. There is also a larger antenna option with a fat cable that adds a 3dB gain.
These tech tips are intended to provide insights to small nuances to help with many different products we offer. It is the small attention to detail that separates an outstanding job from an OK one. Although these apply primarily to technicians, they will help others gain insight to what the technicians do – in small doses.