Poynting Antennas released their new MinePoynt Heli range of antennas at AIMEX in Sydney, Australia this week. There has been a phenomenal spike in interest in our underground communication antennas due to the proliferation of IoT and M2M communications above and below ground.
MinePoynt “HELI Range” Antenna Development History
Poynting designed its first single band WiFi helical antennas for mining and tunneling communication more than 20 years ago. The company patented these innovative antennas way before their time. The patent has expired in the meantime, with some competitors producing similar antennas for the last few years. These circular polarised antennas were very popular for mine tunnels for two reasons; a) their RF propagation abilities in harsh mine environments proved to cover 3 to 4 times the distance of conventional antennas, and farther in some cases and b) these tubular, horizontally mounted antennas aka “Bazooka antennas” did not take up much space on the side or top of the tunnel.
The development of the mini-HELI Antenna range
As underground mine communication demands increased, the company received requests for 2.4 and 5.8 GHz antennas for dual band WiFi applications. With the proliferation of IoT and M2M communications above and below ground, a requirement for broadband antennas that covers WIFI-6 and LTE/5G bands was born. This resulted in an innovative and novel design which was conceived by the company’s chief RF engineer; Dr. Derek Nitch, who designed the basis for this antenna range around a tapered helical antenna. What makes this tapered helical antenna unique is that both the diameter and the spacing of the helical radiator is tapered. The antenna is back-end fired and changing the spacing improved the antenna performance across the whole band. Poynting have now patented and/or registered the various designs related to this new antenna range.
This innovative design forms the basis of a series of antennas that are now much smaller and versatile than before. Included in this series are antennas for:
- - dualband WiFi used for applications like 2.4-2.5GHz & 5-6GHz frequency band
- - ultra-wideband circular polarized antenna that can be used for LTE Carrier Aggregation, 5G and WiFi-6
The antennas can be bought as uni-directional units that radiates in one direction or bi-directional, radiating in both directions. Bringing all this together are various brackets for mounting these antennas to the tunnel roof or sides.