CM15A (ActiveHome Pro) Antenna Boost

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Earlier I was using a CM15A connected to a Windows computer located in the far corner of the house in conjunction with an RR501 Transceiver. The CM15A stock antenna is very weak – it can’t pickup a signal half-way across the house, which is why I had the RR501 setup about mid-way in the house. It did a good job of picking up the remotes (and I never seemed to experience conflicts between the CM15A and the RR501 so it appears that only the RR501 picked up the majority of RF signals).

However, I didn’t care to have a transceiver sitting in a hallway when it shouldn’t have been needed anyway. I decided to look into boosting the CM15A antenna. I tried several suggestions such as placing heavy gauge wire on the antenna or a coat hanger. Several experiments didn’t provide much improvement – the reception may have been boosted from about 10 feet to twenty feet but that wasn’t anywhere near enough to pickup signals on the other side of the house.

I decided to see if I could swap the antenna of the RR501 with the one on the CM15A. Unfortunately, while trying to remove the RR501 antenna I broke it. However, the break was clean. As it turns out, it fits neatly on top of the CM15A antenna. Just fitting it wasn’t enough. In order to actually get a considerable range boost I had to cut into the white plastic of the CM15A antenna to expose the antenna wire, which I bent slightly so it would touch the RR501 antenna.

This combination seems to work well. After making this minor mod I was able to send signals to only the CM15A from the other end of the house except for part of the living room. Part of my goal with boosting the antenna was to get the slim pocket remotes working better so I could turn on certain lights from outside with consistent results. In order to get this working properly, and to better cover the farthest corner of the house, I decided I might have better coverage if I elevated the antenna.

As it happens my wife had an extension cord that was made to hang. I plugged the CM15A into the extension, hung it up by the window, and discovered that I was able to use the remotes from anywhere in the living room. I expect that the slim remotes will work better outside but I haven’t actually tested it yet (by that time I had walked inside and out testing with each change that I just didn’t care to do it again).

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