Sinclair Technologies this week will introduce its new line of LMR base-station antennas that utilize printed-circuit-board (PCB) technology to deliver solutions that are designed to provide greater performance and durability at a lower cost than traditional mechanical-designed antennas, according to a company official.

“We’ve developed patentable PCB technologies—we’ve applied for patents in a number of countries—and we believe this gives us a lead in this technology, compared to all of our competitors,” Sinclair General Manager Ken Broom said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The products are smaller form factors, so they’re better for tower-loading concerns that customers have. They’re smaller, shorter, lighter, and some of the models have wider bandwidths than in the past—all very positive factors for this new line of antennas.

“We’re changing all of our old designs to these new designs to give that benefit to our customers.”

Sinclair’s new PCB-based antennas are lighter and shorter than traditional antennas, which provides several advantages to network operators, Broom said.

“The circuit boards make the design more compact, and it also makes the product much more stable,” he said. “So, when you look at things like the variance of the performance over the entire bandwidth, ours are more stable than the traditional mechanical designs.

“When they’re mounting these antennas on the tower, they take up less space, and they’re not as heavy, so it’s better for tower loading overall. And, in some of the cases, they’re wider bandwidth than traditional. So, if they have to change frequencies for some reason, this allows them more flexibility.”

This compact form factor makes the new Sinclair antennas better able to withstand strong wind events, such as hurricanes, Broom said. The new antenna line also is the first group of Sinclair antennas to meet the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard for lightning protection, he said.

Even with all of these advantageous characteristics, the prices of the PCB-based Sinclair base-station antennas will be “between 10% and 20% less” than the company’s previous products, Broom said.

“They’re cheaper,” he said. “We’re going to be sending out a new price list with lower costs to all of our customers.”

In addition to these upfront savings, the smaller form factor means the new Sinclair antennas should give network operators an opportunity to reduce their expenses to lease space on towers, according to Broom.

“When you look at total cost of ownership, they’re the same longevity as our existing antennas, which stand in the field for decades,” Broom said. “So, unless there’s a change that’s needed—like more [site] densification in the area—they seldom need replacement.”

Sinclair this week will showcase its new antenna line at Booth 1935 in the exhibit hall of IWCE 2018 in Orlando, Broom said.

“They’re manufacturing ready. We’ve gone through trial runs here and proven it out already. We’ve got the parts in stock, so we’re basically ready to go,” Broom said. “We’re going to launch at the show, and we’re obviously going to meet with some of our key customers there [at IWCE] to promote them.”