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I use UHF RFID readers to read Gen2 RFID tags. Here's the reader I use but it could be any equivalent reader configured to run at 902 - 928 MHz. https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/thingmagic-a-jadak-brand/M6E-MICRO/1523-1004-ND/4842688

For a new project, I want to read tags under a 30 foot long bench (athletes have Gen2 tags on their ankles and I want to determine who is sitting at the bench). I only need a 2ft read range.

Off-the-shelf RFID antennas are so small that I would need a large number of them to cover a 30foot length of bench. I could probably do it with 16 antennas and two 8-port splitters it's pretty clunky and expensive though.

So my question is, could I create long, cheap antennas by fixing wires to a plastic backing, similar construction to an electric blanket. I imagine I'd need two wires running in parallel to one another, a specific distance apart and maybe some capacitors bridging the two wires. It would be ok if the antennas were quite inefficient as the reader I use is quite powerful and the range I need is quite small.

Not sure where to start on the design of the antenna though. I haven't been able to find designs for UHF RFID antennas yet.

really appreciate any guidance on this!

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Antenna Theory: Analysis and Design" by C.A. Banalis is a good resource for your task \$\endgroup\$ – MPA95 Mar 6 at 2:33
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The following is worth a try and won't cost much.

Grab a length of cheap speaker wire - the "zip" kind of wire that consists of two parallel conductors that can be easily split into individual wires. Make it as long as the bench.

Solder a 50 Ohm surface-mount resistor at one end of the wire across the two conductors. You can use a through-hole resistor but the surface-mount resistor is neater. Either 0603 or 0805 would work well.

Now simply connect the free end of the cable to the antenna connector on the receiver.

Performance is going to be lousy but may be good enough for your needs.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. I will try this out. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Bruce Mar 8 at 18:17

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