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Why I Don't Use HD Transmitters and How You Can't Too!


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#1 Dave Chameides

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:32 AM

For about a year now I've been questioning the safety and intelligence of carrying an HD microwave transmitter next to my head or down by my package for 12 hours a day.  I spent some time contacting the companies that make these units themselves and while they were happy to send me a large amount of highly technical data, none of them would simply answer the straight up question that I put to each of them - "Is it safe for me to have this thing next to my body all day."  Generally they would talk around the question with answers like "It's the least of your worries" or "Do you know how bad your cell phone is for you?".  So, for the past year, I've been flying an extremely thin bnc cable that i had made for me and it's worked just fine.  Is being tethered a pain?  Sure, but so is testicular cancer and brain tumors.  Does it effect my operating?  Not that anyone has been able to see, including myself.  
 
As many of you know, the Union and the Safety Board are now investigating this so this isn't just me being overly concerned.  It's a real issue and believe me, no one has your back more than you do.  So if you are thinking of trying to get rid of transmitters from your rig, here are a few answers to complaints I've come up with.
 
"You use a Preston don't you?" - Sure I do but from what I understand the Preston is a much lower power level than the HD xmitters are.  Either way, it seems to reason that having two transmitters is slightly more problematic than having just one and I have a solution that works for the HD, not so much with the Preston.
 
"Don't you know how bad your cell phone is for you?' - That may be so and probably is which is why i use a headphone and rarely keep the phone on in my pocket,  That said, my phone is a personal choice and this is a requirement of my job.  Also, if I had cancer would it mean I shouldn't give up smoking?  Less is better.
 
(From the video guy or 2nd AC) "Trailing a cable is a pain" - I generally point out to them that while this thing is 12 inches from my head it's 3 feet from theirs so I'm doing this as much for me as I am for everybody including the DIT who has it near him all day too.
 
Those are really the main objections.  On the positive side the DIT and DP are generally happier as they have an uninterrupted signal with no loss.  I did a feature this summer where we actually got the transmitter off the package after the first week when they realized it was dead weight and the DP was able to pick up a few pieces of gear in exchange (I forget what).  I also tell people that if there is ever an issue (walking across traffic, a party with 300 dancing guests, etc) I'll put the transmitter on for those shots so there is no issue with being able to get a shot.  There have been very few times when I have had to do this but it shows them you are looking out for everyone's well being (not just your own) and still not holding down production.  That said, work with the DIT and turn the thing off in between shots and even takes.
 
Finally, I would have this discussion first with the DP and then with the AC after you have gotten the job.  Beforehand may make it seem like you are a troublemaker and after the fact, if proposed correctly, it will show them that you are a pro who is simply worried about the well being of the crew and doing a good job at the same time.  I've not had a problem so far and after pointing out that no one will assure me these things are safe, most folks are right on board.
 
So there ya have it.  I'm sorry to ruffle any feathers of those who may have invested in xmitter packages but I think the common good outweighs a personal investment on this one.  Remember, everyone is there to say it's fine now but few really seem to have the answers.  More importantly, should something pop up as a result of all this stuff a few years from now, none of these folks will be around to help out.
 
Fly safe.
 
Dave
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#2 chris bangma

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

You can look up products on the FCC website by their FCC id number.  The documents there will tell you the power output, and the minimum distance between the unit and a person.  The Preston for example is 20cm.


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#3 William Demeritt

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:08 PM

OK, fine, I'll stop putting the Preston antenna in my mouth while it's on. ARE YOU HAPPY? 


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#4 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:40 AM

You can look up products on the FCC website by their FCC id number.  The documents there will tell you the power output, and the minimum distance between the unit and a person.  The Preston for example is 20cm.

Cool, so what's the power output and safe distance for a Boxx Meridien, according to FCC?


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#5 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:26 AM

I've had the same thing on my mind for about the last year.

What especially bothers me is when 2AC still uses the transmitter even when we change to tripod

 

AntsMartin


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#6 thomas-english

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:49 AM

Pfft.. my brain has centimetres of dense bone protecting it. My balls are right there! 

 

To be honest I don't care about the Boxx being on all day. The biggest risk is diet. High volumes of pesticides and chemicallly altered food actually in your belly is far more dangerous. 


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#7 Tim Fabrizio

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 11:53 AM

That thin BNC, is it "jumper" length like 6ft then you connect a longer BNC to that? Where did you get that BNC made? 


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#8 Dan Ayers

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 02:15 PM

Tim:

Terry West made mine.  I thought I gave you his number, but here it is anyway.  (310) 621-5063


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#9 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 02:48 PM

You can look up products on the FCC website by their FCC id number.  The documents there will tell you the power output, and the minimum distance between the unit and a person.  The Preston for example is 20cm.

How do you do that? I'd be curious to know for other wireless system as well...


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#10 Dave Chameides

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 06:01 PM

Interesting responses.  I think more info is always good but there are a few points that still cause me concern.  

 

For starters, as I mentioned, the companies themselves won't answer the simple question of "Are these things safe" which leads me to believe that they can't.  While the FCC does have info, I think it's safe to say that for a number of reasons, the government isn't always putting our health first and foremost.  Think fracking for instance.  

 

I recognize that there is a drop off in levels the farther these things are from us, but the question is, how far is enough?  And without a doubt, not having it there is better than having it there.  I don't think many can argue that point.

 

Finally, I recognize this isn't the worst thing out there.  Having said that, if you smoke, does that mean you shouldn't wear a seatbelt?  It's all apples and oranges and as a father, husband, and member of a community, I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle and pass info i think helpful on to others.  Some things I do may not make a difference, some may, and none are negated simply because there is something else that i am doing or not doing.  

 

I'm not convinced these things are safe and so far no one has been able to step up and say much beyond "there are other things that are much worse".  For me that's not enough and since I've been working at this a bit, I thought I'd share what works for me in case others have concerns.  Either way, this needs further investigation and if you think the union, the government, and/or the producers have your best interests in mind more than you do, you're simply wrong.  


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#11 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 06:06 PM

http://transition.fc...v/oet/ea/fccid/

 

wireless HD transmitters Boxx or IDX have a max output of only 50mW, the IDX has a low setting of 5mW and 14.5mW, depending on channel.

 

http://idxtek.com/si...manual__us_.pdf

 

compare:

 

wireless "WiFi" Routers 30mW to 100mW, max up to 500mW

 

Modulus 250mW

 

Canatrans up to 1000mW

 

and the iphone, see below... up to 1600mW

 

http://www.apple.com...e/iphone5,1/en/

 

 

and yes, less exposure is always better...


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#12 Alan Rencher

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:11 PM

Maybe someone has better information than me, but I've heard that the box is technically illegal in the US due to the fact that it moves too much over the 5ghz band.
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#13 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:58 PM

The 1x1 panel antennae on the boxx receiver are not fcc approved, to my knowledge, hence they are not showing them on their website...
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#14 Dave Chameides

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 11:49 AM

And there ya go.  Don't assume because something is widely used and on set that it's not problematic.


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#15 thomas-english

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:10 PM

Hold on.. the 1x1 antennae is a Receiving antennae. Its placed nicely above everyone's heads and far far away from your testicles. 

 

The Boxx is NOT a high power unit. It simply has very good Antenna array. 


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