In truth, there’ss not a lot you can do.
Handheld devices typically have a shorter read range than fixed readers, due to the antenna size, as well as the need to conserve battery power. With high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) handhelds, you can put the power output up to the maximum available. Moreover, with a UHF interrogator, you might be able to use a linear polarized antenna, if the model you own has one (most have circular polarized antennas), but you would need to employ tags with dipole antennas, and ensure that the tag antennas were oriented in the same way as the reader antenna. This might help extend read range, because linear polarized antennas concentrate the energy output by the reader antenna in a narrow beam, as opposed to in a corkscrew pattern. The more concentrated energy can energize the tag from further away.
If any of our readers have any other tips and tricks for extending a handheld reader’s range, please post them below.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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Can I Use My Own RFID Reader for Testing Purposes? »