Road Test: Kaltman Creations Invisible Waves RF-id SOLO

If working with wireless is part of what you do for a living, the SOLO deserves a place in your toolkit

Along with a “greenie” screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and polarity checker, a new tool from Kaltman Creations is ideal to have in an audio production kit.

The Invisible Waves RF-id SOLO immediately and accurately determines the frequency of virtually any wireless transmitter, saving the time and hassle of numerous measurements when you have a group of wireless equipment that needs to work together.

The compact handheld unit instantly reads both analog and digital wireless single-carrier frequencies, from 50 MHz to 2.5 GHz, for wireless microphone and instrument systems, in-ear monitor systems, assisted hearing systems, intercom systems, walkie-talkies, and more.

To determine the frequency of a new transmitter being added, or to confirm its current frequency setting, simply turn on the transmitter and hold it near the RF-id SOLO for a reading that is accurate to within 10 Hz. 

Form & Function

The unit measures only 1.9 x 3.3 x 0.75 inches, and includes a switchable backlit LCD screen. Three membrane buttons, labeled Light, Menu, and Hold, provide access to all features and functions. When in Menu mode, the buttons perform up, down, and select actions.

The RF-id SOLO from Kaltman Creations. (click to enlarge)

A lithium-ion rechargeable battery is installed, and the unit is supplied with an external 5-volt DC power supply that plugs into the side of the unit via a small barrel connector.

Power consumption is low for many hours of use before recharging. Use of the auto-off feature further extends operating hours. The screen’s battery level display advises when a recharge is needed.

The RF-id SOLO is supplied with two antennas. The near-field antenna is basically a short, threaded RF coupler covered with a rubber boot, effective for measurements when the transmitter is held within inches of the source. A 3-inch antenna can be substituted for moderately far-field measurements. 

Note that multi-frequency, frequency hopping, or spread spectrum transmitters do not emit a single carrier frequency, and are not read specifically by the RF-id SOLO; however, you may be able to iterate a frequency or frequency range from the display. 

The RF-id STATION is also available, consisting of a rugged plastic carrying case with shielded slots for up to eight wireless handheld or beltpack transmitters, and a backlit near-field frequency counter readout for each one.

Dry-erase strips are provided with each slot to identify the transmitters by user/function. With the STATION, the user can confirm the transmitter frequencies for each mic while still in the case, deploy them for the show, and store them for travel when done.

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