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GPS antenna design challenges

GPS is almost a common feature in many portable consumer electronics. GPS antennas are embedded into devices that already have other antennas like Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM, CDMA or even FM. Printed antennas are widely preferred option for small form factor devices like smart phones, tablets, etc. where limited real estate is one of the concerns. Circularly polarized single feed microstrip patch antennas are widely employed in stand-alone GPS receivers like radar and GPS.

Mechanical design, interference with other antennas and loading effect are some of the factors that will have an impact on antenna gain and antenna pattern of the GPS antenna. Other antennas or components of the portable consumer electronics like PCB components, plastic, metal, battery, etc. may also cause some level of interference and isolation.

Another challenge in embedding a GPS antenna to a device is the orientation of the GPS antenna to achieve the maximum field strength. The orientation depends on the device e.g. if the device is going to be mounted on a car dash, GPS antenna’s orientation can be portrait however on a smart phone GPS antenna’s orientation may be trickier because smart phone can be held vertically or horizontally in the hand.

With time-to-market pressure and limited budget it is hard to design and test your GPS antenna throughout the whole development phase.

RFxpert is the only compact bench-top scanner that characterizes GPS antennas in your own lab environment in real-time.

Thanks to the principle of reciprocity in antenna theory, testing a GPS antenna in transmit mode will provide the necessary results to evaluate its performance in receive mode. With CP Analysis option, RFxpert calculates Right-Hand Circular Polarization (RHCP), Left-Hand Circular Polarization (LHCP) and graphs Axial Ratio (AR) patterns of a transmitting GPS antenna in sub-second.

The loading effect of other antennas used on a device or even placing the device on different surfaces will have an impact on the GPS antenna performance. With RFxpert, you can monitor layout changes and optimize the position of the GPS antenna in real-time.

Users’ hand or head will detune the GPS antenna. You can use RFX2 with OTA Phantom Fixture to minimize the loading effects of hand and head confirm that the GPS antenna meets the axial ratio requirements.

You can evaluate patch antennas with high permittivity sintered material substrates or low-cost microstrip substrates or different bill of materials for ground plane of GPS antenna like aluminum, brass, stainless steel, ceramic etc. to produce a circular polarization with low axial ratio on your lab-bench in seconds.

You can perform tests on prototypes early on GPS antenna design stages to evaluate the wideband performance reliability of the GPS antenna and to confirm that the GPS antenna is suitable for multi-band GNSS applications.

You can check the amplitude pattern uniformity of the GPS antenna at different angles. RFxpert presents test results in four hemispherical views (Combined, RHCP, LHCP, and Axial Ratio), four Bisection views (Combined, RHCP, LHCP, and Axial Ratio), and two Bisection Cut views combining the Combined, RHCP and LHCP patterns.

With RFxpert you can evaluate GPS antennas as you prototype in your own lab environment in real-time. RFxpert is the only compact bench-top scanner that gives you the ability to accelerate your development cycle and reduce your time to market. To learn more about how to design and characterize GPS antennas better click the “Demo Video” button at the bottom of the page.

Why RFxpert Is Right For You

You want to avoid the delays and set-up needed for far-field measurements in a chamber.

RFxpert not only require low CAPEX and zero OPEX, they also deliver significant ROI advantages.

You can execute real-time analysis of your design, test multiple design iterations and optimize complex designs on your lab-bench in seconds at each stage of the design process.

Key Benefits

Test results in seconds
Easy to use
Compact and tabletop
Significant time-to-market acceleration
Dramatic increase in production
Substantial cost reduction

Read More

Are you under time-to-market pressure because of the countless number of lengthy measurements in inaccessible anechoic chambers?

Tired of losing valuable project time waiting in line to test your designs in expensive anechoic chambers?

Do you want to test your design and performance quickly to accelerate project completion and delivery?

Are you under budget pressures?

Why did your product fail the compliance test in an anechoic chamber? Why didn’t you see this coming?

With RFxpert, in seconds and a fraction of an anechoic chamber cost you can easily:

  • Analyze your embedded antenna and wireless device designs
  • Prototype / test new designs, components, and forms
  • Iteratively test and optimize embedded antenna designs
  • Perform highly repeatable and rapid over-the-air wireless device measurements
  • Verify final product performance in real-time
  • Gain immediate insight into the root causes of performance issues by analyzing the near-field results

…all for a fraction of the cost of an anechoic chamber.

  •   How does RFxpert work?

    rfxpert-how-does-it-workRFxpert measures the magnetic field (H-Field) in two orthogonal directions using H-field probes and projects this data to the far-field using the planar aperture distribution to angular spectrum transformation or plane wave spectrum (PWS) transformation.

    A second custom algorithm then adjusts the far-field projection to eliminate the predictable coupling effects of the measurement array of probes. Probe response compensation is also taken into consideration in this algorithm.

    EMSCAN meticulously developed this custom algorithm through comprehensive and rigorous R&D efforts to get the most accurate test results.

Companies Who Trust RFxpert Products
What Our Customers Are Saying
“The addition of the RFX2 system to our RF design and test capabilities has enabled us to deliver better antenna and RF designs to our clients, and ultimately to our clients’ users.”
Charles Manry, Senior RF Engineer, PhD
Synapse Product Development
“I prefer to use the RFxpert for my antenna design projects instead of simulation software. In a couple of hours, I can model a real antenna out of copper and test it with the RFxpert in the antenna’s intended operating environment. I then use the proven design, based on the RFxpert analysis, to prepare a CAD drawing and send it off to manufacturing for prototyping.”
Jorge I. Ortiz
RF Network & Antenna Engineer, Independent Consultant at Mueller Systems Ocala, Florida Area
“We're impressed with the accuracy of the RFX scanner compared to our external lab measurements for TRP.”
Jeremy Monroe
MoJoose Inc
“We wanted to extend the distance between the hand-held transmitter and the aerial device. Initially we thought that we had to add an additional power amplifier stage. The RFxpert showed us that the real problem was something else: the coax was radiating as much as the antenna. By using better coax and a different coupling method from the final power amplifier stage to the antenna, we were able to transfer more power to the antenna. We managed this significant increase by almost zero cost to the design.”
Director of Engineering
Consumer Electronics Manufacturer
“Designers now evaluate designs in real-time vs. waiting at the back of the queue with $100M+ projects in front”
RF Design Engineer
Leading Military Subcontractor

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