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Antenna Breakdown for the Printed Circuit Board Hobbyist

By Samuel Garcia Subscribe to RSS | June 27th 2012 | Views:
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Depending on the printed circuit board (PCB) the options you have for antennas are going to be varied. Each antenna will have its own unique purpose and the circuit board hobbyist will need to understand these antennas in an effort to be successful. When you are looking to hook up your antenna, it will be important that you connect it to the feed line of your PCB.

PCB Trace

This is about as basic as you can get for these antennas. These are fairly simple to tune and while they don’t exceed performance in things like repeatability, cost, size and even performance, they are going to be a reliable choice that can work in most cases.

Whip Antenna

Sometimes called the ducky antenna, this is a larger and more effective antenna. They will usually come with an output frequency that has been pre tuned, but you will be able to get a fairly good performance out of them. The only actual issue most people have with them is that they are going to be larger than many of the other PCB antennas you will have available.

Wired Monopole Antenna

If you are trying to cut down costs, you can use a wire antenna. These are typically frowned upon because they can vary a lot based on location and surroundings. Even the shape of these antennas can affect their performance. Under the best conditions, the wire antenna might be able to reach between 40 – 50 feet.

Chip Antenna

Chip antennas can be a mixed bag. Some hobbyists love them, but the majority usually does not. What we find with these antennas is that they are very difficult to tune, yet can be detuned without too much difficulty. These antennas will usually work better in cases where you don’t have a long distance that you will be looking to transmit.

No matter what the style of antenna you are using, it is important that you understand that on your PCB, the antenna portion is going to become very sensitive, especially when copper is added to this area. In some of the advanced choices you have for circuits, you will need to pay close attention to the etching and take into account that this will change the antenna significantly and you may need to accommodate that.

One important thing to look at when you are dealing with these antennas is that you are going to need to calibrate the NA and solder your SMA connector to end up with the best operation possible. Keep in mind that all the items that surround the antenna will have an impact on the actual performance of the unit. This includes connectors, batteries, case, wires and even your hands. Make sure that you keep this in mind when you are trying to problem solve any issues that may arise with these antennas.

Samuel Garcia - About Author:
EMSCAN provides Wifi antenna design solutions to help you integrate antennas into complex structures and achieve excellent performance!Antenna Test Equipment which includes near-field and direct far-field measurements and also provides t he services diagnosis and optimization.

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