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Getting Your Bearings with the GPS patch Antenna

The GPS patch antenna technique is a ground-breaking antenna design improvement. It has revolutionized the reception of satellite signals and the application of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) systems. GPS patch antennas are a type of antenna explicitly built for use with GPS systems. Typically, it is a tiny, flat antenna directly installed on a PCB or other surface. These antennas offer superior performance and dependability compared to conventional GPS antennas or ceramic patch antennas.

 They have become a vital component of contemporary navigation systems, delivering precise and dependable positioning and navigation data.

Factors Favouring High Radiation Efficiency Performance in a Patch Antenna

The following factors are essential for a high radiation efficiency performance:

1. Dimensions of the Antenna

Smaller antennas can achieve greater radiation efficiency than larger ones. This achievement is because the size of the antenna controls the aperture size, which in turn defines the antenna’s emission pattern. Therefore, the narrower apertures of smaller antennas, such as GPS patch antennas, resulting in a more focused beam and greater radiation efficiency.

2. Design

For GPS patch antennas to have a high radiation efficiency performance, you must design them with various factors that promote this efficiency. These characteristics include the antenna’s form, number of components, and material composition. In addition, engineers can increase the antenna’s radiation efficiency by optimizing the antenna’s radiation pattern through meticulous antenna design.

3. Material

Common GPS patch antenna construction materials include metal, plastic, and dielectric; each material. Typically, metal and plastic are applicable for the antenna’s metallic components that establish electrical contact, while dielectric is helpful for the antenna’s dielectric and radiating elements. Each material has a unique impact on the antenna’s radiation efficiency, necessitating that engineers pick the most suitable material for their GPS applications to obtain a high radiation efficiency performance.

4. Functional Frequency

High frequency allows for a high gain, enabling the antenna to focus its energy more effectively, resulting in a more focused beam and increased radiation efficiency.

Categorizations of Antenna

patch antennas

Active and passive antennas are the two primary types of antennas.

Active antennas are antennas that can increase incoming signals before transmission or reception. An externally powered amplifier, such as a battery or an AC power supply, amplifies the signal. A low mass active antenna has many uses, including radio broadcasting and satellite communications.

A passive antenna function without the need for an external power source. Instead, they rely on the received signal to produce an electromagnetic field. Instead of amplifying the signal, passive antennas only transform it into an electrical signal. As a result, they are suitable for providing cubesat platforms, radio reception, wireless communication, and other GPS applications.

Active antennas are often more costly than passive ones but offer more performance and versatility. Active antennas can receive a wider variety of signals and may be adjustable to specific frequencies. They are also capable of signal amplification, which is advantageous in applications such as satellite communication and radio broadcasting.

The benefits of a Patch antenna

  Listed below are many benefits of GPS patch antennas:


GPS patch antennas are very adaptable and applicable in many different applications. They are compatible with personal navigation devices, cell phones, and other wireless devices such as tablets and wearables. In addition, GPS patch antennas are helpful in vehicle tracking systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), and other applications that need precise position data. Due to their tiny size and low profile, GPS patch antennas are suitable for interior and outdoor applications.


GPS patch antennas are often smaller and lighter than other antenna types, making them simple to install and move. This nature makes them excellent for low-weight and volume applications, such as drones and mobile devices. GPS patch antennas are also far more resilient than other antenna designs, making them perfect for usage in severe locations.


GPS patch antennas are available at a more reduced cost than other antennas. For instance,  low mass active antenna requires fewer components and are less complicated to build. In addition, they are often significantly less expensive to install than other antennas, which require costly mounting brackets.

High Efficiency 

GPS patch antennas for maximizing the amount of energy they collect from a GPS signal, making them very efficient. This characteristic enables them to deliver more excellent and dependable signal reception, making them less susceptible to signal deterioration or interference. For instance, a low mass active antenna is suitable for providing cubesat platforms, rhcp polarization power supply, automated placement, and other GPS applications.

Better Performance

GPS patch antennas offer superior performance compared to other antenna types due to their distinctive shape, and precise positioning capabilities, they can catch a broader spectrum of frequencies and signals. In addition, the enhanced performance allows for excellent laser structuring precision, the highest gain, and a precise positioning.

GPS Applications in PCBs


In Printed Circuit Board (PCB) designs, GPS patch antennas help to deliver location information. They are compact due to the double sided adhesive, lightweight, and give a high level of GPS tracking precision allowing for an automated placement. GPS patch antennas are often composed of copper or aluminum and are suitable for PCB integration since they enable a robust electrical contact. Typically, they are situated on the board’s top or bottom and connected to it by a trace, for example in rogers PCB.

GPS patch antennas consist of an inside high frequency rf circuitry that amplifies and filters all propagated  GPS signals, enhancing the location data’s precision, and enabling the highest gain. The antenna is also resistant to electromagnetic waves’ interference from neighboring objects. Consequently, the GPS signal can travel greater distances and offer more precise positioning. They also convert unguided electromagnetic waves and produce guided electromagnetic waves in most demanding GPS applications.

Additionally, GPS patches have a high gain, meaning they can receive more signals than other antennas. It, therefore, allows a more precise positioning. Gain can also be changeable, providing cubesat platforms and improving or decreasing the antenna’s sensitivity.

GPS patch antennas are also helpful in car navigation systems. They are often mounted on the dashboard or windshield and assist the motorist in finding their location. In addition, they aid in tracking systems, such as those employed by police or security organizations.

GPS patch antennas are also applicable in cell phones and other mobile devices. They are often located on the device’s rear and offer location information. Additionally, they are helpful in GPS applications such as surface facing, drones and robotics.

Again, it may be easy to include GPS patch antennas in PCB layouts. For example, in rogers PCB, the low-mass active antenna takes minimum space, withstands high reflow temperatures, and may fit in any area on the board. Additionally, they are affordable and require minimal upkeep.

Conditions unfavorable to patch antenna in GPS applications

1. Interference

GPS Antenna

GPS patch antennas may be susceptible to interference from guided electromagnetic waves, and other radio frequency (RF) signals, such as cellular or Wi-Fi.

2. High-powered sources of RF

 High-frequency rf circuitry, such as radar installations, can degrade GPS patch antenna reception and hinder a consistent rf performance.

3. Barriers

Physical barriers such as trees, buildings, and mountains can limit GPS patch antenna signal strength and reception quality.

4. Low signal-to-noise ratio

A low signal-to-noise ratio can result in poor GPS patch antenna reception.

5. Installation error

A proper installation of GPS patch antennas might result in better reception.

6. Poor weather circumstances

 Poor weather conditions, such as rain, fog, or snow, can diminish signal strength and cause GPS patch antennas to get a weak signal and a lower gain.


In conclusion, GPS patch antennas have grown in popularity for GPS-enabled devices in recent years due to their small size, high radiation efficiency performance, reduced cost, excellent laser structuring precision, and adaptability. In addition, they are dependable, has a consistent rf performance,  and can withstand high reflow temperatures. Furthermore, they are a cost-effective option for a range of GPS applications and can convert unguided electronic waves into guided electromagnetic waves. and their usage is likely to grow much more prevalent in the near future as new technologies continue to be developed.