With new signals and frequencies coming on line with modernized GNSSs, antennas play a more crucial role than ever in receiver system design.
Antennas are often an overlooked or undervalued aspect of GNSS user equipment.
Many consumers take the antenna for granted because it is an almost invisible, intrinsic part of receiver design. Mass- market receivers typically have built-in antennas offering no choice for buyers even if they were interested. And some GNSS antennas may simply be one among several RF systems that the component accommodates — part of a mix that includes non-GNSS RF signals such as GSM or WiFi as well.
Even professional and commercial users have gotten used to only having two frequencies to worry about when acquiring GNSS receivers.
But this situation is changing.
Interference and multipath, which have long posed problems for uninterrupted, accurate GNSS positioning, can only increase with crowding in the RF spectrum and efforts to expand the area of receiver operation into signal-challenged environments such as urban areas or inside buildings. Further, as more GNSS signals appear at more varied frequencies, antennas are becoming a larger factor for product designers and many users, too.
To learn more about GNSS antennas, we turned to Dr. Chris Bartone, a professor at Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology and president of the consultancy, GNSS Solutions Ltd.