What antenna types are supported by Notecard?

version 20210401.1

Cellular

Select antennas that support the full range of bands supported by the Notecard modem.

Notecard SKU Description Modem Datasheet Link
NOTE-NBGL-* Narrow-band global coverage: LTE Cat-M, NB-IoT, GSM Quectel BG95-M3
NOTE-NBNA-* Narrowband North America coverage: LTE Cat-M Quectel BG95-M1
NOTE-WBEX-* Wideband Europe, Middle East, Asia coverage: LTE Cat-1, WCDMA, GSM Quectel EG91-EX
NOTE-WBNA-* Wideband North America coverage: LTE Cat-1, WCDMA Quectel EG91-NAX
* designates all SKU of that type

Antennas we have used successfully across our product line

LTE CAT-1 / CAT-M / Nb-IoT / GSM
Vendor/Part Number Description
Pulse W3796 surface mount component
Maximus FXUB66 flexible printed circuit single-channel
Molex 2091420180 flexible printed circuit single-channel
Taoglas MFX3.07.0150C flexible printed circuit single-channel
Pulse W6112B0100 flexible printed circuit dual-channel
Taoglas MA256.A.LBI.001 dual channel + active GPS

Diversity Antenna for Wideband Notecards

NOTE-WBEX and NOTE-WBNA have two U.FL cellular antenna connectors. You must connect an antenna to the MAIN connector. The purpose of the DIV connector is to use LTE Cat1 antenna diversity to improve reception in applications where the antennas see reflected copies of the received signal, such as in a basement. A connection to the DIV connector is optional and is only necessary when a single MAIN antenna does not perform adequately.

GPS

We recommend the use of an active GPS antenna for adequate performance. You should select an active antenna with 50 Ohm impedance which accepts voltages in the 3.3V-4.0V range, for compatibility with current (3.9V) and future Notecards. Notecard supports the use of a passive GPS antenna, but performance will be significantly degraded.

GPS Antennas we have used successfully:

Type Vendor/Part Number
Active Taoglas MA256.A.LBI.001 (dual channel + active GPS)
Passive Pulse W3010 (surface mount component)

See also:

GPS Antenna on Notecard Datasheet

Using External GPS Antennas with Notecarriers

Which Notecarriers support which type of GPS antenna

Active Antenna Passive Antenna
Notecarrier-A NO 1 YES
Notecarrier-B YES YES 2 requires hardware modification
Notecarrier-Pi YES 3 YES 4

Notecarrier-A*

(1) The GPS antenna mounted on the Notecarrier-A* is active, but does not power its amplifier via bias voltage on the GPS coaxial u.FL connector. An external active antenna connected to Notecard will not be powered by Notecard because there is no voltage bias on the GPS coaxial connector when it is mounted to a Notecarrier-A*

Notecarrier-B

(2) DO NOT connect a passive antenna to a Notecard mounted in Notecarrier-B factory configuration. It will permanently damage the Notecard by presenting a DC short circuit to the GPS antenna connector which has a 3.9V DC bias.

To enable passive antenna support for Notecarrier-B refer to the datasheet here: Notecarrier Datasheet - Blues Developers

Notecarrier-Pi

(3) Set the ACTIVE GPS switch to the ON position to enable the voltage bias for an active antenna

DO NOT use a passive antenna when the ACTIVE GPS switch is set to ON. The passive antenna will permanently damage the Notecard by presenting a DC short circuit to the GPS antenna connector which has a 3.9V DC bias.

(4) You MUST set the ACTIVE GPS switch to the OFF position. Failing to do so will permanently damage the Notecard when a passive antenna is connected.

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Antennas represent a substantial cost compared to the Notecard.

  1. So choosing one of those four flexible antennas is based on price vs. gain?
    Maximus FXUB66 --> $11.83 for 5.5dBi
    Molex 2091420180 --> $1.57 for 2.7dBi
    Taoglas MFX3.07.0150C --> $9.63 for 5dBi
    Pulse W6112B0100 --> $7.13 for 4dBi

  2. Could you please provide more examples of scenarios where we should expect a reflected signal (besides basements)?

  3. In a LTE Cat1 scenario requiring DIV, it is a better strategy to use two lower cost antennas (second on DIV) or one top-of-the-line?

  4. If using two antenna, do they need to be identical?

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Are these antennas usable with the Notecarrier B without modification?

Or these for GPS: https://no.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Molex/206560-0200?qs=wQWKWGyrjFlhvQnOZs6lUQ%3D%3D

I think it is 50 Ohm.

Hey @gauteh the Molex 213353 is a great antenna, and should work for you. I just used it on a two-week road trip across the US and had no problems.

Ok, great. So I don’t need to remove the 0 ohm resistor when connecting it to the notecard ufl connector? I got confused by this post and the notecarrier B section on Antenna requirements.

No, you do not need to remove the 0 ohm resistor for cellular antennas.

Hardware modification of Notecarrier B applies only to the GPS antenna. You do not need to modify the hardware if

  1. You are only using a cellular antenna
  2. You are using an active GPS antenna
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Ok. But I don’t think the two links I provided are to active antennas?

Sorry about that. I missed the links above. They do indeed appear to be passive antennae

The #206560-0200 is certainly passive:

For the other antenna, I see it is a trace antenna, and it doesn’t specify any input voltage range, so I expect it too is passive.

So in this case, yes the 0 ohm resistor should be removed. Not removing it and plugging in a passive GPS antenna on the Notecard can fry the Notecard and render it unusable.

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Thanks!

@bsatrom Did you remove the resistor when you used the Molex 213353?

Hi @gauteh sorry for the delay, I wanted to run another test to verify before replying. But no, I did not remove the resistor for the Molex 213353 when using it with the Notecarrier B and have not had any issues with it.

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Ok, thanks good to know. I’ll remove it on future assemblies.