Wideband Patch Antennas for Multi-Constellation GNSS Connectivity

Kathleen D. Fasenfest

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: As additional Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) constellations come into operational service, multi-constellation connectivity is increasingly desired for improved reliability and additional accuracy. Microstrip patch antennas often are used for GNSS reception in size-limited applications, as increased substrate permittivity allows size reduction of these antennas at the expense of antenna gain. However, traditional microstrip patch antenna designs limit reception to one or two relatively narrow bands, inhibiting the capabilities of multi-constellation GNSS receivers. A wideband, circularly-polarized antenna topology is needed for size-constrained multi-constellation GNSS connectivity. Known methods of increasing microstrip patch antenna bandwidth include increasing the substrate thickness, employing proximity-coupled feeding, and increasing the number of feed points. The wideband patch antenna design approaches of this paper start with thick substrates and use four proximity-coupled feed probes to excite each antenna. Two example designs illustrate these design concepts and demonstrate the bandwidth potential of patch antennas. Most wideband microstrip patch antenna designs in the literature focus on low permittivity substrates, with air being a common substrate choice. However, in this work, parametric studies of substrate permittivity show wideband performance is achievable regardless of substrate permittivity. The results show that antenna efficiency decreases with increased substrate permittivity, but that impedance and axial ratio bandwidths remain wideband across a range of substrate permittivities. When paired with sensitive receivers, these new wideband patch designs allow miniaturization of antennas. For size-constrained applications, wideband patch antennas offer excellent paths for realizing compact multi-constellation GNSS antennas and arrays.
Published in: Proceedings of the 2015 International Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation
January 26 - 28, 2015
Laguna Cliffs Marriott
Dana Point, California
Pages: 811 - 821
Cite this article: Fasenfest, Kathleen D., "Wideband Patch Antennas for Multi-Constellation GNSS Connectivity," Proceedings of the 2015 International Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation, Dana Point, California, January 2015, pp. 811-821.
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