For global positioning systems to serve their designed purpose, they need to receive signals. These signals may only come from the artificial satellites that are hovering above us in outer space. Right now there are an awful lot of artificial satellites that are roaming the world from above the atmosphere. Without GPS antennas, the modern electronic devices that we have that come with GPS functionality are rendered useless because they will not work at all.
If you have a device with GPS functionality and are wondering why there are no visible signs or indications of an antenna, it is because they are built-in right inside your gizmo. But many GPS devices come or can work even better with the use of an external antenna. You might be under the impression that GPS antennas are unnecessary, but some situations will call for it.
Countless numbers of people out there are unaware that their devices have GPS functionality. If you belong to this immense number of people and have not come across any kind of setback about it in terms of signal strength or loss, or an accuracy issue perhaps — chances are high that there is no need for an external antenna.
One situation wherein you will find an external antenna for GPS extremely useful is when you are in uncharted territory and you are not very much familiar with the place. A GPS device should work and point out to you the right track to take. However, if you are in doubt of its accuracy, or you have had issues with it in the past due to signal loss, then the use of an external antenna would be extremely helpful here.
The situation described above points out two important things, the integrity of your GPS device’s internal antenna if it is working well and okay. Then the second thing is if there is any external obstruction surrounding it. Obstructions surrounding your GPS device will interfere with the signal and thus disrupt the work of your GPS unit.
Other situations that will call for the use of an external antenna would be when you need to make a switch, first from a GPS unit, and then transition towards an in-dash unit. Or if your GPS unit is just a new acquisition you have. In this case, you need to do your homework, that is checking out your locale and see if anyone else with a GPS unit is also experiencing the same setback that you are having. If you affirm that everyone else is experiencing a certain level of accuracy issues on their GPS devices, then the use of an external antenna would be highly recommended instead.
Obstructions and Interference: The Impact They Have to GPS Reception
GPS devices that are designed to work optimally with the use of external antenna systems deliver their intended function by receiving signals coming from satellite networks that belonged to the Global Positioning System. With respect to the direction of satellites and signal strength, your car’s GPS unit is empowered. Thus, it can easily make accurate calculations concerning its physical location with a minimal margin of error.
In the presence of obstruction between your car GPS system and the surrounding skies, it will have a hard time obtaining satellite signals. This kind of scenario is not good, it is going to work to the disadvantage of your GPS systems failing to operate or is likely going to have a degraded accuracy.
High rise urban buildings and other similar infrastructure can bring about this kind of effect. Did you know that even your car roofing system can sometimes serve as an obstruction to your GPS system, too? A car roofing system can become an obstruction, too, and thus get in the way of the satellite signal to your vehicle’s GPS unit.
If you want to lessen the possible negative impact that a perceived obstruction to your GPS unit will likely bring, you may want to take advantage of a GPS locator instead and have it on your car window.
For better understanding, here is an example. Considering the metal roofing system of some vehicles, they usually come with an RF shield, unlike ragtops. For those vehicles that have tinted windows, they usually contain tiny metallic particles and because of that can get in the way of the signal for GPS antenna’s use.