Taoglas’ Universe PCS.50.A – or more accurately their tiny PCSD.50.A evaluation board – is another product that I have seen at multiple events recently, and having now chatted with one of their engineers at Electronica, I can see this is a pretty cool piece of kit for small wireless-enabled designs.
The Universe PCS.50.A is a patent-pending active Cellular and GNSS antenna where the resonance frequency can be adjusted to a desired frequency band, allowing high performance on multiple bands within a device with a single, compact antenna (FR4, 38 x 10 x 1.6 mm) that can be easily integrated as part of the circuit board using automated SMD assembly processes.
With an unprecedented level of integration, the PCS.50.A combines aperture tuning and active switching technologies to provide wideband coverage for GNSS and most 4G cellular bands (LTE: 698-960 MHz, 1710-2700 MHz, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou: 1561-1602 MHz). Frequency switching is performed using an RF switch that connects the antenna to specific matching circuits designed for the bands used in your application. A second active switch can be added to select between Cellular or GNSS operation, and Taoglas provides extensive support to help integrate the PCS.50.A into your end device and ensure the product matches your RF requirements and capabilities.
Emphasising the compactness of this solution, the PCS.50.A is tuned for PCBs of just 40 x 50 mm, making it suitable for the very smallest of IoT and CAT-M devices. Typical applications include smart sensors, wearables, and asset tracking. The PCS.50.A is compatible with radio modules that support RF front end control interface (RFFE), and this module would control the active RF switch to adjust the antenna resonance frequency, ensuring efficient operation on multiple bands and increasing the RF capabilities by 3 dB compared with standard passive solutions. This will in turn improve the Total Radiated Power (TRP) and Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS). That said, the engineer we talked to reminded us that the RF-design world is one of compromise and made it clear that this solution is meant for applications where multiple bands are required in the smallest end device. If you are looking for a single band in a larger device, Taoglas will have antennae that exhibit superior performance without the flexibility of the PCS.50.A.
Taoglas’ PCSD.50.A board (pictured) was created for evaluating this technology, and it includes the PCS.50.A antenna, RF switches, and other components to operate this smart antenna solution. The evaluation kit uses a simple SP8T RF switch to select different matching circuits and a SPDT to select GNSS or LTE radios.
(Image sourced from Taoglas)