Particle Boron Antenna

Hello,

When I power up my Boron, it gets stuck on a rapidly blinking cyan (Connecting to the Cloud). Does that mean cell coverage is bad where I am located? I am situated in Canada, Alberta. I am using the flexible Taoglas antenna that came with the Boron. I know that the Toaglas is spec’ed for LTE bands from 698 – 3000MHz (https://www.taoglas.com/product/fxub63-ultra-wide-band-flex-antenna/)

If I want to replace the flexible Taoglas antenna with a higher gain antenna, can I use any antenna rated for LTE communication? Such as this one from DigiKey?

https://www.digikey.ca/en/products/detail/linx-technologies-inc/ANT-LTE-WS-SMA/9564444?utm_adgroup=RF%2FIF%20and%20RFID&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Smart%20Shopping_Product_RF%2FIF%20and%20RFID&utm_term=&productid=9564444&gclid=Cj0KCQjwvvj5BRDkARIsAGD9vlLXALuZevuHpkK3DqueUwUvXBF8jSSKOmTJQZ9D4nFpHsUiQDVRgOIaArLIEALw_wcB

For personal use, you can use a variety of cellular antennas. That one should be fine. (If you are manufacturing a product, there are certification issues that can occur with other antennas.)

The Boron comes with a u.FL connector. Most GSM antennas like that one require an SMA connector. A small adapter can be purchased:

At Adafruit, you can get this adapter . At SparkFun this adapter. At Amazon this adapter .

I use this antenna from Amazon which is about 4" long and has a magnetic mount to improve reception in fringe areas.

Thanks for your feedback!

@rickkas7 - Do you loose the Particle Boron FCC listing if you use any other type of antenna than the Toaglas one it comes with it? Or is there a couple different options of different Antennas that would not invalidate the FCC listing? I’m somewhere in between selling a product and personal use but some things are still a bit unclear as it pertains to FCC. So far I only use the one that comes with it but I’ve been considering going to an antenna external to my enclosure for possible improved reception. Any thoughts or guidance is appreciated.

AFAIK as long the gain of the antenna is less or equal to the one used for certification you should be good.

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The restriction for reusing the Particle FCC certification is two-pronged:

  • The same type of antenna. This means a trace antenna, not, for example, a dipole.
  • The same or less gain in each supported band.

For cellular, antenna gain is specified for each band (700, 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2600 MHz, etc.) and the gain must be the same or lower in each band. However, it it for supported bands, and for example, the Boron 2G/3G does not support 700 or 2600 MHz, so you wouldn’t be restricted by those.

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Thanks @rickkas7 for clarifying! I think I’ll stick with the trace antenna then either the included one with the Boron:
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/taoglas-limited/FXUB63-07-0150C/4965532?s=N4IgTCBcDaIGIA0CqAhAbAZgHQAYDsuAjAKw4DCIAugL5A

or I’ve also tried this slightly larger version however not really sure if it helped or not, I just know it still works:
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/taoglas-limited/FXUB66.07.0150C/3724559

Looks like they are both 5dBI gain max. I’ll have to do a little more testing on this antenna to see if it’s even worth it. I am still new to the RF world, I probably will have better improvement just by Antenna Location in my enclosure (i.e. don’t stick it against the Lipo Battery pack) or keeping that enclosure high in the air vs low to the ground rather than the difference between these two antennas but every little bit helps. If you have anything to add, guidance or even reference material/YouTube series I can browse let me know. Ultimately, I want to keep/not invalidate the Boron FCC listing but also maximize cellular signal strength in remote settings. Thanks!