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Is it possible to extend the 1mW wire antenna XBees from the short wire antenna, to a longer wire antenna? Will this harm the output stage of the XBee? The point being that I have an XBee in a metal box and I need to place the antenna outside the box. Due to the placement of the XBee, the wire antenna needs to be about 10cm.

Or alternatively, is it just a matter of replacing the wire antenna on the XBEE with a U.FL connector. Is that the identical connector used on XBees?

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The xbee website shows various different antenna options - including an option that supports using an external antenna via a UFL RF Connector (such as the one on littlebirdelectronics.com). I'm sure it would be fine to attach your own antenna, the connectors look like a good choice and have the option of being disconnected, but even if you just soldered it directly on, as long as it's a suitable frequency/length it should be ok.

If you extend the length of the antenna you could mess up the transmission strength, range or quality - the length of the antenna has a direct relationship to the wavelength of the transmission frequency.

When you come to fit the external antenna - any wire connecting the antenna to the xbee module must be well shielded so it does not add to the antennas overall length, you can't just increase the antennas length till it reaches the outside of the metal box <- it may seem obvious to most, but if ya don't know about it, it can be easily overlooked.

Here's a web site with various prebuilt coax cables that are used for connecting antennas to wireless modules, thought it may help to have a peek - http://www.gradconn.com/rf-cable/rf-cable-assembly.asp

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The major thing is impedance matching, just because the wire is longer does not mean that it will not match. You are correct that most antenna's are very selective in frequency, but many are not. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Apr 19 '10 at 22:07

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