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I'm very new to RF and I'm considering using a Pulse W3013 antenna on my next project but I just can't understand the layout recommendations on the datasheet.

The antenna has only 2 pads but the layout recommendations shows 3 pads, 2 of the pads are connected to the ground and the other is the feed from the transceiver, soldering the antenna on the pads will short the feed trace with the ground on one pad, is this normal or is there something i'm missing?

Antenna

enter image description here

Layout recommendations

enter image description here

I've seen other designs where one of the pads of the antenna is connected to a trace that from what I understand is used for fine tuning the antenna but this design is completely different so I'm kind of lost.

I already have seen this question but this looks like it is the opposite situation because here is the antenna that shorts the feed with the ground.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I higly recommend to contact pulse and ask. This is quite strange. The antenna should go between feed point 1 and ground point 3 given that you get about 10mm between those two points \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 1:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GustavoLitovsky Thank you very much for your reply. Currently I have the RF on hold while I'm working on other parts of design but I will consider contacting Pulse just to clarify why the antena is designed like that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 19:03

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That is a rather interesting feed design. It seems to be exactly the same situation as the question you linked - the short is being used to change the antenna's resonant frequency. This is very necessary for 870 MHz as it is very low for an antenna that small. The wavelength of 870 MHz is 34.5 cm (30 cm at 1 GHz / 0.87 GHz), making a standard quarter wave antenna 8.6 cm long. This antenna is 1cm long, necessitating some clever design. As for exactly why it does that; I am not an antennas expert so I probably can't give you a very good answer. Also, their datasheet does not shed much light on how the antenna is constructed. The picture seems to show a meandering trace on the side of the antenna, but without more detailed information on how the antenna is constructed and oriented it is a little difficult to speculate on exactly what is going on.

When it comes down to small antennas like this, you can't think in terms of currents and voltages, you have to think in terms of electromagnetic waves. An EM wave from the transmitter will be guided down the waveguide and coupled into the antenna, more or less ignoring the short. It does make a good deal of difference what direction the wave is coming from and exactly where it gets coupled into the antenna as this will affect both the mode excited as well as the impedance seen at the input. Well, the short will affect it but it won't stop it. It still gets coupled into the antenna. The shorting pin affects how the EM fields inside the antenna oscillate, helping the antenna achieve resonance at 870 MHz.

Speaking of impedance, I presume you're going to build a matching network to properly match the antenna's complex impedance (72-j23 to 86-j5 ohms, according to the datasheet) to your 50 ohm trace?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much for your reply. Currently I have the RF on hold while I'm working on other parts of design. Your answer helped me understand how the antenna works but I'm not accepting it yet in oder to encourage more answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 19:01
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I was asking myself the same questions for the W3010.

It seems that the antenna design is based on a ceramic loaded planar inverted-F antenna (PIFA).

PIFA structure

The portion of the antenna between the feedpoint and the ground plane is essentially behaving as a short-circuit stub.

Basically the "short" and the first half of the antenna act like the radiator and the second half acts like a tuner of the resonance frequency.

PIFA layout

So the antenna performance are strongly affected by PCB layout and electrical lenght.

enter image description here

Images are provided by Pulse Electronics in the pdf here

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A DC short-circuit wouldn't be one at RF.

The Pulse W3013 ceramic chip antenna would look like this, when 'opened out'.

enter image description here

It's a loop antenna, grounded at both ends.

Being symmetrical, it may be soldered either way.

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