Assembly

Antenna Options

These radio Wings do not have a built-in antenna. Instead, you have three options for attaching an antenna. For most low cost radio nodes, a wire works great. If you need to put the radio into an enclosure, soldering in uFL and using a uFL to SMA adapter will let you attach an external antenna. You can also solder an SMA edge-mount connector directly

Wire Antenna

A wire antenna, aka "quarter wave whip antenna" is low cost and works very well! You just have to cut the wire down to the right length.

Cut a stranded or solid core wire the the proper length for the module/frequency

  • 433 MHz - 6.5 inches, or 16.5 cm
  • 868 MHz - 3.25 inches or 8.2 cm
  • 915 MHz - 3 inches or 7.8 cm

Strip a mm or two off the end of the wire, tin and solder into the ANT pad.

uFL Connector

If you want an external antenna that is a few inches away from the radio, you need to do a tiny bit more work but its not too difficult.

You'll need to get an SMT uFL connector, these are fairly standard

You'll also need a uFL to SMA adapter (or whatever adapter you need for the antenna you'll be using, SMA is the most common

Of course, you will also need an antenna of some sort, that matches your radio frequency

uFL connectors are rated for 30 connection cycles, but be careful when connecting/disconnecting to not rip the pads off the PCB. Once a uFL/SMA adapter is connected, use strain relief!

Start by melting solder onto the center signal pad

Check the bottom of the uFL connector, note that there's two large side pads (ground) and a little inlet pad. The other small pad is not used!

Solder in the first pad while holding the uFL steady

Solder in the two side pads, they are used for signal and mechanical connectivity so make sure there's plenty of solder

Once done, check your work visually

SMA Edge-Mount Connector

These strong edge connectors are used for many 'duck' antennas, and can also be panel mounted

You'll need an SMA (or, if you need RP-SMA for some reason) Edge-Mount connector with 1.6mm spacing

The SMA connector 'slides on' the top of the PCB

Solder all 5 connections (4 ground/mechanical and 1 signal)

Use plenty of solder to make sure you have a good strong mechanical connection. The duck antennas are long and make great levers, so they could pry apart the solder joints if not soldered well

This guide was first published on Aug 24, 2016. It was last updated on Aug 24, 2016. This page (Assembly) was last updated on Dec 05, 2019.