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Fastrax touts smallest GPS antenna module

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPS module? antenna? GPS receiver?

Fastrax Ltd. will begin production later this year of what it touts as the world's smallest GPS module. The UC430 module packs into one device a high-performance GPS receiver and an integrated chip antenna.

According to Fastrax, the UC430 module already includes an antenna and has a size of only 9.6 x 14.0 x 1.95 mm. The product is designed for handheld computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, asset tracking devices, and other applications with space and power restrictions.

The module, it said, features an always-on location awareness that enables fast and convenient use of location aware digital devices.

The UC430 module uses CSR's SiRFaware technology and is embedded with a technology called the Adaptive Micropower Controller. The combination allows the module to autonomously activate itself periodically from stand-by, resulting in the reduction of Time To First Fix (TTFF) by up to 70 percent.

The SiRFaware technology allows the module to maintain hot-start readiness with minimal power consumption of 125?A average current and Kanwar Chadha, CSR chief marketing officer, said that the module's use of its SiRFstarIV architecture enables the UC430 to eliminate annoying startup delays without draining the battery power.

For his part, Fastrax CEO and president, Taneli Tuurnala, said the growing popularity of location-aware features in battery-operated devices increases the demand for small, compact and easy to deploy GPS designs with built-in antennas and low power consumption.

"Integration of GPS features in digital cameras and the like introduces location aware features to a demanding high volume market expecting fast and reliable positioning. We believe the Fastrax UC430 is an ideal fit to these needs and an important addition to our broad portfolio of GNSS modules for all possible applications and requirements," Tuurnala said.

According to Fastrax, the self-assisted positioning feature is based on Client Generated Extended Ephemeris (CGEE), allowing the module to calculate predicted satellite positions for up to three days following the latest activation based on broadcast ephemeris data.The CGEE removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data communication required to obtain traditional A-GPS information.

Also, the module has future support and connectivity to optional external sensors for dead reckoning, enabling the detection of more accurate static position and movement when satellite signals are unavailable.

The Fastrax UC430 sports a circular radiation pattern, a design that ensures signal acquisition, according to the company. It also has a cold start acquisition sensitivity of -147dBm and tracking sensitivity of -163dBm that ensures high-performance navigation.

Further, the Fastrax UC430 contains an active jammer remover which tracks and removes up to eight interfering signals that would otherwise decrease navigation performance. It also supports an optional connectivity for external antenna signal, enabling the module to stay operational even if the external antenna is removed or damaged. The module supports both active and passive antennas.

According to Fastrax, the addition of serial connection, one control signal and power supply is all that is required to make the module operational. It also does not require manual soldering.

Samples of Fastrax UC430 will be available in July. The volume production of the module will start in the fourth quarter this year.

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