[time-nuts] Do reflections up/down the antenna cable cause a problem with GPS?

EB4APL eb4apl at gmail.com
Mon Nov 21 14:02:28 EST 2016

I believe that reflections within the cable doesn't matter regarding  
the GPS measurements, unlike the reflections coming from outside the 
antenna. The measurements are made from the differences in the arrival 
times of the different satellite signals to the antenna and delays after 
that basically does not affect them. Well, the cable delay affects to 
the phase of the PPS but this is accounted for in a parameter.

Anyway, I don't mean that a good matching is something that can be 
totally disregarded and if the mismatch is very large it will affect to 
the signal lever at the receiver input but not to the measurement 
mechanism. BTW some GPSDO's, the Thunderbolt being an example, are 
supposed to be feed with 75 Ohm antenna cable with F connectors.

I may be be totally wrong, but in that case I'll appreciate comments 
from more knowledgeable people.

Best regards,

Ignacio, EB4APL

El 21/11/2016 a las 14:45, Dr. David Kirkby (Kirkby Microwave Ltd) escribió:
> People state it is desirable to have a GPS antenna well clear of
> obstructions, which I believe is to stop reflections. But there is another
> source of reflections which I suspect could be just as problematic.
> Whilst the input impedance of the antenna input terminal on a GPS receiver
> is probably marked 50 Ohms, I'd be somewhat surprised if it was very close
> to 50 Ohms. Antenna cables have an impedance, which is typically 50 +/- 2
> Ohms, but this varies, not only between different makes/models of cables,
> but even on the same real of cable.The output of the pre-amp is most
> unlikely to have a 50 Ohm source impedance. In fact, the output impedance
> might be close to 0 Ohms, as it may be driven by a voltage source, without
> any 50 Ohm resistor.
> Anything not immediately absorbed by the GPS receiver is going to be
> reflected back up the coax, and could be reflected multiple times.
> I just looked on my HP 8720D VNA, and see I can reduce the output power to
> -70 dBm, which would should not do any damage. It will be interesting to
> see just what the input impedance of the GPS receiver is. I'm tied up with
> doing my accounts over the next few days, but later I will look.
> If reflections on the antenna/cable/receiver are a problem, then
> attenuators can improve the match, but of course they reduce the signal
> level too. A more intelligent, but more difficult solution, is to build a
> matching network. For that one would need a VNA to measure the impedance in
> the first place.
> Dr. David Kirkby Ph.D CEng MIET
> Kirkby Microwave Ltd
> Registered office: Stokes Hall Lodge, Burnham Rd, Althorne, Essex, CM3 6DT,
> UK.
> Registered in England and Wales, company number 08914892.
> http://www.kirkbymicrowave.co.uk/
> Tel: 07910 441670 / +44 7910 441670 (0900 to 2100 GMT only please)
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