External GPS Antenna

Discussion in 'Wireless & RF Design' started by jptrsn, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. jptrsn

    Thread Starter Member

    May 3, 2008

    I use a Garmin StreetPilot C330 in my car, and it's wonderful. Works well, gets great reception, and is a very useful navigational aid.

    Unfortunately, in my wife's Buick, the same can't be said. It has a lot of trouble getting a signal, and I have a suspicion that the special coating on the windshield is to blame (it has no problem getting a signal through an open window, but through the windshield is a lost cause). Basically, there is no signal, so any signal above nothing would be an improvement.

    I have researched how to build an external antenna, as budget precludes purchasing one. It doesn't seem too complicated, especially this patch antenna:

    However, I am worried that the signal loss will effectively render the antenna useless. The author of this article mentions building a small rf amplifier, which I would be willing to do (I have a small library of parts - transistors, diodes, resistors, etc.) but I can't find plans.

    I have a few questions:
    1) Would it be worthwhile to build an antenna, or would it be a wasted effort?
    2) How hard would it be to amplify the signal? I'm decent with a soldering iron, I probably have the parts, and I can put it together on a breadboard for testing.

    Thanks for any help!