Gilsson Technologies produces a GPS antenna with better performance for LESS money!
No matter which GPS receiver (GPSr) you own, its signal reception can always be improved by the use of an external antenna. The reason for this is because the most convenient location for viewing and carrying a GPSr is rarely ever a good location for receiving
An external antenna allows you to place the antenna in the best possible location (generally the roof of your vehicle) while allowing you to place your GPSr in the most convenient and secure location for viewing the display screen. The result is faster signal acquisition and stronger signal reception. This enhanced signal reception allows the GPSr to operate more easily under conditions where there is a poor view of the sky, such as under heavy tree cover or in heavily built-up urban areas. It also results in a more accurate calculation of your current position.
Better signal reception also reduces the risk of losing signal lock which can be a big problem when you're in the woods. It is always harder for a GPSr to lock onto a signal than it is to maintain a lock. So, if you lose the signal under heavy tree cover, you might not get it back until you reach a clearing. This can cause a lot of problems if you're trying to record a track log to help you find your way home, or for mapping purposes.
It's not just fourwheelers who benefit from an external antenna. Hikers can also benefit from an external antenna, especially if they want to record a track log. It's far more convenient to carry the GPSr in your pocket with an external antenna attached to your hat or backpack, than it is holding the GPSr in your outstretched arm. Which would you rather do during a 6 hour hike?
The Gilsson antenna I tested is equivalent to Garmin model GA27C. It is an amplified, high performance patch antenna with state-of-the-art low noise amplifiers. Gilsson guarantees that their antennas will out-perform the competitions' equivalent models, and back this up by conducting actual field tests. The real surprise, though, is that GPSGeek.com is selling the Gilsson's antenna for around USD$20 vs. approximately USD$100 for Garmin's GA27C! That's right, the equivalent Garmin antenna costs FIVE times more than the Gilsson at GPSGeek.com.
They offer these antennas with cable lengths of 3 ft., 9 ft., and 16 ft. The antenna used in this article has the 9 ft. cable and an MCX right-angle connector to attach to a Garmin 76C.
Here's a comparison of signal reception under moderate tree cover, with the GPSr mounted on the dashboard of a Jeep Cherokee:
Notice that with the Gilsson antenna attached, the signal strength is stronger AND more satellites have been locked onto. Also notice that the estimated error has been reduced by 6 metres.
And in case you think that the antenna only improves reception under difficult situations, here's a comparison with the GPSr placed on the roof of the truck in a parking lot offering a clear view of the sky:
Even under clear skies, the Gilsson provides remarkably better signal reception than the built-in antenna, with most of the channels fully maxed out. And once again, this has resulted in a reduction in estimated position error.
For USD$20, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't buy the Gilsson. This is an amazing deal. If you own a GPSr, then you owe it to yourself to buy a Gilsson antenna. It's as simple as that.
Update: since this article was published, the price has now increased to around USD$50 at GPSGeek.com. However, if you go to eBay and search for the stored called "gpsgeek", you will be able to buy the antenna for USD$18.95 (as of May 1, 2005). Obviously prices will continue to change but for now, that's the way things stand.
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