Have you ever wondered how your GPS navigation system in your car or on your phone works?

Well, GPS antennas play a crucial role in making that happen.

These antennas are devices that receive signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and use that information to determine the user's location. Their history can be traced back to the 1970s when they were developed by the United States Department of Defense for military use.

However, they have since become widely used in civilian applications such as personal navigation devices, transportation, agriculture, and surveying.

This post covers all you need to know about the GPS antenna, the various models and their features. It also includes a comparison of these features as well as their prices.

To start with, how do they work?

How GPS Antennas Work?

These antennas receive signals sent by GPS satellites orbiting around the Earth. These signals carry important data about the satellite's location, time, and speed.

The GPS antenna then uses this information to figure out where the user is located on the Earth's surface. The accuracy of the GPS antenna depends on several factors such as how many satellites are in view, how strong the signal is, and the quality of the GPS antenna.

They can be used for several purposes, from personal navigation devices to transportation, and surveying.

For instance, transportation companies use GPS antennas to track their vehicles' locations, monitor driver behavior, and optimize routes to improve efficiency. Farmers use GPS antennas to map their fields, track crop growth, and optimize irrigation and fertilizer application.

Surveyors also use GPS antennas to determine the precise location of boundaries, buildings, and other structures. (An Investigation of the Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology and Its Augmentations within State and Local Transportation Departments)

Benefits of GPS Antennas for Users

GPS antennas come with a lot of benefits. Here are some major benefits it offers users:

  • Increased safety: GPS antennas help users navigate unfamiliar roads, avoid traffic congestion, and find the quickest route to their destination. They also assist transportation companies in monitoring their vehicles, which can improve driver safety and reduce accidents.
  • Improved efficiency: Farmers can use GPS antennas to optimize their irrigation and fertilizer application, resulting in reduced costs and increased crop yields. Transportation companies can also optimize their routes, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and improved delivery times.
  • Large Transits are able to meticulously track buses and trains reducing fuel costs, and improving passenger safety by monitoring driver behavior. 
  • Businesses are able to maintain their fleet of vehicles minimizing downtime and lost revenues. 

Overall, they are useful tools for anyone who needs to know their location or track the location of assets.

Popular Models of GPS Antennas

GPS antennas come in various types and models that can cater to different industries and applications. Here are some popular models of GPS antennas:

A. Direct Mount GPS Antennas:

These antennas are designed to be directly mounted on surfaces, such as car roofs or metal plates. They are perfect for anyone that needs a low-profile antenna with minimal wind resistance.

Direct mount GPS antennas are easy to install, making them a popular choice for many people. One example of a direct mount GPS antenna is the Pulse GPS antenna GPSDMW700/5800SSS.

Direct mount pulse GPS antenna source: Element14

B. NMO Mount GPS Antennas:

NMO mount GPS antennas are designed to be used with NMO antenna mounts, which are commonly found in vehicles. They have a sleek design and can be easily installed or removed.

NMO mount GPS antennas are commonly used in the transportation industry. One example of an NMO mount GPS antenna is the Pulse gps  antenna GPSNMO01.

NMO mount GPS antennas Source: Tallley

C. Pole Mount GPS Antennas:

Pole mount GPS antennas are designed to be mounted on a pole or mast. These antennas are ideal for applications where the antenna needs to be mounted high above the ground for better reception.

Pole mount GPS antennas are commonly used in the agricultural industry and for military applications. One example of a pole mount GPS antenna is the Pulse gps antenna GPS0015 antenna.

Pole mount GPS antennas Source: Talley

GPS antennas are available in different colors and brands. The most common colors are black and white, but there are other colors available as well. Some popular brands of GPS antennas include Pulse gps antenna, Laird GPS antenna, and PCTEL gps antenna.

When choosing a GPS antenna, it is important to consider your specific needs, such as frequency range, gain, and polarization. It's also essential to choose a reputable brand and ensure that the antenna is compatible with the receiver you're using.

Differences Between GPS Antenna Features

There are several GPS antennas with varying features, and in this section, we will explore some of the key differences between them.

Frequency range:

GPS antennas operate at a frequency range of 1575.42 MHz, which is in the GPS L1 band. However, some GPS antennas may also support other frequency bands, such as the L2 and L5 bands.


GPS antennas can have either circular or linear polarization. Circular polarization is further divided into right-hand circular polarization (RHCP) and left-hand circular polarization (LHCP). The choice of polarization depends on the orientation of the GPS satellite signals, and users must select an antenna that matches the polarization of the signal.


Gain is a measure of the amplification provided by the antenna. GPS antennas typically have a gain between 20 dB and 40 dB. A higher gain antenna provides better signal reception in areas with poor signal strength.


Beamwidth refers to the angle at which the antenna can receive signals. A narrower beam width indicates that the antenna is more directional, while a wider beam width indicates that the antenna can receive signals from a broader angle.

Noise figure:

Noise figure is a measure of the noise that is added to the received signal by the antenna. A lower noise figure indicates that the antenna adds less noise to the signal, resulting in a better signal-to-noise ratio.


Impedance is the resistance of the antenna to the flow of electrical current. GPS antennas typically have an impedance of 50 Ohm, which is the standard impedance used in most RF systems.


Mounting style:

GPS antennas can be mounted in different ways, such as directly on a surface or via a magnetic or screw mount. The choice of mounting style depends on the intended use of the antenna.



3-5V GPS Antenna





Laird GPS Antenna

 PCTEL GPS Antenna

Pulse GPS Antenna



Stico GPS Antenna

Frequency range

1575.42 MHz

1554-1615 MHz

698-5850 MHZ

136 MHz - 1 GHz







27 dB

38 dB



Noise figure

 2 dB

≤ 2.5 dB

<2.4 dB



50 ohms

50 ohms

50 ohms

50 ohms

Mounting style

Order Motorola style mount separately

Does not include mounting hardware

Vehicular mounting

Roof NMO Mount


Recommended Industries for Each Type of GPS Antenna

Different types of GPS antennas are suitable for different industries and applications. Here are some of the recommended industries for each type of GPS antenna:


Agricultural applications typically require GPS antennas that can be mounted high above the ground for better reception. Pole mount GPS antennas are ideal for this purpose. They provide high gain and wide coverage, which is essential for precision agriculture applications such as crop monitoring and mapping.


Construction sites require GPS antennas that are durable and can withstand harsh environmental conditions. Direct mount GPS antennas are a great choice for construction applications as they are low profile and can be easily mounted on machinery or vehicles. They provide accurate positioning data, which is crucial for tasks such as surveying and site planning.

Emergency Services:

Emergency services such as police and fire departments require GPS antennas that can provide accurate location data in real-time. NMO mount GPS antennas are commonly used in emergency service vehicles. They are compact and provide high accuracy, which is essential for efficient emergency response.


The transportation industry relies heavily on GPS technology for navigation and fleet management. NMO mount GPS antennas are commonly used in transportation vehicles as they are easy to install and can be mounted on the roof of the vehicle. They provide accurate positioning data, which is essential for efficient route planning and asset tracking.


Military applications require GPS antennas that are rugged and can withstand harsh environmental conditions. Pole mount GPS antennas are ideal for military applications as they provide high gain and wide coverage, which is essential for battlefield communication and surveillance.

Keep in mind that these industry recommendations aren't absolute, and the type of GPS antenna you need may vary depending on your specific application.

To ensure you choose the most suitable GPS antenna for your needs, it's always best to seek advice from a professional. They can help you determine the optimal GPS antenna based on your requirements and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Installation Process

Installing GPS antennas can be a bit tricky, but with the right equipment and expertise, it's definitely doable. Here are some things to keep in mind when installing GPS antennas:

How Long Does it Take to Install GPS Antennas

Installing GPS antennas can be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of how long it takes. It really depends on the type of antenna and where you're installing it. For example, if you're dealing with a patch antenna, installation can be pretty quick and easy, taking just a few minutes. But if you're dealing with a pole mount antenna, you might need to put in a bit more time and effort. Overall, installation can take anywhere from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how complex things get.

Cost of installation

So, if you're thinking about getting a GPS antenna installed, you might be wondering how much it'll cost you.

When it comes to the cost there are a lot of factors that can come into play. Things like the type of antenna, where you're installing it, and how complicated the installation is can all affect the final cost.

Generally, you're looking at a few hundred to several thousand dollars for installation. That includes everything from the equipment and labor to any permits or inspections needed to get the job done right.

Well, according to a report by HomeAdvisor, the average cost for installation across the country is around $550, with the typical range falling between $300 to $900. It's important to remember, though, that this is just a general estimate and the actual cost can depend on the specific needs of your installation.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, GPS antennas are a valuable tool for obtaining accurate location and positioning information. When choosing a GPS antenna, it's important to consider the specific needs of your industry and application, as well as the features and capabilities of different antenna types.

By working with an experienced GPS antenna provider, you can ensure that you have the right equipment and expertise for a successful installation. So don't hesitate, start exploring the benefits of GPS antennas for your business today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. Can I install a GPS antenna myself, or do I need to hire a professional?

While some GPS antennas are relatively easy to install, others may require a professional installation to ensure proper placement and functionality. It's important to consider your level of expertise and experience before attempting a DIY installation.

Q 2. Can GPS antennas be used in both indoor and outdoor applications?

Yes, GPS antennas can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications, but the specific antenna you choose may depend on your location and application requirements. Some antennas are better suited for indoor use, while others are designed for outdoor use in harsh weather conditions.

Q 3. How can I ensure the GPS antenna is properly installed and operating correctly?

It is important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations for installation and operation of the GPS antenna. Additionally, working with an experienced GPS antenna provider can ensure that the antenna is installed correctly and operating at optimal performance. Regular testing and maintenance can also help ensure that the GPS antenna is operating correctly.

Q 4. What kind of maintenance is required for GPS antennas?

GPS antennas typically require minimal maintenance. However, it is recommended to periodically inspect the antenna and its components to ensure that they are in good condition and functioning properly.

This includes checking the cables and connectors for any signs of damage or wear, and cleaning the antenna to remove any dirt or debris that could affect its performance.




“Laird Technologies - 3-5V Micro GPS Antenna with SMA Connector Installed - Black : Electronics.”, Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.

“About Pulse Products.” Pulse Electronics, 2017, Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.

An Investigation of the Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology and Its Augmentations within State and Local Transportation Departments. 2000.

“ Frequently Asked Questions.”,

“Surface Transportation and Global Positioning System Improvements: L5 and DGPS | FHWA.”, Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.

“How Much Does It Cost to Install Embedded GPS Systems in a Car?” Quora, Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.

“Techopedia: Educating IT Professionals to Make Smarter Decisions.”,§ Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.




Nick has 15 years of experience working within the critical communications industry and has a proven track record of success in providing solutions to public safety communications professionals. Nick is an avid writer who has been frequently published on numerous industry-specific websites. Below is a sample of Nick's writing portfolio: Nick regularly attends critical communication-centric conferences including the International Wireless Conference, APCO Conference, and International Police Chiefs Conference. Mr. Hohman has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore. During his free time, Nick enjoys playing cards, traveling, and spending time with his family.

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