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Guide to Patch Leads and Passive Patch Leads

What is an External Antenna Patch Lead

Antenna cables tend to terminate with a standard connection, most commonly a female 'FME' connector. To plug an antenna into your mobile phone or wireless broadband modem, you will need a patch lead, a short cable that acts as a conversion from the FME connector to the device-specific connector that will plug into your device. Most common of these plugs in Australia for wireless broadband and internet dongles are TS9 (Sierra, ZTE) and CRC9 (Huawei).

Mobile phone antenna connections vary enormously and are different, usually by size of the barrel and pin length. Most smart mobile phones have no antenna connection and will require a passive patch lead. The Australian market for mobile phones is very small in comparison to some of the Asian and European countries, so the mobile phone manufacturer's design their handsets to these requirements. The advent of Bluetooth technology also brought in the era of not requiring to cradle the mobile phone handset, so the requirement for direct antenna connection was and is being diminished. Some mobile phone handset manufacturer's build in a test port for antenna connection during servicing and we have taken the opportunity to provide patch leads to connect into these. You can access these test ports by removing the rear battery cover, we are endeavouring to provide replacement battery covers with pre-drilled holes for your patch lead connection. Direct connection patch leads will always out perform in reception to a passive patch lead, as you have directly made a contact into the mobile phone handset antenna.

Specifications:
Length: 15-50cm
Attenuation (loss): 0.25dB
Cable Type: RG-174
Antenna Connector: Male FME
Device Connector:
- Mobile Phones: Usually MS-147, Mini-RF
- Wireless Modems: Usually TS-9, CRC-9

Passive Patch Lead vs. Direct Connect Patch Lead

My phone doesn't have a port to plug in an external antenna, what can I do to improve reception?
You can still improve signal by using a passive patch lead. This type of patch lead has a small pad containing a coil of wire, instead of a device connector, and uses the principle of electromagnetic induction to allow incoming signal to 'jump' from the pad to the phones internal antenna.

What do we recommend?

When it comes to phones without antenna ports a fitted cradle is the preferred option. Cradles typically have a transfer loss of around 4-6dB depending on the design. This is because the manufacturer of the cradle will have already positioned the inductive loop in the best performing position, and often the loop itself is a more sophisticated design.
If a fitted cradle doesn't exist for your phone's model, the next best option is a universal cradle. This type of cradle has a much larger inductive surface in order to support a wide range of phones, and for many phone models performance is just as good.

If a cradle isn't suitable for your particular situation, your next option is the passive patch lead.

How well do passive patch leads work?

Placed correctly you can reduce the amount of signal that is lost during induction, we suggest expecting about 6-9dB of signal loss by using a passive patch lead over a direct connection. The type of antenna that should be used in conjunction with a passive patch lead should have at least a 6dBi gain, and mounted sufficiently high to overcome this loss.

To achieve best results, the inductive pad, on the passive patch lead must be placed up against the phones internal antenna. The lengthways span of the pad should be placed lengthways along the phones antenna. The location of a phones internal antenna varies by make and model, so you can either search the web for a technical diagram or schematic, or locate it by trial and error. If you're still having no luck, send us an email at sales@telcoantennas.com.au

Customer Experience
"With the plugged version of external antenna I all most had signal the while way. With the induction one I was trying (Apple and HTC use induction) I maybe got 12 k further. Don't get me wrong, they are better than no at all and for city blind spots fits the bill but for absolute best signal the fixed is better." - http://www2.pajeroclub.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=23500

"I have 3 passive aerials in pilot cars and my patrol, while not perfect they enhance the range by heaps with my HTC Desire on Telstra. ... To figure out where the antenna is inside your phone, just move the pad around until the signal strength improves in marginal areas and stick it there" - http://www.patrol4x4.com/forum/auto-electrical-37/secondary-aerial-boost-mobile-phone-reception-72896/