Pagoda antenna – panelized version – results

By | January 28, 2017

Some time ago I ordered some Pagoda FPV antennas PCBs on elecrow. I modified Maartens ingenious python script to render multiple antennas in a 3×3 grid and into one single gerber file. My script added small breakaway tabs and they worked perfectly. The single PCBs snap away easily. A picture is worth a thousands words:


Unfortunately I used python2 to render the gerber files… The script of Maarten was meant to run on python3. My gerber files had some bad geometries and have the inner rings a fraction too small. I hope this will not affect the antenna characteristics to much.

I recently updated my script to render a 4×4 grid of antennas. When you order on seedstudio you can get 160 antennas for $ 30 + shipping! Make sure to use the proper PCB thickness when you order those.

Make sure to grab some RG401 cable, I was lazy and ordered pre-soldered dual end pigtails on ebay. This auction is a bargain, ~13 Euro for a set of 10 pigtails (= 20 antennas).

Now I need to find some time to build some of these antennas…

UDPATE: see this post on how to order the antennas on Seeedstdio

47 thoughts on “Pagoda antenna – panelized version – results

  1. Ivan

    Thanks fishpepper for the gerber files.
    Verry pleased with them.
    Finaly received the pcbs from Seeedstudio 2 days ago, they are looking good without any problems.
    Tested some antennas with a homemade SWR meter.
    Scanning 16 channels starting from 5645 Ghz upto 5945Ghz with help from arduino gives a nice plot on the LCD screen.
    At 5805ghz SWR is 1:1.10

    Thanks again,
    maybe someday ill order LHCP but for now i am good.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan

      Hi,

      Ivan – Do you have a build guide for your home made SWR meter?

      Simon – Thank you for the gerber files I ordered mine from seeedstudio yesterday hoping the PCBs will turn out ok 🙂

      Regards,
      J

      Reply
  2. Philipp Seidel

    Hi Simon,

    wie gehts?

    Wie siehts aus mit den Gerber Files? Ich würde mir gerne welche bestellen. Kannst du in deinem Beitrag noch ein paar Screenshots vom Seedstudio Bestellvorgang einfügen damit wir wissen​ worauf zu achten ist, das wäre super.

    Beste Grüße,
    Phil

    Reply
        1. fishpepper Post author

          Some had bad pcbs, some hab good pcbs. Seems quite random, hopefully they fixed their process by now.
          When I complained they responded that it was their fault and sent new ones.

          Reply
  3. Thom Para

    Thank you for the Gerber files. I got my order from Seeed Studio and the boards are correct.
    2 distinct concentric rings on the back of the top board.
    I ordered a set of both LHCP and RHCP boards and they look perfect..
    Thank you for all your help.
    Thom

    Reply
  4. Thom Para

    I viewed the Gerber file on OSH Parks’s viewer and it looked correct also.
    Is there an easy way to salvage the board?
    Is it possible to drill/mill the copper away from the center?
    Is the hole for the center coax wire plated through?

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      It should be possible to remove the copper in the bottom by using e.g. a 6mm drill and carefully removing the material on the bottom. I will give that a try 🙂

      Reply
  5. HT

    I received the PCBs from seeedstudio today and it came with bad PCBs just like yours – two co-centric rings were merged to one 🙁

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      Thats bad.. I have nue clue why they mess this up. Their gerberviewer sows the pcbs just fine ?!

      Reply
        1. fishpepper Post author

          I just got a report of someone who got no problems with his order on Seeed. The rings came out just fine. Strange.
          In the meanwhile I got an mail from Seeed, they investigate my issue.

          Reply
    2. Ivan

      Do you have a picture about what they did wrong? Mine are send out a couple days ago from seedstudio.
      Hope they did mine right but i doubt that now…
      Thanks in advance.

      Reply
  6. Thom Para

    Sorry to hear about the problems. I ordered a set of boards last week.
    They are shipping today. Which of the 3 parts is wrong?

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      The top PCB has the two rings on the back side connected.

      Reply
      1. Thom Para

        Ok Thanks. I see the problem. My guess would be mine will suffer the same error.
        I will report back when I receive the boards.

        Reply
  7. Andri

    Great Work! Have you had time to test them in real-live-conditions?
    I wanted to change the python file, so that it creates a gerber file with 8 top plates, 8 bottom plates and between these plates 8 of the small peaces (for the RHCP). Like this you could order only one PCB with all the parts needed for the antenna. Unfortunately i couldn’t make it work, because I don’t know much about programming. Maybe you could make the files? Or somehow explain how it can be done? It would be perfect, because i think no hobbyist will ever need 160 antennas. 80 is still a lot and if you need more, you could get 240 antennas on 3 PCP’s with this design!
    What do you think?

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      I did not invest much time to combine multiple parts. I just gathered some friends and ordered 160 antennas. Its ~40 Euro for 160. If you get 8 friends you end up with 5 Euros for 20 antennas 🙂
      I did not test fly the design yet. There were some issues with my last seeedstudio order, they messed up the copper layer on one part. Their embedded gerberviewer does not show that problem (both rings connected).
      I am still waiting for a customer support reply but they clearly messed it up :-\

      Reply
  8. Ivan

    Can it be there are some holes missing in the drawings for the coax inner wire ?(top plate).
    I looked at them files with a gerber viewer. Havent checked the middle plate yet.
    Just in case i send the 4×4 gerbers to manufactor 🙂
    Case is i am not familiar with Python at all.

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      This seems to be a scaling bug in gerbview. I have it in my viewer as well, the drill holes are scaled in the wrong way. When I upload the file to oshpark or seeed the preview looks fine.

      Reply
      1. Ivan

        Thanks alot for the reply.
        Indeed the viewer at seeedstudio looks beter then my own viewer at home.
        Ita verry nice you have made 4×4 size pcsb’s.
        I couldnt evn to get Python working version 3.6… some error missing a dll file (windows) “freetype”.
        Anyway i have ordered a bunch at seeedstudio so its in the make.
        My own attempt doing i on a cnc isolating traceroute failed, my best SWR measurement was 1:2.95 at
        top end of the bands around 5795Mhz.
        Thanks again looking forward to build my own ones soon.
        Ivan

        Reply
  9. Paul

    Hi, thanks for sharing you files.
    Could you please give more details how and what exactly to order at elecrow? I’m a pcb noob but like to make some of those antennas.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Xen0ff

    Hi
    Looks like you’ve got antennas for some years of crashing )
    I want to order some PCBs, but I’m new in it. And 160 antennas is way too much for me 🙂 Is it possible to place on one pannel two designs – half RHCP and half LHCP? Or even four designes – bottom and top, different polarisations.

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      Sure this could be done. The way the files are now was easier to do for me. You might be able to change the python file on your own, the placement is basic python/math stuff. All the fancy antenna calculations have been wrapped nicely into sub modules by maarten. See my github repo.

      Reply
  11. HT

    It would be nice if you update the script in such a way that the RHCP and LHCP can be mixed in a single 4×4 array such as 10 RHCP and 6 LHCP.

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      I have enough antennas for now 😉 But go ahead, the sources are on my github repo.

      Reply
  12. Airea

    Hi, just found this, thanks for sharing! Just a quick question: Are the 4×4 Gerber files at Github now without the mentioned bad geometry and can be used for ordering?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      Yes, they are rendered with py3. They have not yet been verified physically, I will receive my antennas the next weeks…

      Reply
      1. Gleb

        Will you be able to update your repo when you receive the antennas and do verify the designs and performance?

        Thank you

        Reply
        1. fishpepper Post author

          Seeed sucessfully manufactured the 4×4 design. PCBs look fine. I did not solder/test those yet. But i think they will be fine.

          Reply
  13. flybabo

    You can’t use the antenna cable with a presoldered SMA/RPSMA connector if you assemble the antenna with the jig.
    You must unsolder the connector or just start with bare wire. Why? Think 🙂

    Reply
      1. flybabo

        Unfortunately, bottom hole of the jig I bought can’t be widened 🙁
        BTW, does updated 4×4 script produce the correct geometry of the inner ring?
        Thanks for the link and your effort!

        Reply
        1. fishpepper Post author

          I did not widen it, I removed a part of the ring section. Works fine for me.
          The 4×4 produces the correct design when run in python3, yes 😉

          Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      Oh, seems like I forgot to push. It should be on the github repo now.

      Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      No, they did not complain. Why should they do? In their eyes it is one PCB. The boards are all connected.

      Reply
  14. sam

    amazing stuff, what are you using as the antenna wire and SMA connector?

    Reply
    1. fishpepper Post author

      You can get them cheap on ebay. Simply cut it in half and you get 20 antenna cables for ~14 Euro

      Reply
      1. Peter

        I got some similar extensions, but they don’t work so well to cut in half to use. Since there is already an SMA connected on each part, you have to remove it to make it compatible with Maarten’s jig. Works okay though if you don’t use the jig, but then that makes it very hard to construct the antenna accurately.

        Reply

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