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Fastrax Unveils the World’s Smallest GPS Antenna Module

Fastrax Ltd., a pioneering supplier of high performance GNSS receivers, Software GNSS solutions and tracking systems for location-aware devices, today unveiled the Fastrax UC430, a combination of a complete high-performance GPS receiver and an integrated chip antenna packed in a miniature form factor. Sized at only 9.6 x 14.0 x 1.95 mm including antenna, the low power consuming module is ideally suited for handheld computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, asset tracking devices, and other applications with space and power restrictions.

The Fastrax UC430 maintains awareness of its location at all times, contributing to fast and convenient use of location aware digital devices. By utilizing SiRFaware™ technology, including the Adaptive Micropower Controller, the module autonomously activates itself periodically from stand-by, resulting in the reduction of Time To First Fix (TTFF) by up to 70 per cent. SiRFaware is able to maintain hot-start readiness with minimal power consumption of 125 µA average current and <10 mW in TricklePower™ 1 Hz navigation mode to ensure uncompromised battery life.

“We are delighted that the Fastrax UC430 is based on the SiRFstarIV architecture, and it is a great example of the true value added benefits that can be achieved through our partnership with Fastrax,” said Kanwar Chadha, Chief Marketing Officer for CSR. “With its ability to continually maintain ‘better-than-hot-start’ conditions without having to be kept fully turned on all the time, the SiRFstarIV architecture enables the UC430 to eliminate annoying start-up delays without draining precious battery power.”

“The fast-growing popularity of location-aware features in battery-operated devices clearly increases the demand for small, compact and easy to deploy GPS designs with built-in antennas and low power consumption,” said Taneli Tuurnala, CEO and President of Fastrax. “Integration of GPS features in digital cameras and the like introduces location aware features to a demanding high volume market expecting fast and reliable positioning. We believe the Fastrax UC430 is an ideal fit to these needs and an important addition to our broad portfolio of GNSS modules for all possible applications and requirements.”

The self-assisted positioning feature is based on Client Generated Extended Ephemeris (CGEE), allowing the Fastrax UC430 to calculate predicted satellite positions for up to three days following the latest activation based on broadcast ephemeris data. The CGEE removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data communication required to obtain traditional A-GPS information. In addition, the module has future support and connectivity to optional external sensors for dead reckoning, enabling the detection of more accurate static position and movement when satellite signals are unavailable.

In handheld digital devices, antenna design and sensitivity must compensate for varying orientation. The circular radiation pattern of the Fastrax UC430’s integrated chip antenna ensures signal acquisition, while the cold start acquisition sensitivity of -147dBm and tracking sensitivity of -163dBm warrant high-performance navigation. The Fastrax UC430 also contains an active jammer remover, which tracks and removes up to eight interfering signals that would otherwise decrease navigation performance.

In addition to the integrated chip antenna, the Fastrax UC430 supports optional connectivity for external antenna signal. The option allows using the integrated antenna as a backup, enabling the module to stay operational even if the external antenna is removed or damaged. The module supports both active and passive antennas.

Application designers benefit from easy integration and reduced development time. The addition of serial connection, one control signal and power supply is all that is required to make the Fastrax UC430 operational. The UC430 is an SMT module resulting in cheaper manufacturing cost as no manual soldering is required.

Engineering samples of Fastrax UC430 are available in July 2011, and volume production is estimated to start in Q4, 2011.

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