Getting Started

Hi, I am new here. I am trying to set up the RTK and got stuck here:

Connecting and placing GPS antenna
• Plug antenna cable into MCX socket on Reach.
• Place antenna on a ground plane. It could be a cut piece of metal > 100mm in diameter, roof of a car or metal roof of a building.

Question: What does the GPS antenna mean? Is it the whole REACH RS unit?
Next: What does placing antenna on a ground plane mean? I see that the device has a socket for connecting to a tripod or a rod.

Thank you for your attention.

P Y Wong

gps antenna means that grey hockeypuck looking thingy. The other piece is the unit it self and its more like a small computer.

This is for antenne to be shielded from any interference from below. The antenna is not getting any signals from this angle, only noise from ground applications

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Also you should know that inside the Reach RS, the entire top is a ground plane.

So you only need a ground plane if you have the Reach module with external antenna.

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Thank you bide and TB_RTK for your clarifications. Do the attached photos reflect your explanations correctly?



No the little antenna on the side is the LORA antenna,
The grey top of the unit (printed EMLID) is the GPS antenna.

NB if you want to use the LORA radio then putting the reach on a 20cm extension so the reach antenna is above the metal of the tripod is a good idea for good range over 360 degrees.

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maybe this will save 1000 words :wink:

We do not use a ground plane on the LoRa antenna. Sometimes you can tilt or rotate the antenna to get better reception.

If this is not good enough and you want superior reception over the LoRa radio link, then you could remove the provided antenna and install an extension cable and a different antenna which is deigned for use with a ground plane. Like this:

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Simon Allen and Bide. Thank you. It is much clearer now. I hope EMLID will incorporate these explanations in the FAQ and save newbies like me a lot of grief.

ANTENNA - LoRa External connection details
Bide, I wonder if you can provide me with the details of this extension.

Does the tripod base need to be leveled properly with a spirit level or visually will do?

Better still, where can I get them?

First let us clarify some things:

  1. In your picture you show a Reach RS, but your questions pertain to Reach (the module). So I believe you have been reading the wrong documentation. You will find that there is no mention of “ground plane” or “MCX socket” in the proper documentation. Here is where you find the proper documentation for Reach RS:
  1. Most people use the LoRa antenna that is provided in the Reach RS case. (That is what I use.)
  • If you are having problems with the LoRa radio, please explain your problems.
  • If you still desire an extension cable and a different antenna (like in the picture above), please explain why and then I will find something for you.

Also, please note that I just updated your picture in this post above: Getting Started
It now shows the proper names for the antenna connection.

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Oops! You mean they are different? I didn’t realize it. TQVM. Will have to restart from scratch.

LoRa radio: I certainly don’t have problem with this because I am not even there yet. My question relates more to the extension tube holding the Reach RS above the tripod.

OK good.

Between Reach RS and the tripod, you should have a tribrach and threaded adapter like so:

The bubble level and adjustment wheels will allow you to perfectly level the Reach RS. The optical plummet will allow you to center it precisely over a point on the ground.

If you don’t wish to purchase those parts, then you can just use a bubble level and a plumb bob. It just takes a lot more time to make it both level and centered over a point on the ground, and it may not be as accurate.


Bide, wonderful. It’s beginning to make sense now. I spend the whole day cutting and shaping some plastic sheets to hold the instrument to the tripod. I think I can cannibalize it from a dumpy level or get a unit from the survey shop.

I wish EMLID can incorporate your photos and explanations in their manual. It will certainly save people a lot of grief. I showed the instrument to many people here and they all ran away when they saw the documentation. Now they refuse to take my calls. So it has been a very aggravating few weeks.

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One other thing you could use is a prism pole and a set of bipod legs (including bubble level). It is very fast to set up, but not as stable and not as accurate as the tripod with tribrach.

Bide, The prism pole and bipod will be ideal for our needs as it is for agriculture. I just looked at my prism target for the Total Station. The connections doesn’t feed as it is non-threaded.

TQVM for your advice. They are invaluable.


Remembering we are talking cm accuracy not mm accuracy, here are some shots of my more agricultural solution.
The whole rig,
A section of 23mmx23mm (radio transparent) plastic stake with a nut set in the top.
A section of 25mm external diameter steel box section with a nut set in the bottom.
A piece of metal sheet with a hole drilled in it to replace the tribrach.

The plastic stake can be dropped into any piece of 25mm box section, so my permanent reference stations are, you guessed it, 25mm box section. I can just turn up on site and drop the Reach base station in. Some are bolted to the roofline of buildings, some to structures, some longer sections just hammered into the ground. A cheap, but repeatable way to move precise positioning from the domain of the surveyor into the farmyard. The land owners like this, as my permanent infrastructure is clearly low cost, robust AND accurate. I think the phrase is 'fit for purpose.

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Wow! Simon_Allen this is something.

What is radio transparent?

Can you show details of the top an bottom fittings please?

Is the plastic stuck to the metal hollow section through friction only?

Plastic is radio transparent i.e. if you have a piece of plastic (the pole) in between you and the antenna some signal will pass through. If you have the whole metal tripod blocking line of site to the antenna you will only get reflected signals at your location. so the plastic pole gives LORA 360 degree visibility with no extra aerials. The plastic stake is wrapped with insulating tape to make it a snug (and consistent fit in the metal box section. See the new section in the Projects area where this post has been copied for some more photos of bits and bobs.

Simon_Allen, amazing inventiveness. Tq. May I ask: What is LORA and CORS?