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Following up on Beth’s comment on enclosure, the radio signal should get through the plastic case just fine, but the bigger issue is keeping distance between your antenna and any other metal, especially wires and battery but also including your solar panel. I’m always careful to place my antenna in the top of the box, keeping the wires, battery and Mayfly lower down. I place my solar panel either below my box, or quite a bit above it, so that the antenna has no metal between it and the horizon. Beth and I first saw this issue when we mounted a station behind a guard rail. Lifting the top of the box 6 inches, so that it peaked over the guard rail, made all the difference.
Sara, thanks for your results from different antennas. I’m surprised that the PCB antenna from the GPRSBee worked better than the Taoglas Maximus FXUB66. When I swapped a bunch of those out last year on my GPRSBee stations, I found a huge benefit to using the Maximus. I’m also surprised that the GPRSBee antenna worked at all with LTE, because I thought GPRS & LTE were different frequencies. I had noticed that Sodaq started shipping their GPRSBees with different, larger antennas about a year or two ago, so I’m guessing their new antenna might have been selected to also accommodate LTE frequencies.
It’s true that the Taoglas Maximus FXUB66 is huge and sometimes hard to fit into a box. Based on your results, I’ll definitely start experimenting with other antennas.