When playing with Smart Home I play with different chips but currently heart of my application is RazBerry2 with Z-Wave. This chip was improvement comparing to version 1 including PCB antenna. Team from z-wave.me gave however possibility to attach external antenna using connector or simply wire antenna.
As I wasn’t fully satisfied with coverage finally I have decided to solder piece of wire. Why wire not connector? I am more software engineer than hardware and I decided to give first try to just cutting piece of wire and soldering it in one place. Original PCB antenna must be disconnected. Permanently.
Piece of copper wire. Just it. As z-wave in Europe operates in 868MHz range you need 86mm long wire, soldering unit and something to break antenna.
It is quite easy. Definitely easier then soldering connector in the middle of the board. Locate the place for the wire as on picture below
Put the wire and solder.
And break PCB
Enter ExpertUI on Smart Home and run reorganise command. Range is definitely better although it wasn’t completely mandatory as Z-Wave usually handles this correctly. However one of my switches is in poor place and packets were lost more often then I wanted. Changes in range for base station are below
Was in worth? Yes, I like it. Maybe with better antenna and connector results will be better – maybe another time. Anyway for attic and basement I will use range extender – but this is separate story