How to Test a Starnote Indoors

Learn how to set up an outdoor antenna so you can test your Starnote projects indoors.
Read the full blog post at and continue the discussion here.

any LTE-capable antenna and it will work with Starnote

My mileage differs on this one. The whip-style and paddle-style LTE antennas that normally work fine on the cellular Notecard will not get me a connection on Starnote, even outdoors and laying flat. So far, only the YFCA011 patch antenna included with the kit and a directional LTE antenna pointed at the sky gives me a satellite connection. Could this be related to my location (east-coast Australia)?

So does my mileage vary. I tried a 5 dBi LTE antenna with the Starnote and it didn’t work either when used in the same location outdoors that does work when using the patch antenna included with the kit. I don’t have a cellular Notecard to try out this LTE antenna with to see if it is any good (bought it from Amazon for $20). But, my Starnote/patch ant. can hit the satellite OK when placed next to a large, south-facing window in my house (that has about the same view of the sky as when I test the Starnote outdoors). I am in Canada at 45 deg. latitude with lots of big trees in my yard, but a reasonable view of the southern sky (maybe 20 degrees wide of clear sky- the rest is blocked by the trees.) Cheers

FYI as stated in the datasheet the Starnote really must be used only with the antenna provided with the device. In theory other LTE-capable antennas can work, but in practice it’s something Blues can’t support in production settings. For testing (like in this blog) it can be worth experimenting with other temporary solutions.

1 Like

Mileage will definitely vary following those instructions.

First you need to understand which frequency band the NTN network is using in your area, and whether the service is actually available (lit) in your area. L-band has the broadest coverage from a regulatory standpoint and test carriers are in place in several places like North America, UK/EU and Australia/NZ. You need to make sure that your antenna supports the correct band, and many LTE antennas do not.

Second, a RF extension cable or multiples of them and connectors add loss to the path between the modem and the antenna, this can result in not being able to close the link budget. You need to ensure the use of a low-loss (at 1.5-2.2 GHz) RF cable and minimal connectors. Also beware of crimping RF cables (e.g. close the window on) which causes attenuation.

There should be more definitive specifications for the Starnote in relation to suitable antennas and allowable cable/connector loss for a given antenna.

Hi Rob. After I finished writing a review article for Circuit Cellar magazine on the Notecard LoRa, Tre sent me a Starnote starter kit which I have been trying out. I commented on this thread about my experience with a cellular antenna. I was just trying to do the same thing you did in the webinar- I.e. work with the Starnote in my office
instead of bringing it outdoors where it’s harder to monitor.I tried to find out more about the quectel antenna provided with the kit. But, I couldn’t see it on Quectel’s website and neither "Digikey nor Mouser stock it and require 500 pieces minimum. I don’t see this particular antenna listed on Blues E-store either. Since it looks pretty easy to break, it might be a good idea to offer this antenna for sale as an accessory.
Great Starnote webinar, by the way.:+1: