The GPS L1 signal (1575.42 MHz), often referred to as L1 CA (Coarse Acquisition), has become the most widely used signal for satellite navigation and is employed by most satellite navigation applications, devices and systems worldwide.

The US government is now in the process of deploying three new GPS signals for civilian use – designated L2C, L5 and L1C – that will significantly enhance the performance of GPS devices and applications that are equipped to receive them.  These new civilian signals are being phased in incrementally as the US Air Force launches new GPS satellites to replace older ones.

Figure 1 GPS L2C Signal

The L2C signal is designed specifically to meet commercial needs – its name refers to the radio frequency used by the signal (1227.6 MHz, or L2) and the fact that it is intended for civilian use. (There are also two military signals at the L2 frequency.)

When combined with L1 CA in a dual-frequency receiver, L2C enables ionospheric correction, a technique that boosts accuracy, and civilian users with dual-frequency L1/L2 GPS receivers will benefit from accuracy comparable to  military users.

For professional users with existing dual-frequency operations, L2C enables faster signal acquisition, enhanced reliability, and greater operating range.  L2C is also broadcast at a higher power than the legacy L1 CA signal making it easier to receive in challenging locations such as in foliage or indoors.

The first GPS satellite featuring L2C was launched in 2005 and every GPS satellite launched since then has included an L2C transmitter.  There are currently [1] 19 GPS satellites broadcasting the L2C signal and the full availability of this signal on 24 satellites is forecast for 2021.

The Helix GPS L1/L2 Antenna is optimised for GPS L1/L2C operation with compelling features such as:-

  • 30dB cross-polarisation discrimination to eliminate multi-path
  • >120° beam-widths for both L2C and L1 for greater satellite visibility
  • stable phase-centre
  • effective operation with or without a ground plane
  • dielectric-loaded construction enables installation in tightly integrated systems with no RF interference
  • physically small – 13 mm diameter × 33 mm long

If you would like to integrate our GPS L1/L2 antenna into your satellite navigation system, application or device please get in touch with us to see how we can work together.

For more information on the availability of the GPS L2C signal please go to


[1] 12 May 2018

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