Avoid the Rabbit Hole

Just thought I’d post here in case others are considering using openEMS to simulate pcb antenna alternatives.

There were several issues in getting a Kicad footprint/layout into HyperLynx->openEMS. I got a couple of decent workflows, but I quickly got tired of redrawing slight variations of antenna geometry.

I found it much better to do a parameterized design. It’s really pretty simple for pcb antennas. I used excel to define a polygon with a scattergram that showed the poly as it was being “drawn” by entering formulas in cells. Then I created a simple script to grab the xy coordinates and create the openEMS commands required to generate the polygon in that environment.

With a parameterized antenna geometry and (parameterized) placement, one can quickly gain insight into important considerations.

Soon, l plan to export from Kicad to HyperLynx for the actual pcb design. But, given the simulation time and attention to detail required to getting a mesh designed in openEMS, it might be quite an effort.

I’ll report back on how that goes, but right now I’m still evaluating alternative antenna designs using very simplistic substrate and ground plane models. Getting that working was hard enough for a newbie, but now I’m getting good correlation with “app note designs”.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m really glad I got the openEMS simulations going! I’d just recommend having a parameterized antenna layout.