Is ESP32C3 external antenna required (when using BLE/WIFI)?

Can I/we damage the chip when trying to use BLE/WiFi when external antenna is not connected?

Thanks in advance

I don’t think so. The only risk you take is that it won’t work.

the signal strength for BT without the antenna is reeeeeeal crappy, ive had to use them

Hard to say. I depends on the transmitted RF energy. For BLE you should be safe, for WiFi it’s different, even if the energy is still not huge. You know when you try. I never run a transmitter without the right load… When it’s not the antenna, it’s a load termination. But these seem not to exist with U.FL connectors. The minimal antenna I would add is a 3cm long wire to the middle contact of the U.FL connector as a provisional wavelength/4 antenna.