FPV long range: RF as an inexact science

While setting up a 50 km communication link for a drone, a statistical approach to get faster to prototype…

This kind of project usually start with the theorical computation like this:

Rather than theorical aspect, I choose to base my approach on existing and working project, like on RCgroups is a very reference.

Making a collection of running configuration, and finding for the best match with my specification:

  • 50 km range
  • Digital HD link
  • Available hardware

It appears that state of the art currently use analog video link, with 2 or even 3 different RF links. Whereas one RF link could be enought, I start to investigate…

  • Video link
  • RC control
  • Telemetry

A simple prototype based on raspberry pi and wifi adapter::

Software challenge: adding an additional socket channel downlink next to the video link for telemetry datas, and another uplink control

Hardware challenge: choosing wisely the RF, antennas combination to reach the best goals:

  • 2,4 GHz amplifier over a standard wifi adapter
  • 2,4 GHz high power adapter
  • 900 MHz frequency converter
  • 900 MHz wifi adapter

This would be the first iteration, before to develope a dedicated hardware with the following specification:

  • HF RF as a module, allowing to choose frequency by changing the module: 900MHz, 1,2GHz, 2,4GHz
  • SDR architecture allowing to choose different modulation
  • Video input for HD camera
  • Data IO for telemetry and control

To be continue…

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