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Remote control antenna orientation

Chuckinay

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I fly an M2P with a standard remote, using a bracket-mounted iPad. I have experienced occasional signal loss when the drone is not far away — usually when it's nearly directly above me and close to the 400-foot ceiling. I think this might be related to the fact the iPad obscures the antennas.

Anyhow, this has me wondering:
  • What is the optimal antenna orientation in relation to the position of the drone?
  • Does it help to have one antenna at a different angle than the other?
  • Does that funky antenna-focusing doodad I got with the Fly More kit actually do anything? It seems likely to narrow the directional focus, like a satellite dish, introducing new possible losses of signal if the orientation isn't just right.
Any wisdom would be appreciated ...
 

old man mavic

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I fly an M2P with a standard remote, using a bracket-mounted iPad. I have experienced occasional signal loss when the drone is not far away — usually when it's nearly directly above me and close to the 400-foot ceiling. I think this might be related to the fact the iPad obscures the antennas.

Anyhow, this has me wondering:
  • What is the optimal antenna orientation in relation to the position of the drone?
  • Does it help to have one antenna at a different angle than the other?
  • Does that funky antenna-focusing doodad I got with the Fly More kit actually do anything? It seems likely to narrow the directional focus, like a satellite dish, introducing new possible losses of signal if the orientation isn't just right.
Any wisdom would be appreciated ...
as you will know the signal comes out from the flat faces of the antennas not the tips, when you are flying directly overhead then as you say your i pad will be blocking some of that signal,the only way around the issue is to use a mount that does not obscure the antennas, or as you fly closer you need to angle the controller upwards to keep the flat parts pointing towards the drone, it does help and obviously you need to turn as the drone passes overhead so as to continue VLOS, the signal boosters you mention would not help they concentrate the signal but need to be kept pointing towards the drone at all times they are mainly used for distance work you should have the antennas pointing at around 45 degrees from the controller and try and mount the i pad towards the bottom of the controller as you canFHD0033.JPGFHD0032.JPGFHD0030.JPG a few pics of my set up works well its a 9.7 inch ipad
 

MaxHam

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I fly an M2P with a standard remote, using a bracket-mounted iPad. I have experienced occasional signal loss when the drone is not far away — usually when it's nearly directly above me and close to the 400-foot ceiling. I think this might be related to the fact the iPad obscures the antennas.

Anyhow, this has me wondering:
  • What is the optimal antenna orientation in relation to the position of the drone?
  • Does it help to have one antenna at a different angle than the other?
  • Does that funky antenna-focusing doodad I got with the Fly More kit actually do anything? It seems likely to narrow the directional focus, like a satellite dish, introducing new possible losses of signal if the orientation isn't just right.
Any wisdom would be appreciated ...
If the drone is above you, best is to fold both antennas all the way down (like in the pic below)
No matter what you adjust your antennas to: Always adjust both the same way. It makes no sense to have them in different positions.
(I'm not sure but I think one is for RC signal, one is for video signal)

Depending on the bracket you have and if the ball point is at its center or not you could turn it so the tablet sits lower, covering less of the antennas.
The focusing doodad shouldn't be needed at a distance of 400ft.

See below an iPad Mini. But you may have a bigger one...?

img.jpg
 
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DanMan32

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Flymore doesn't come with anything for antennas. Some dealers offered packages that included extras including signal "boosters". The passive reflectors as you suspected, directs an omni-directional signal to a unidirectional one using a parabolic reflector, similar to the headlights on your car.
Some have the added advantage of keeping your antennas parallel.
 
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Neil Reid

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Good discussion here. Having been an RF engineer for the last twenty years or so both in unlicensed and licensed spectrum, there's more than enough mythology to go around.

Couple points to add to the discussion in hopefully a respectful way;

1. It's not clear that the iPad would block the signal. It could also shape the field via what is called "knife edge". Long story short, you'd need fairly sophisticated equipment and a rigorous test plan to manage variables before you/we know whether or not the iPad blocks or enhances the signal. If I had a dollar for every time I've said, "Hmmm...didn't think the radio signal would do that", I'd have a lot more drones.

2. The term "RF booster" is a bit of a misnomer; the curvy metallic thingy's (I use them), are more about shaping the RF field with what is known as "gain". The antenna's and associated elements put the same number electrons into motion with or without the device (output power); the device simply shapes the available energy into a more focused area from an area that has less beneficial effect (gain). The devices theoretically provide more gain where it's likely to be useful. Same comment follows the above that rigorous and disciplined testing would need to occur to verify (or debunk) how well they look. I've seen devices like that work well and so I use them, and it's not expensive. No hard evidence that it works better or worse than the omni directional antenna's that come with the controller.

Bonus point: the idea that flattening out the antenna's if the drone is pretty much straight up is likely valid- this concept is called polarization and it's a well understood approach to getting more of the RF where you want it, and less where you don't need it.

Hope this helps.

Be safe and have fun.
 

Dave Maine

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Thanks for that analysis. The one thing to add, is that setting the antennas parallel to the ground so they beam straight up at the drone is not a complete solution.

The drone’s antennas are running vertically on most all the DJI drones, so that a drone directly overhead has it’s antenna 90 deg to the rc antennas. That is the least effective orientation, and there isn’t much that can be done about it.

I have had little trouble with P3, P4adv, and MA overhead if I stay at 400 ft or less agl.
 
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lilewis

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I use a Mavmount bracket to hold my Ipad Pro to the M2P controller and most often go straight up to almost 400 ft to take photos and 360 panos, and have never lost a signal with the antennas oriented basically parrallel to the ground
 

Chuckinay

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Good discussion here. Having been an RF engineer for the last twenty years or so both in unlicensed and licensed spectrum, there's more than enough mythology to go around.

Couple points to add to the discussion in hopefully a respectful way;

1. It's not clear that the iPad would block the signal. It could also shape the field via what is called "knife edge". Long story short, you'd need fairly sophisticated equipment and a rigorous test plan to manage variables before you/we know whether or not the iPad blocks or enhances the signal. If I had a dollar for every time I've said, "Hmmm...didn't think the radio signal would do that", I'd have a lot more drones.

2. The term "RF booster" is a bit of a misnomer; the curvy metallic thingy's (I use them), are more about shaping the RF field with what is known as "gain". The antenna's and associated elements put the same number electrons into motion with or without the device (output power); the device simply shapes the available energy into a more focused area from an area that has less beneficial effect (gain). The devices theoretically provide more gain where it's likely to be useful. Same comment follows the above that rigorous and disciplined testing would need to occur to verify (or debunk) how well they look. I've seen devices like that work well and so I use them, and it's not expensive. No hard evidence that it works better or worse than the omni directional antenna's that come with the controller.

Bonus point: the idea that flattening out the antenna's if the drone is pretty much straight up is likely valid- this concept is called polarization and it's a well understood approach to getting more of the RF where you want it, and less where you don't need it.

Hope this helps.

Be safe and have fun.
Belatedly, thanks for this added insight.
 
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