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Best FPV antennas

Discussion in 'FPV (First Person View)' started by Emichael, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. Emichael

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    Hello,
    I am having trouble with my FPV setup. From what I have read on-line from other people, the Phantom will lose signal and go into failsafe before the video cuts out. My experience is no where near that.

    Here is my setup:
    - Phantom 2
    - ZenMuse H3-D3
    - iOSD mini
    - GoPro 3 Black
    - Bluebeam Ultra 5.8ghz antennas
    - Immersion 600w 5.8ghz transmitter w/ the 3-clover antenna installed
    - Black Pearl receiver w/ a stick and the 5-clover antenna installed

    With the exception of the Immersion, all the components are installed internally. All the connections are soldered & heat shrinked. I have been careful to never power on the Immersion without an antenna attached.

    I have been testing around my home. I live out in the country, so there is some EM interference as everyone has Wi-fi, but that is about it. No cell service (I have to drive 8 miles to get a signal) and no big power lines nearby. I am confident everything is configured correctly and there are no issues with the component install. When flying nearby (20-50ft), the video is clear and crisp. However simply flying straight up, at 100m the video starts to cut out and gets grainy. The video only occasionally flickers to life above 250m.

    Based on what I have read on-line it sounds like having the right antenna is key. I thought I had purchased quality antennas, but now I am beginning to doubt my choice. I bought them from Maniacs Hobby Complex, and despite nearly $30 in shipping, they were simply placed in a yellow shipping envelope with no extra padding and sent to me via UPS. Needless to say, the blister-pack packaging was crushed. I am uncertain how sensitive the antennas are to being deformed & straightened.

    My questions:
    - The antennas have a flexible cable on them. How should the antenna be placed? Sticking straight out from the aircraft? Angled down? At what angle?
    - Same question for the receiving antenna.
    - Am I correct in having the 3-clover antenna on TX and the 5-clover on the RX?
    - I have the Immersion set to the default channel. Other than avoiding interference with other operators, is there a performance benefit to trying a different channel?
    - Should I pitch the Bluebeam antennas and get something else? Recommendations?

    I am not afraid to spend money on the right kind of antennas. I know this is not the area to go cheap!

    Thanks,
    -Eric
     
  2. damoncooper

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    People typically pick up a directional long distance antenna for use on one of the two antenna connections on a "diversity" receiver/monitor for longer range.

    I have the Blue Beams as well for short range and an Immersion Fat Shark 13 DBI patch antenna but directional 5+ turn helicals work well too.

    Diversity receivers automatically switch to the antenna with the strongest signal, which is the magic sauce (plus long range directional ant) for good short and long range FPV reception.

    And yes, the three-turn BB goes in the Tx and the 5-turn goes on the Rx.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. Emichael

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    Thanks for the reply and the info. I'll give that a shot and see how it works.
     
  4. damoncooper

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    WRT your question on Tx placement, I put the BB Tx to the other side so the antenna went out diagonally opposite the compass.

    Pointing it down I figured and out the corner would provide minimal interference regardless of my orientation to the quad.

    Then I cut out a bit of foam in my case near the leg and I never have to take it off.

    Pics below:
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Emichael

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    What leg is your compass on? The battery box being the rear, my compass is on the right rear leg. Looking at your pictures, the BB Tx antenna is on the left rear leg. Did you relocate the compass to the front right leg?

    And you bring up a good point... Does the Tx antenna interfere with the compass? My Phantom 2 likes to orbit in about 8' circles, and it does not like to fly in straight lines, regardless of how often I reset the compass or calibrate the IMU. I had not considered the Tx antenna as a possible problem in that regard.
     
  6. damoncooper

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    Left rear, correct. No compass relocation.
     
  7. ddublu

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  8. damoncooper

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    Correct the 3-turn goes on the bird, the 5- turn on the receiver.

    For long range I'd recommend the Immersion Fat Shark patch antenna or a helical.
     
  9. ddublu

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    Is there an advantage to one over the other? I'd like a 5-turn IBCrazy helical but can't find them....the Fat Shark patch looks......fat.
     
  10. damoncooper

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    Great question. Not sure.
     
  11. ddublu

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    Is it ok to have the antenna pointing downward from the attached immersionRC that is stuck to bottom of P2? It's position by the compass and I have seen many vids with same setup. Safe to assume that it's ok there before I permanently mount?
     
  12. damoncooper

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    I reoriented mine to point the the other corner just to be safe and avoid the compass. Not sure if it really matters or not but I figured I'd give the compass it's own corner and the antenna the other. Pointing down is good I think yeah.
     
  13. ddublu

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    So is the wiring for the ImmersionRC coming out of a different hole than the compass I assume?
     
  14. damoncooper

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    Correct yeah. The opposite rear corner hole under the leg.
     
  15. ddublu

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    Sorry, mispoke....it comes out from the one across from the compass but the way the immersionRC is situated it puts the antenna down beside the compass....no issue?
     
  16. damoncooper

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    Not sure. Like I said, I oriented mine (this is my second P2 after my first was lost at sea) so the wires to the Tx allow me to orient the Tx so the antenna comes down the leg without the compass on it. Just for good measure. The wires come out the leg near the compass I think actually, so the Tx and antenna can point away from the compass.

    My logic is based on nothing other than: putting anything I don't have to near the compass is probably undesirable.
     
  17. ddublu

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    Makes sense...thanks!
     
  18. ddublu

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    Not feeling the love for the BlueBeams. The tx feed is choppy even right beside the copter. I made it to 200m height and 650m away horizontally but I need more range. Would the 5-turn helical or the Fat Shark be the ticket?
     
  19. damoncooper

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    Either of those (helical or patch) should give you a nice boost in range with a diversity receiver ya. Just remember: the long range antennas are directional, which is why diversity receivers and two antennas are great. Short range you can be wherever in relation to the quad, long range have it in your direct LOS and lined up with the patch or helical antenna.
     
  20. ddublu

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    Can't find the 5-turn IBCrazy Helicals anywhere...Fat Shark is more accessible....still can't figure out the static/fuzzy/flickering picture on my BP.