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  1. Davphys

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    Hello everyone. I have completed extensive tests on various extended range modifications and I am here to give you the background, results, and experiences that I believe have been missing for some time. Beware that this is lengthy, but I want to share everything. I have developed explanations for my results- which is helpful because mod results are dependent on environment. Needless to say I know how to point antennas and I know the settings to promote range in DJI GO.

    Here is my story:

    I live in an urban area- not suburban. I am around loads of interference, and I am in the middle of a fairly large United States East Coast City, with a harbor. I do my flying in an urban environment. I originally had a P3Advanced, then a Professional. I was fortunate enough to have the ITElite remote from the start. I never flew either one of them stock. I was very satisfied with the ranges and penetrations I got. I was easily able to go 2-2.5 miles with no issues in this environment. When flying outside of town in other environments, the range was only limited by battery life. I always read about FPVLR, other modifications, etc, but I was happy with what I had.

    Enter the P4:
    I enthusiastically sold my entire P3 setup and snapped up a P4 as soon as it came out. I flew it, and was happy with its craftsmanship, etc- but on range, I was crushed. I couldn't go more than a couple thousand feet without weak and ultimately lost signal. I was disappointed, upset, and frankly pissed. Yes, DJI claimed the range was the same, but any evidence of decent range I could find were people flying over the ocean, lakes, or desert! What about a city-dweller like me? Surely not every person is going to drive an hour to fly their drone! So I immersed myself in the world of range mods, wanting to know every option, every explanation, every detail about what I could do to resurrect my P4 and resume my happiness that I had before. I am a physicist by profession, and I figured I would apply my sense of experimentation to meet the needs of MY environment. I watched videos of 9 mile flights. I spent hours reading explanations, arguments, claims, and animations. I studied RF behavior, signal strength implications, antenna design. I wanted something clean, yet effective. I decided to do what it would take. My journey was beginning. I started with Freddy:
    FDR Drone Mods:
    I began speaking with Freddy Del Rosario who runs FDR Drone Mods. I was intrigued by his promotional video for a product (not yet released) called the "Titan". We spent time discussing on the phone what he wanted in a setup. Something clean, not inconvenient, bulky. Something effective. What I so desperately sought. This guy knew my taste! Freddy was a very nice guy, and he took the time to talk. As time dragged on, I began to realize that he wasn't as developed in his plans for the "Titan" as was desired. Although it wasn't a pipe dream, it was still a ways off. But, Freddy offered a modification that he promoted well. It was the standard SMA modification through the original holes- well crafted, and using what he claimed was an incredibly shielded cable. With his 7 and 9dbi antennas, he claimed he could surpass itELITE range. He showed me many, many tests that he did. I wondered how any omni setup would surpass a very directional antenna, but somehow he did! And I believed him. In the back of my mind, I was aware that all his tests were in an environment far more flat, suburban, and with less interference. But nonetheless, I hurriedly shipped him my P4 remote.
    As promised, he did his mod. The SMA connectors looked good, OEM. And I purchased some 7 and 9 dbi antennas that he recommended for long range. A week later I was able to fly:
    Disappointment. It flew better than stock, but only a little. I was able to go maybe 3500-4000 ft, sometimes 5000ft before the weak signal and return to home. A small improvement, but nowhere near what I was hoping. I was really bummed. I don't dispute Freddy's results, but they just didn't work in my environment. Now I had to go all out----the other way. Screw it- I would buy the mod that people claimed got them miles and miles and miles of flight. The bulky time bomb, the Frankenstein itself- the amped FPVLR!

    FPVLR/Tony:
    I figured, "hey- who cares if it is ugly. If it blasts through everything with these amps, I will be one happy camper!" So I began talking with Tony. He explained his ideas of circular polarization versus linear polarization, his design, etc. (I will get into this in a bit) He spoke quite a bit. Tony is a nice guy and he seemed reasonable. Hell, people swore by his product!! So this was going to be my savior of the P4! I purchased the big kahuna itself- and my FPVLR arrived!

    I excitedly installed it. I really tried to look past how cumbersome it was, the Velcro patches to add, the extra weight and all the cabling. The battery pack to charge, etc. I realized that it is VERY difficult to remove the cable from the RC USB port once it is set up. If there is a firmware update, it was going to be not very ergonomical, but if this was the sacrifice, so be it. Off to the races I went!
    Uggghhhh!!!!!!!

    Yes, there was improvement. Yes I noticed a larger improvement than prior. But I was still only getting 5500-6000 feet in this extremely congested environment. I cursed!!! Alas, my dreams were back to just that. Back to the drawing board. This time, simple and cheap:

    Windsurfer:
    Threw on this, got about 4000 ft. Similar to Freddy's setup. Blah. Needed more. Wanted more.

    Argtek:
    Then I purchased the "Blue Proton/Argtek" flat panel patch antennas. I was intrigued. I came across them on Amazon. They looked interesting. Could this be my salvation? If so, they would be easy, simple, what I wanted!! Around 4500ft. Great bang for the buck, but not that much of a bang.

    Full Circle:
    Sigh. At this point, I figured what the hell!!! Let's go back to what worked months ago! I came across Jake's site posted on PhantomPilots and ordered the ITelite (unboosted) from him. Prior to ordering, we spoke on the phone. I told him what I was doing, where I was, my experiences, etc. I was taken aback by him. He didn't promise ranges- he said they are environmentally dependent. His straightforward nature impressed me. He was honest, fair, very responsive. I went through his site many times. He clearly was talented and could create a good setup, good design. He stood out from the rest because he was matter of fact and just came across as honest. I can't quite describe it in words, but I am usually a pretty good judge of character, and here was a guy who simply wants to add to the enjoyment of the hobby and help others out. A mensch. I ordered the tried and true (in my case) itElite.

    Boy did I put it through its paces. And boy did it deliver. In my environment, I was back exactly where I was with my P3. I was so excited that I got my bird back that I called Jake and told him how happy I was!!!! I was back to getting 12000ft and over the most dense and interference-congested areas, 7000-8000ft no problem. NONE of the other setups gave that to me. I couldn't believe it. And I had the added benefit of finding someone who is a great asset to this hobby. Jake will always be my go to person in the future, and subsequent to my tests I have noticed many, many others openly praising their dealings with him, which further validates my impression of him. I'll always give someone like that my business.

    I actually sent the FPVLR to Jake and said- take this! I don't want it! It's yours. Experiment on it if you want.

    Explanation/some more technical speak:
    Here's the thing: the ItElite antenna basically has a 180 degree field. It is flat and directional. The high gain puts its signal straight forward, like a wall bulging out.
    FPVLR is more"conical". A bit more directional.
    This tells me that if I were in a totally empty environment, like where people post 9 mile FPVLR flights, sure, high range is possible. But in an urban environment where even boosted signal can bounce, be attenuated by structures, be redirected, etc, it's increased directionality and ability to be distorted supersedes the benefits of the reduced interference between the circularly polarized antennas. In THIS environment, a linearly polarized 180 degree flat panel works best.
    Anything omnidirectional like Freddy's won't go as far because signal is being broadcast behind you- now a higher gain means signal might go farther, but the "donut" shape of the signal is narrowed- envision a washer. Outside of the washer, you're out of luck. And I actually WANT directionality. How many people actually fly while facing the opposite direction of their drone? I would rather have all my signal pumped forward as I am always facing in the general direction of where I am flying.

    Now as I said, I am extremely happy with my setup. I went full circle. I will probably get Jake's amped setup in a few weeks, out of curiosity. I suspect it will boost the range even further, although I'm at a point where I don't really need it. But the evidence shows in an urban environment, this would probably give the most effective result. Remember that with boosted signal comes boosted noise, so it isn't a simple benefit of a proportional rise in strength=proportionate increase in distance, etc, but I suspect added benefit.

    I had/have no "dog in the fight" other than that I wanted to get the ranges and capabilities that I had prior. I wanted to share all of this with you so you know my experiences, my environment, and what I did.

    Last note of caution:
    There is a company out there, "Drone World" that claims a "extended range modification" which they sell at $499. I have confirmed through multiple sources and independent verification that they are simply selling the ItElite modification at a more than 300% markup. It is not "their" modification. They just are taking advantage of newbies, which is unconscionable. It isn't any different a modification to the ItElite.

    There you have it! I probably could have gone on in even more detail and even longer, but I want this out there so people can refer to this when they are deciding what to do, especially if you are in a real-world environment, as opposed to looking to score points by showing a long flight in the middle of nowhere.
    All the Best,
    David
     
    #1 Davphys, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  2. PaulJohn

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    Thank you for taking the time to explain the different options so well! Excellent read and very helpful! :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Sim597

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    Good read, I'm on a peninsula surrounded by golf courses and multi million dollar homes (wish I was in on of them) on a man made lake (Lake Conroe) and flew over the water and started to get video degradation about 1000 meters away, but of course the line I was taking had me "punching" thru like 5 trees in line of site, at this I turned the craft to regain a better LOS signal and that's when I saw a hawk in the picture! Lol she scared me and I came back.
    I feel for you, I've got a P3P remote with the ItLite mod. And bought it like a week after I bought the P3P (which was like 5 weeks ago now) and I feel a little like others that I don't know how much it really helps me, but don't have that much to compare too because I bought it so quickly. I do have the P4 remote and should do some test I guess, maybe I'm stoked and don't even know it! Lol.
    I see your travels and looks exactly like some things I've done before so I get it, study the crap out of something that interest you, and rewards you also, heck yeah! Thing is, so many ppl like this antenna, and I've only seen maybe 2 reviews, and even those weren't bad, they were only "meh" but weren't scathingly bad for sure. I mean there are a ton of positive reviews on the Itlite and data too, I just wonder why did you wait so long for the best choice? I say this as it was mine, I did all the homework and looked at all the forums too, to the point I was getting confused! Had to take a few steps and days off and came to the conclusion out of all the devices, gadgets and gimmicks, the DBS mod was the best option by far as far as I was concerned it was.
    Again good read, nicely done, so is your aircraft still looking good? I hope there wasn't too much damage done, if any, like holes left over and stuff you don't need now.
     
  4. go fast

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  5. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    You made the right choice with the DBS. That other one is an expensive, over-hyped franken-mess and the ARG-Tek is $30 worth of antennas & cables that preform no better than the originals.
     
  6. Davphys

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    Part of the reason it took me so long to go "full circle" is that I wanted to try everything out there. I have no holes or anything else because everything was done through the original antenna connections, thankfully. I am not sharply criticizing the FPVLR; some people swear by it. But it appears that it is really only optimized for non urban environments, and honestly, it is very bulky, heavy, and not ergonomic.
    I will be curious to test the "Titan" if and when it does come out. But right now, after all this, I'm happy to say that the ItElite is proven excellent in an urban environment and in all my dealings I am glad that I found Jake at Maxxuav as an honest, responsive guy with superb service. I'd recommend purchasing from him in a heartbeat.
     
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  7. 2nd2non

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    Great write up! Thanks for learning for US and sharing.
    I've got a need to fly 2-3miles over ocean and low (<100). Do you think the circular polarized antenna or 180deg flat panel antenna would be best? I current lose signal when dropping below 150ft even with a windsurfer.
     
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  8. P4FlyFly

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    .
     
    #8 P4FlyFly, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2016
  9. Jussaguy

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    Awesome post!!!!! Thank you!

    JFTR, the ones at Drone World are the same things as most of the ones that look like that (same actual manufacturer) with a different logo.

    Good work!
     
  10. Davphys

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    Is this Tony at FPVLR? This EXACT picture was posted by HIM within 30 seconds of this post on a Facebook group.
    Very "coincidental".


     
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  11. Davphys

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    I didn't test in that type of environment but I think you would be ok with either setup. The itELITE is a LOT cleaner setup and more durable than the FPVLR though.


     
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  12. Phantomfreak

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    Nice review!! Well detailed and written. I was leaning towards a DBS unboosted antenna for my P4 but wasn't sure between that and a FPVLR setup. I can only get about 2 miles distance out if my P4 where I live, I would love to get at least 4 or 5 miles range.. Your review has made me feel good about going for a DBS setup.
     
  13. rdc4444

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    I'm thinking of getting the dbs antennae mod by sending my p3 advance with the hdmi module in for modification. Can I pair the p3 advance controller to the p4 without having to update remote controller firmware and can I use the same modded dbs controller to pair to either the p3 and p4 without a problem?


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  14. Jussaguy

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    I wouldn't mind the explanation to that. Did feel a little advertised as I read it, which is fine as long as I'm getting what I want.

    I've had several friends at DP tell me to get FPVLR.
     
  15. Davphys

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    Fair enough. But you may not get what you want when an advertiser creates a fake account and posts a fake review if that's what it takes to stand by a product.


     
    #15 Davphys, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  16. SkyHighP4

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    Hey Tony from FPVLR! Is this like your 7th fake account now? It's ok to promote your product, but you shouldn't lie about your competitors.... Just sayin...
     
    #16 SkyHighP4, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2016
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  17. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
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    That didn't take long, :)
     
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  18. KevMo Photog

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    Really appreciate the detailed info and the way you wrote it tbo. Very respectful to all the ones that failed. LOL. I just ordered my ItElite from Jake at MAXXUAV immediately after reading your post. I am getting lost signal at 2500ft in town as well. This is not a huge deal with me as I do mostly in closer detail stuff. But I sure would love to go out a mile or two when I travel out West in a couple of weeks though. And It should do it as advertised and it may be way better out in the middle of nowhere too. But hopefully this upgrade will do the trick for me too. I put one of these on a Blade Chroma that I flew for 3 months and it seemed to help quite a bit. But the video feed was still always a problem after 7-800ft still! Great bird but the wi-fi feed just sucked!
     
  19. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
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    monker thumbup.gif
     
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  20. SkyHighP4

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