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  1. Fishie

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    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LATEGOA/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

    If you want a way to inexpensively, easily, and effectively "boost" your DJI drone's signal strength and range then Kuuqa's copper lined parabolic reflectors are the way to go. I prefer copper over the aluminum because copper is the nobler of the two metals which means it has less resistance and therefore is more conductive. This increased conductivity means more RF energy will go up and out of the antenna and not get trapped wasted it into heat energy. I've seen videos out there of people opening up their transmitters, drilling holes all over and adding different gain antennas onto them but this is risky and also obviously voids your warranty. I put the word "boost" into quotes because these parabolic reflectors do not literally boost the signal strength, but instead refocus the RF signal out and away from you in a more focused signal. They are a perfect parabola (or nearly) where the foci is in the perfect location as to maximize your signal.

    These reflectors easily slide onto your existing dual antennas on your DJI remote. Note that these are made only for DJI transmitters with dual antennas, not the earlier single antenna on earlier Phantom models. When sliding on notice that one hole is a different shape then the opposite end. I tried initially installing them and couldn't figure out why they wouldn't fit but it was because they only go on one direction. I wish there were markings on the reflectors to indicate this but a simple arrow UP with a Sharpie solves the problem.

    These Kuuqa's reflectors came in a nice box and I was surprised about how small and compact it was for storage and travel since they open and close in a clamshell fashion. Mine had a bit of oxidation where presumably a factory worker touched the metal because you could see the fingerprints. A quick rub with a salt and vinegar solution cleaned these up well. Take care to not scratch the copper surface. The smoother and cleaner the surface, the better the performance. Speaking of performance. I can't give you quantitative numbers of how far these will increase your signal, however if you keep them directed at the aircraft always while flying then you will get the most out of them. I did a field test with and without the reflectors on the street about 800 feet away and only a few feet off the ground with cars and mailboxes blocking my path. WITH the reflectors I had immediate camera control and video, without them there was about a 1/2 to 1 second latency in the camera movement and I had lost and frozen frames in my tablet's screen. If you're up for some very technical but informative information on how antennas work then go to www.antenna-theory.com. DJI's antennas on the transmitter are a dipole antenna and thereby create a "donut" shaped radiation pattern. This means that wherever the tips of your antenna point then you are the hole in that donut and you will get a greatly diminished signal. So...pointing the tips (not sides) towards the quadcopter "the donut hole" will give you the weakest transmission signal. If your parabolic reflectors are facing out and angled up then your range will improve significantly as well as video signal strength. This is where these reflectors, although work very well, fall a bit flat. When installed they point/angle down slightly because the transmitter gets in the way and they won't angle up further. This is complicated more if you have a large tablet hanging over it. If you don't hold the transmitter correctly with your antennas oriented properly then your range may reduce.

    PROS:

    • Nearly perfect parabolic shape means that you will get the best range possible
    • Inexpensive and easy to install
    • Smooth copper reflective material is superior to aluminum
    • I found Kuuqa's customer service to be stellar with quick response times to my questions and friendly, helpful staff
    • Build quality is nice and copper never delaminated from the plastic substrate
    CONS:

    • Reflectors should be made shorter so that they do not interfere with the transmitter and can be angled up where they are most efficient (see photos)
    • Although the clamshell design is nice, I would prefer the two parabolic reflectors to be separate so that I could adjust each individual antenna. This can be done, by the way, by just removing the two pins at the hinge of the clamshell
    In conclusion, if you are looking for increased range and better video signal strength on a budget then buy these. I don't typically talk about the seller but in this case their customer service was the best. They care. The stock antennas are fine for most people but if you have the need and passion for distance then these won't steer you wrong.
     

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  2. alokbhargava

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    Wow such a long story. I hv no patience to read it :)


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
     
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  3. Fishie

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    Yes perhaps a bit long of a review but you just might learn something God forbid!
     
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  4. Kamloops

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    Fishie

    The photos look like more like brass than copper. Or is it just your camera?
    Too bad you didn't do a comprehensive review and comparison to their Al ones to see if copper's lower electrical resistance actually has any measurable difference. I doubt it.
     
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  5. treeboy

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    Found the review very informative. However:
    TL;DR Kuuqa works but is a bit to tall.
     
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  6. Fishie

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    Without an RF analyzer I wouldn't be able to test the difference anyways. They are marketed as copper and sure look like it in person. I'm sure it was my lighting. The highly reflective surface really changed how it appeared on camera versus real life.
     
  7. Fishie

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    Indeed it is too tall I agree. Chamfering off a bit of the bottom with a Dremel would make them fit better.
     
  8. N017RW

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    Bear in mind that the antenna itself is a forward gain designed PCB and not a single element (wire) dipole so there's a lot of room for errors or inaccuracies which would override any differences the various metals could produce.
     
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  9. Fishie

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    Interesting. I have never split one apart but I see the wire going in. This explains why the antennas are not round. I assume this PCB essentially creates a skinny elongated Patch antenna?


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  10. N017RW

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    No, the external antennas would not be considered patch antennas.

    If you search around here you'll find pics from folks who have opened theirs up.

    Sorry no links handy.
     
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  11. Fishie

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    I've personally only seen square or slightly rectangular patch antennas but interestingly enough...Wikipedia's description of a patch antenna as "A patch antenna (also known as a rectangular microstrip antenna)". Microstrip sounds misleading doesn't it? Actually don't they make it out of strips with a ground plane behind it?


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
     
  12. MrMiagi

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    I use AerialTek parabolic reflectors on every flight which are essentially identical to the reviewed ones above. I think they are extremely effective to boost range and quality of signal. Last I looked, I was at #12 (was originally #10 at over 27,000') on the distance leaderboard using only the parabolic mirrors which is the longest distance un-boosted so far. So these things have worked very well for me. I like the hinged design. I have read several times that the separate ones can make the individual antenna flop down because of the weight. The hinged design stays put perfectly and keeps pointing in the right direction. I just keep my parabolic mirrors pointed in the right direction which is easy enough since I don't use goggles (just my iPad pro).
     
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  13. Fishie

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    Awesome! I actually separated mine and done seem to have any issues (yet) with the antennas dropping. Thanks for sharing!
     
  14. WetDog

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    It's a folded dipole. The image isn't terribly clear but it shows the tracing of the PCB Board. It does function as a patch antenna.

    All these 'Windsurfer' boosters do is focus the beam. Like a flashlight with a wide angle and spot adjustment. Same amount of power but focused differently.

    The copper vs. aluminum vs. anything else conductive is just marketing nonsense.

    All antennas are compromises. The stock DJI antennas have a fairly wide beam width which makes pointing the RC easier which makes sense for a beginner device. It conforms to FCC / CE emission rules (which the Windsurfers and everything else don't but the powers that be don't care so much at present).

    The helical coils / larger patch antennas just narrow the beam width more. Harder to control, but not that hard for an experienced operator. Downsides are size and bulk.

    TANSTAAFL.

    P3 antenna to show dipole.jpg
     
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  15. Fishie

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    Thanks for the clarification! Patch style antennas are the best option. I've seen the coil mods. Imagine the range with a high gain yagi! Not practical but in the RC airplane FPV world they use them (I've only used a patch and a dipole). The beam spread is so narrow though on a yagi so combining with a patch gives you the best of both. Thanks for the image. Ugly thing isn't it?
     
  16. WetDog

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    Oh the picture is ugly because I had to pump the levels to show the antenna tracings. I had originally taken the picture for some measurements and wasn't concentrating on the exposure and an iPhone doesn't have the world's best camera. It's actually a fairly elegant, understated antenna with fruity overtones and a hint of cinnamon.

    There are threads here showing folks using narrow helicals trying to get maximum range. Beamwidth of about 10 degrees or so but great front to back performance.

    If all you're doing is going back and forth, it's an OK design. Horses for courses.
     
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  17. Fishie

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    You are right it is for sure multiple folded dipoles in an array. Amazing that the signal is so good with such a simple design. Still after thinking about it I am not sure it technically can be called a patch antenna though. Patch-like perhaps.
     
  18. WetDog

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    I don't think that is a simple design at all. Somebody knows what they are doing. It's simple to make, robust and fairly small - hard to get in one package. All in all, I'm impressed with the quality of DJI engineering. Their firmware, not so much ..... but it's getting better.
     
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  19. Fishie

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    Simple not in overall design of their antenna. Simple as far as the folded dipole is a simple closed loop.[​IMG][​IMG]


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  20. Peter Galbavy

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    I have the same but in "silver" from a no-name supplier via Amazon UK. They work great but I have to remember to face the aircraft :)

    One thing to note on mine is that the holes are difference sizes with no indication of top/bottom and I've been too forgetful to write on the yet. I have to remember to actually look at the holes once unfolded before mounting.

    At least they are trivial to remove quickly once the aircraft is directly overhead on an RTH landing and you need to orient the antennas horizontally :)
     
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