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Airborne Relay Station

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:55 am
by Lsutiger607
New member/YouTube subscriber and big fan of the show. Lots of good, practical info. I'm a new hobbyist though and have a steep learning curve. Gonna start basic but have a side project I would like to investigate regarding FPV. I dont have the luxury of wide open spaces but know that line of sight is very important to range, quality. Putting tx/rx's high up aids in this. My idea is to build a high payload capable aircraft flying an autonomous orbit over the pilot via an autopilot and acting as a signal relay between the pilot and the second, FPV aircraft (the one being manually flown by the pilot). I'm sure I can build the autonomous aircraft, but regarding electronics, is there any products out there that will relay these signals? I don't know the terminology but liken it to the way mobile phone or wifi devices can boost a signal for better reception. Is it worth it? Would imagine an antenna on a 'virtual' 400 foot pole would provide excellent range and quality for FPV. How about a directional, gimbal-ed antenna on the autonomous aircraft? Clover leaf? Can I boost my turnigy 9x signal? Telemetry data, etc in addition to the video signal? I guess what I need is a wireless connection between the video receiver antenna and the display screen/goggles. Is this possible?


Re: Airborne Relay Station

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:55 am
by dannyzz
At the moment there is a group at diydrones that is building a telemetry system over the GSM network hope fully in the next year or so it should be able to stream video as well. So if you live in cellphone range it should work but at the moment it is very experimental im looking at trying it sometime soon.....

Re: Airborne Relay Station

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:55 pm
by Lsutiger607
A follow up to my original question,

What if I take the AV out from the receiver (which I'll install on the airborne relay plane) and instead of plugging it into goggles/video screen, plug into a second (the first is on the FPV plane mentioned at the start of this thread) video transmitter and send it down to a second video receiver on the ground. Would this work or would I get interference or noise? Would a diversity module help? So essentially I'd have one tx/rx from the FPV airplane to the airborne relay plane and a second tx/rx system from the airborne relay plane to the ground. Thoughts?

Re: Airborne Relay Station

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:15 am
by chrisjunkie
That will work fine. Just make sure you have the channels far enough apart to ensure that there is little interference and you should be fine!

FPV Plane TX --> Repeater Plane RX --> Repeater Plane TX --> Ground Station RX

Best bet I would say is to buy an OSD or similar for the repeater plane that has a return to home functionality. Then just launch the repeater plane, set return to home and it will just circle like you require! :-)


Re: Airborne Relay Station

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:49 am
by zann68
What about a balloon? Like a small weather balloon tethered to the ground. No need to risk another set of expensive equipment to a flying aircraft orbiting on battery power while flying FPV also. You could make a rig to handle the repeater equipment with no issues. I was just watching several videos of people sending these balloons 90,000ft with high-end camera rigs and gps transponders on them carrying hefty loads. Just an idea.

Re: Airborne Relay Station

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:01 am
by Lsutiger607
With regard to the two transmitters, should they operate on different/same frequencies? What type of antenna to use on both the aircraft and ground station? Can I relay my transmitter (flight controls)? The range of the video is useless if I can't control it. With regard to the balloon idea, I've thought about that. Just think that an easy, cheap and steady supply of helium is beyond my abilities. Plus I like the idea of designing a scratch built aircraft with multi-role (payload) capabilities. Considering using Burt Rutans Proteus design (while paying tribute of course) as its designed to fly high altitude, high endurance missions with versatile payloads. Planning on using DIY Drones's Ardupilot II to establish a reliable GPS Orbit and of course this plane would have greater endurance than the FPV plane, taking off first and landing last in the mission described above.