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Thread: In-car ground station

  1. #1
    Navigator MadMonkey's Avatar
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    In-car ground station

    Odd question, I'm sure it's been done though.

    I was asked to look into options for a mobile ground station to operate multirotors both while moving and stopped. Then I realized it would actually be pretty cool to have this in my own vehicle as well, just for giggles.

    So what I'm thinking is a monitor on the dash, along with my radio mounted within easy reach. What is tripping me up is how to work out the antenna mounting. My car has a sunroof, so I could easily pop out an antenna array to the roof and take off.

    So... what do I do here? The video is easy, I can just run my cable from the exterior receiver to the monitor inside. But for the RC controller, how would I extend the antenna to the exterior? Do any 433mhz systems allow for something like this? I know that simply running an extension for the stock 2.4ghz would be a bad idea (I think).

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Navigator rdstarwalt's Avatar
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    Not too many (new) TXs have the ability to extend the antenna, though it can be done, but not without modifying the TX and probably wrecking any warranty you might have had.

    You are correct in that 2.4 GHz (microwave) is a tougher piece of tech to work with. The loss through coax and connections cannot be ignored.

    433 MHz is probably the better way to go.

    This assumes completely that your local traffic laws allow 'flying while driving'.

    -=Doug
    KB4FEM

  3. #3
    Navigator MadMonkey's Avatar
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    For my use it would mostly be while sitting still

    So, if I used 433mhz, like an Ezuhf system, would I be able to mount it outside the car and use a long extension to the transmitter? Sounds like the easiest way to set it up. I also ran across an idea of placing a master transmitter outside the car and using a slave inside with a trainer cable. Sounds like a possible stopgap until I can set up a UHF system.

    Thanks for the input so far.

  4. #4
    Navigator rdstarwalt's Avatar
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    The idea of using a 'buddy box' setup is actually clever and would definitely work -- probably.

    Of course you would need to find a way to mount the 'remote' TX and run the control cable.
    Of course there would be two TX involved and the 'master' usually has a dead-man switch arrangement -- the master has to be held in 'slave' mode to allow the trainee control. This could be worked with a mechanical arrangement on the mount for the master.

    This keeps TX boxes 'original'.

    -=Doug
    KB4FEM

  5. #5
    Instructor Pilot Channel 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMonkey View Post
    So, if I used 433mhz, like an Ezuhf system, would I be able to mount it outside the car and use a long extension to the transmitter? Sounds like the easiest way to set it up.
    Thanks for the input so far.
    I would recommend you obtain a magnetic mount with an applicable SMA connector for the radio and the antenna, place that up on the rooftop and I am willing to bet you will get better range than with the antenna on the radio outside of the car.

    The reason being with the antenna centered (consider behind the sunroof) on the roof, you will have a really decent ground plane for 433 MHz ops.

    Another thought would be to find a mag mount with a NMO base and a SMA on the cable and just use a commercial 70 cm antenna up on the roof.

    Wayne
    Everybody loves a bunny.

  6. #6
    Navigator faber's Avatar
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    On 433 I have been out many many miles while flying from inside the car. I was running a pepperbox on 2G4 for video and a dragonlink. No fancy antennas outside the car or anything. Ran the video through my goggles, and also to my in dash screen and the two back screens for the kids. it gets HOT in Az...A/C is life.

    just go fly your plane.

  7. #7
    Wise Selectah SiMuL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faber View Post
    On 433 I have been out many many miles while flying from inside the car. I was running a pepperbox on 2G4 for video and a dragonlink. No fancy antennas outside the car or anything. Ran the video through my goggles, and also to my in dash screen and the two back screens for the kids. it gets HOT in Az...A/C is life.

    just go fly your plane.
    So you were in the car with the UHF Tx/antenna and flew out a few miles no prob? That's awesome! Were the windows down?

  8. #8
    Navigator faber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiMuL View Post
    So you were in the car with the UHF Tx/antenna and flew out a few miles no prob? That's awesome! Were the windows down?
    Windows up, A/C on full blast, Radio jamming some CCR, and an Ice cold drink in the cup holder
    I have also gone out several miles from inside a building, antennas and all. This was all done on 433 (Dragonlink) and a 2G4 pepperbox. MILES. Through block walls.

    Don't even worry for a second about flying from your car on 433. I have done car chases with my whole GS in the back seat as well. Just go and try it. people like to split hairs about every little surface having some detuning effect on the antennas but take all that with a grain of salt as they say. Go out and experiment, you will learn alot, and surprise yourself.

  9. #9
    Navigator faber's Avatar
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    The way that RF energy propagates is not quite like you imagine it.

  10. #10
    Wise Selectah SiMuL's Avatar
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    Very nice man! 2.4ghz through concrete out that far is very impressive. I've taken 900mhz and 1.2ghz out a mile or so, but I haven't tried with 5.8ghz. I need to get back into long range...

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