I’ve recently added a 600mw 5.8GHz video transmitter and helical antenna to my quadcopter along with an IOSD-mini – a neat little gadget that superimposes flight data over the video that is sent back by the onboard GoPro camera. This data includes altitude, speed, pitch, roll, battery voltage, number of GPS satellites being received, vertical speed and distance as well as where I am in relation to the take-off point.
On a camera tripod next to me as I fly the quad is a video receiver/helical antenna, 7″ video monitor and a LiPo battery to power them.The receiver has a second video output meant to be sent to a DVR for recording the transmitted video but I’m still waiting on a miniature DVR to arrive in the mail.
My first flight with all this was yesterday and I have to tell you – it’s pretty amazing to fly an R/C model out of visual range.
People with identical set-ups have flown 4 miles away from themselves. I’m not nearly that brave, so my initial three flights have been to a nearby tall landmark 800 meters away. At that distance, I can’t see or hear the quadcopter but the video being sent back from it was tack sharp and free of any interference.
The flight data overlaid on the video allowed me to get the quad back to myself by “flying by instruments” (IFR).
The quad is probably about 14″ on a side so there’s no way I can see it beyond 125-150 meters. At 800 meters, I turned it back toward me and gave it full throttle. Max speed was 17 meters/second (38 mph). After almost a minute, I finally heard and could see the quad high over head and brought it down for a soft landing.
Once the DVR arrives, I’ll post a video of what is actually seen on the monitor during a flight.
The technology of this thing (and the capability it provides) is amazing – and not a bad way to spend time away from the HF bands between DXpeditions/contests.