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Antenna identification and information help...

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Hello, I recently just bought an H920+ with CGO4 gimbal. I've been involved with RC over 30 years and started a drone business in 2014 that is doing quite well. This model has always intrigued me since it's inception but the early release price tag of it was overinflated IMO. I own or have owned nearly every prosumer and industrial UAS platform on the market (multirotor as well as fixed wing) from the Mavic Mini through the Matrice 600 and S1000. I finally pulled the trigger on this H920 when I found a seller liquidated them on eBay for around $2500. I managed my expectations since I was aware the tech is 3+ years dated at this point and I've had a few Yuneec models with the integrated Android tablet remotes which produce a mediocre laggy low res FPV live view with limited range but I had high hopes since the CGO4 is pretty much a Panasonic GH4 which is a great camera. Now the aircraft actually flies quite well and as I assumed, the cam is excellent...my gripe however is the RC control range. I replaced the 5.8 antenna with a Fat Shark patch antenna which made a world of difference on my video stream...much cleaner and plenty of range. What's killing me are the 2 2.4 antennas. I'm assuming 1 is for transmission of the RC control to the drone which drops out around 1500ft and the other is another 2.4 receiving antenna providing telemetry data to the ST16 which drops out even sooner than 1500ft. Has anyone tested any different antennas besides the overpriced 4 Hawks or Itelite? Has anyone modded the receiver's antennas on the drone as well? I really want to keep this platform in my fleet because I love the results of the CGO4 camera but I just can't work with only 1000-1500ft of range. PLEASE HELP! ANYBODY!
 

DoomMeister

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Please clarify if you have the H920 with ST24 controller or the H920+ with the ST16 controller.
 

h-elsner

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Both 2.4GHz antennas work as a pair (antenna diversity) in both directions. The antennas should have an angle of 90° to each other at RC as well at drone. The range of the 2.4GHz Signal should be much better as only 1500ft depending on the area where you are with the stock antennas.
You can check the RSSI in the telemetry files that are stored on the RC.

br HE
 
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Both 2.4GHz antennas work as a pair (antenna diversity) in both directions. The antennas should have an angle of 90° to each other at RC as well at drone. The range of the 2.4GHz Signal should be much better as only 1500ft depending on the area where you are with the stock antennas.
You can check the RSSI in the telemetry files that are stored on the RC.

br HE
Where can I find RSSI info? On the transmitter? Does it store flight logs to pull data post flight?Or does it just give you live data while in operation? I have quite a bit of experience with drones and RC in general. I've built many multirotor and fixed wing aircraft and I've tested extensively pretty much every flight controller on the market dating back to the V1 KK board LOL. I've also done a lot of testing on different FPV gear, both digital and analog so I was quite disappointed with the dropout at only about 1500-1600 ft. I assumed the drone used 2.4 for RC/telemetry and 5.8 for the video which is why I was surprised to see the RC and telemetry link drop out before the video since 2.4 is generally stronger for longer distances. I've been watching some YouTube videos and have seen where people have replaced factory antennas on the drone with upgrades as well as mounting the antennas externally so the signal doesn't have to punch through the drone's body. I couldn't find any videos however of someone doing this to the H920, just the Typhoons. Any advice? Mine is an H920 Plus with the ST16 Plus with the 3 antenna array (newest version I believe)
 
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Also, does anyone know the mw of the video transmitter and can the power of it be adjusted somehow? Possibly through a GUI or even replaced for a more powerful one? I live in the US, as I know most countries regulate or put limits on video transmitters and differ depending on where the drone is sold/meant to be operated
 

h-elsner

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On the internal memory of the the ST16 there is a directory called 'FlightLog'. It contains data files for Remote (stick inputs, switches), RemoteGPS (the GPS data from RC) and Telemetry (all data sent by the drone itself, including the RSSI values, coordinates, voltage and so on). Those files are simple CSV files.
To browse or analyze you can use q500log2kml:

Windows64bit: http://h-elsner.mooo.com/downloads/q500log2kml_en.zip
LINUX 64bit: http://h-elsner.mooo.com/downloads/q500log2kml_en.tar.gz
User manual: http://h-elsner.mooo.com/pdf/Q500log2kml_en.pdf

RC/telemetry should not drop before video downstream 5GHz WiFi. The WiFi range is not the best at Yuneec drones. But RC connection should be good enough if all HW/antennas are in order.

br HE
 

h-elsner

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Here are the FCC specifications for the 2.4GHz RC connection:

For 5Ghz WiFi there exists different camera firmware versions. (A) to meet FCC rules, (E) to meet European rules.

br HE
 

Steve Carr

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The RSSI information may be helpful. We can compare it to other models to see if there is a significant difference. You can upload the zipped file here if you wish. @DoomMeister and @WTFDproject both have a great deal of experience analyzing the data.
@h-elsner raises a good point about the stick antennas. For the best performance they should be at vertical angle.
ST16 Antennas.jpg

 
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You might want to consider moving/replacing the two 2.4 GHz antennas in the H920Plus. They are located inside the bird next to the battery box and probably are the weak link in the transmission path. Terrestrial Imaging sells an antenna conversion kit for the H480 Typhoon that should also work in the H920Plus. The kit includes two coax cables with connectors and two “rubber ducky” antennas that can be used to move the 2.4 GHz antennas outside the bird. If you are into DIY mods it should not be too big of a project. I have considered doing this mod but have not yet attempted it because I have not had any range issues with my flight patterns.
 

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The 2.4 antennas inside the 920 are the same as used in the 480. Where they are mounted and how they are oriented are not even close to ideal.

The 2.4 antenna kit marketed for the 480 will work for the 920. Just use a little care in removing and installing wires.
 
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@PatR or @thoneter might have some useful information.
I purchased a vas 5 8 ghz crosshair lhcp for the st24's that I have as the distance for them and the original 920 are horrible. I'm getting increased distance with these and can go LOS. One nice feature of the 920 is that it is much more visible at greater distances.
 
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PatR

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The size of the 920 makes for a much longer LOS range for sure, but you would be amazed at the LOS distance for a drone with a 12-15 foot wheelbase
 
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Steve Carr

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I purchased a vas 5 8 ghz crosshair lhcp for the st24's that I have as the distance for them and the original 920 are horrible. I'm getting increased distance with these and can go LOS. One nice feature of the 920 is that it is much more visible at greater distances.
Did you try the same antenna in the 2.4 GHz model for the control signal?

 
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Did you try the same antenna in the 2.4 GHz model for the control signal?

It's been a long time since I've flown the 920's that I have.
 
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So I went ahead and purchased the Itelite DBS antenna system for the controller. Found it on eBay for about $100. Tried it out and was definitely impressed with the increase in range and performance. It easily doubled the range. The weak link of the 3 is definitely the telemetry link. I have yet to lose my 5.8 video link even as far as 4500 ft and the 2.4 RC link seems to even hold up close to the same distance. The telemetry link however has trouble making it more than about 2500ft. I think I will try Seabee's recommendation to relocate the (2) 2.4 antennas on the aircraft to see if it helps with the telemetry link range. I had a DJI Matrice 600 and DJI did a great job of mounting their antennas on the aircraft on the landing gear so when they retracted, they hung down giving a clean unobstructed LOS back to the antennas on the controller and I had it over 2 miles out at times along the beach so I'm confident relocating the antennas on the H920 will make a difference
 
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