Amateur Radio Aeronautical Mobile – AREDN Node on sUAS (Drone) Platform

hello YouTube Preppers this at the comms prepper with the comms prepper dog we have a channel update I'm back in the States my time in Bolivia is over I've been back about a month now then real busy working around the retreat here and back at the house but today we're actually going to make a video blending three of my hobbies fly on my drone the 3d printer and amateur radio our emergency communications today I'm going to attempt to use my drone to fly up an ardent amateur radio emergency data network node which is a small travel Wi-Fi router made by GLI net and I'll put a link down below with the Arden firmware loaded on it the gray module you see here was my first attempt and it was a failure it didn't work and I think that's because the 2.4 gig flight control transmitter on the drone was overloading the front end on the receiver on that Wi-Fi router there so a version 2.0 has a 3d printed bracket that holds both my anti-collision part 107 lights red and green and the white ones on the top with a 12-foot run of 550 cord going to another 3d printed cradle that's holding one of these GLI net routers with the art and software in it so the test today is to take the drone up with this R denote tether to it the R denote activated I have three or four nodes around the retreat here now log into the laptop and see if I can connect to that node and the concept is is during an emergency if I don't have line of sight with anybody else here in the valley I could put the drone up for a 20 minute period FAA regulations allow for as high as 400 feet above ground level it's a little too high it's hard to see the drone but I could easily put this drone up 250 feet with that Arden node park it there for 20 minutes and that would provide a window for other stations in the area to send and receive emergency communications so I'm going to pause here do my pre-flight check on the draw turn on my anti-collision lights those lights are not required they're only needed during the two half-hour periods in the morning in the evening what they call civil twilight but I like to use them anyway because it helps me see the drone I've completed my pre-flight check calibrated my compass the drone is ready to go battery's full on the drone on the controller I've powered up the Arda node I have a red light which means I'm linked to the mesh network here that I have set up in the cabin or at the retreat so now I'm going to go ahead and set the drone up and see what kind of connection I get here on the laptop now I can't video while I'm flying so I'm gonna set the camera down once again get the drone in position and then I'll come back be right back so I hope you can see this I've got the drone there I parked it with the clouds in the background and down below it you should be able to see the node at the end of the 550 cord the drone is sitting at about 28 feet I'm gonna go ahead and push that up to about a hundred and fifty feet and then we'll go over to the laptop and see what kind of connection my node on the top of the hill at the rainwater collector is making with that node I'm definitely seeing an improved performance on the link quality providing some vertical separation between the drone and a Arda node I'm gonna set the camera down and raise the altitude of the node be right back alright I got the drone up at 253 feet and the node is underneath it probably 15 20 feet below it and I'm getting some decent link quality or near letter quality I think that's what the analyst stands for on this node but it's not as good as I thought it was gonna be and that might be attributed to the small low-cost nature of that device on there that GLI net and I'm starting to think that maybe a ubiquity bullet device might be small enough to have low weight and provide good coverage over an area but I think this is a good proof of concept that you can merge amateur radio with drones or civil aviation to support emergency communications the flight time in the drones is roughly twenty minutes their gps controls so it hold in that position until you bring it back and if you had scheduled times in an area during an emergency maybe at the top of every hour you could put a drone up and bring more stations together pass emergency traffic bring your drone down for visual inspection and recharge into batteries and you could support a wider area if you didn't have a tower so I'm gonna go ahead and bring this down that means I got to turn the camera off to land the drone and kind of come up with a plan B and maybe get some feedback from you guys to see what you think about this concept I'll be right back all right we completed the safe flight with the drone and landed the Phantom 3 standard there's the node now what I did is I took the circuit board out of the commercial housing to reduce the weight and then I 3d printed that cradle and I'm running it with three double A batteries and put a little toggle switch on the top to turn it on and turn it off there was a big improvement in the link quality providing that vertical separation but I think it either needs more or I might need a more suitable device may be a ubiquity bullet radio it's a long cylinder I'm sort of screenshot of one that I can take out of the housing to reduce the weight it still has a small footprint and still get it up with the drone I mean you could probably put bigger nodes up there but the more payload you have you the reduced flight time you have this unit here I'll just recycle the plastic and use that circuit card for some other node but I think this could be a good idea again let me know what your thoughts are and again it's good to be back in the US and as always thank you for watching my videos and subscribing to my channel this has been the Khans prepper with a 3d printer slash drone slash amateur radio slash emergency communications video and now that I'm home I'll be able to make more videos so the end of the summer and then I got more news this week that we're actually going back out overseas again my wife has a new assignment and this time we're going to Germany so it looks like a two-year tour in Germany starting in September I might stick around here till October November to get through hunting season but Germany's the next stop thanks for watching everybody


3D Printer:

GL-iNET GL-AR300M16:

20 comments on “Amateur Radio Aeronautical Mobile – AREDN Node on sUAS (Drone) Platform

  1. rkaag99

    Makes me wonder what kind of lift is produced by a helium balloon kit (tethered obviously). The party kits from Walmart etc. No RFI/desense on the front end; possible longer deployment; quieter.
    You're doing great things!

  2. Iridium242

    Now this is a cool idea. I have long thought about how to incorporate ham radio and my drone. Have the same one you have in this vid too.. so it could do it. Would make for a very good short term cross band repeater if I could find a radio small enough too.

  3. Joe Ayers

    commsprepper, one option to consider is using different antennas with the GL.iNet device. It is a 2GHz MIMO device and offers improved performance using 2 antennas-polarities. The Bullet is a polarity-antenna-polarity device. If the device is moving around a lot or spinning, this can be problematic. The radiation pattern for these antennas is a donut shape and the signal strength would be going in and out for the Horizontal and the Vertical risks at this height reaching the ground. Maybe there is a dual-polarity flat patch antenna that can be sourced with a downward wide angle shape. Here's a commercial grade test, the 2 antennas inside the device are pointing to the horizon for users to to connect to miles away.

  4. Bob Dixon

    It would be great to have a tethered drone, sending power up the tether, so it could could fly indefinitely.
    That requires thin wire and high voltage; not easy.

  5. robert jeffery

    I would look into LiFePO4 batteries and pushing the voltage input by a volt or two. Also look at the antenna. Rather than the rubber duck, look into a full wave wire. That will save mass

  6. empbac

    Ubiquiti makes great Wifi gear. At my work we have switched to exclusively installing Ubiquiti for our clients. I haven't used that Bullet device, but it looks promising. It requires POE, so maybe you can dangle it from an Ethernet cable instead of 550 cord and tie the POE into your quad somehow… looks like it takes 24V according to the data sheet. You would need to look at the type of POE needed by the device and figure out which wires carry the power, and which is +/-. In fact, I bet you could get away with ditching the CAT5 and dangling this from a single pair of copper wires carrying POE to save weight. A standard RJ-11 cord might work, as long as it terminates on the Ethernet end properly. You should check Ubiquiti itself for this info since its method may be proprietary (I know it is with certain models of access points). As far as Ethernet connection goes, 568B is the modern standard.


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