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Help me Hack my Anafi Antennas!

Dronographer

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OK I have a little understanding about antenna basics but not how they apply to the Anafi or drones in general. I have disassembled my Anafi controller and it appears simple to remove one or both stock antennas, solder on new leads and to mount external connectors on the controller.

Please shed some light on how this drone works:

The two controller antennas, I am guessing one is 2.4ghz and the other 5.8ghz?

Does the controller constantly sample the two antennas/bands and use the stronger signal? Or does it use one band for drone control and the other for receiving video? Or use one band for both after selecting the channel?


I wish to extend the video reception in urban areas, and if I can extend flight range then great. In urban areas (where legal) I am getting 250-300 meters max in the USA. Rural mountain tops I have ranged almost mile (1.25km?) and not pushed it to limit, that has been enough for me.

Is modding the drone with different antenna(s) needed or just the controller?


So I am thinking:


Helical or circular polarized (FPVLR) on at least one antenna lead on the controller (both?) vs an Itelite DBS....2.4ghz. But my understanding is that circular polarized antennas are Right Hand or Left Hand and would need a corresponding antenna on the drone to properly receive, is that correct? So that would dictate a birdseed antenna mod, yes? The Anafi has double band antenna(s) in each leg. So I am assuming each leg is directional and in totally ar omnidirectional, so maybe a birdseed mod is not necessary....unless these are not compatible with a Right or Left hand circular polarized controller antenna(s).

Also is it safe to assume any antenna designed for the MavicAir to be compatible with the Anafi, seems like same technology?


Apologies for my ignorance. I would like to perform baseline ranges measurements before modding antennas and share results here.

So advice is needed and appreciated! The only real shortcoming to the Anafi IMHO is range. This ws helpful here : ANAFI - Wi-Fi range efficiency - Parrot Blog

I did not know that turning on Airplane Mode cut interference with the controller for instance. And manually choosing 2.4ghz instead of All.
 
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Dronographer

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I was thinking of that, I wonder if those are cheap knock offs of the FPVLR antennas, or if they are the sama source for half the price. I saw a review of the eBay version mounted on Mavic Air, the guy said it improved range but did not show before/after flights. And in the youtube comments a couple people stated they purchased and had no increase in range.

I wonder what the silver toggle switch mounted on the left side of the controller does??? Can you ask him? Curious minds want to know!
Also whether the “doubled range” was rural or in an urban setting with lots of interference from wifi etc. Is there any way you can find out?
 
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Kdavis2269

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I'm completely fine with the Anafi's range besides past 750 feet I can't tell which way it's pointed. If the video feed cuts past 1000 feet you are going to be buying a new drone.
 

Dronographer

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Well, this does not address my questions and merely hijacks the thread I started. But I disagree with “if the video cuts past 1000’ you are going to be buying a new drone”. There have been many episodes where I have maintained control of Anafi for some time after video feed dropped (within line of site as required). Usually video will cut, then return, sometimes several times. This is where better antennas are hopefully going to help and was stated as my primary goal, with added range secondary.

And when control range is exceeded, Anafi has successfully completed autonomous Return To Home many times. The one time it failed to RTH I climbed to higher ground, unplugged the lightning cable from my iPhone and reconnected the cable, and thus gained control and flew Anafi home. So I disagree totally with your statement. But it is true that any time I fly, I am mentally prepared to lose my drone.

I am glad you are satisfied with Anafi’s range, but there are many of us for whom 750’ is way too restrictive. I like to launch out of sight of others even though I am in a legal area to launch anywhere, which means I need to fly further to reach my subject. Sometimes this is for security (sketchy area in a foreign country, but still legal to fly) or merely so as not to disturb others. Anafi is quiet once up in the air, and people do not mind what they are not aware of. They are happy, and I am happy (and safe).

I hope that did not come off as “snooty”, no offense intended. We all have different flight plans and needs.
 
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Kdavis2269

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Im sorry that you think my comment was an attempt to hijack your thread. There are known issues with the app right now and some of us are not getting our video feed back through the usual methods since the last FF6 update. Past 1000 feet situational awareness becomes increasingly difficult to maintain with these smaller UAS unless you have visual observers in place. My prior commitment is an opinion, nothing more.

The Anafi is a great machine and I hope your antenna project is a success. Be safe my friend.
 
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Skydreamer

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I was thinking of that, I wonder if those are cheap knock offs of the FPVLR antennas, or if they are the sama source for half the price. I saw a review of the eNay version mounted on Mavic Air, the guy said it improved range but did not show begore/after flights. And in the youtube comments a couple people stated they purchased and had no increase in range.

I wonder what the silver toggle switch mounted on the left side of the controller does??? Can you ask him? Curious minds want to know!
Hi... if iremeber right patch antennas in skycontroller 3 are sending signal in 45degreee angle \/ where antennas in Augustines post have more narrow signal ll thus more range...more range doesnt mean a mile but probably few hundred meters/yards....to seriously increase range you would have to install wifi booster in Anafi itself ,thats where the issues is with your range,interferance is minimizing range...such installation was successfully done with dji mavic pro and parrot bebop2(solaris mode) but failed with parrot anafi due new wifi algorithm parrot made specifically for Anafi.....adding booster to anafi or skycontroller will mess up algorithm and cause anafi to disconnect a lot..
Regarding the toggle switch,it looks like he installed power switch so he doesnt have to remove phone and close skycontroller to savebattery charge when he is not flying anafi....you leave everything the way it is and just hit switch to turn it off
 

Dronographer

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A) I wish I had not updated the firmware if there are issues.

B) Skydreamer, by booster on the Anafi, you mean an antenna upgrade on the Anafi itself, or did you mean an amplifier to boost the signal?

C) The toggle switch for powering off the controller makes total sense.
 

Dronographer

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I have a Titan 2.4 Panel on the way, and the cables will not require soldering, I opened the case and Titan told me which cables I need. They need to be longer than the usual 8" due to the routing and extending phone holder/antenna on the Anafi controller. And they have an amplifier upgrade should one choose. Will try to post updates here. Not the cheapest way to go but they were VERY good in real time chat, answering a plethora of questions and giving advice. We will see if the tip of the
antenna housing will accommodate the inputs without modification. And the whole shebang will fit my Mavic 2 Pro, so hey.....
 

ChatugeAerial

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I noticed that there doesn't seem to be much discussion about modding the antennas on the Anafi. Is there a way to modify the antennas on the Anafi to full-wave thus increasing range? And modify the antennas on the controller as suggested by Agustine?
 

Jasper68

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I noticed that there doesn't seem to be much discussion about modding the antennas on the Anafi. Is there a way to modify the antennas on the Anafi to full-wave thus increasing range? And modify the antennas on the controller as suggested by Agustine?
 

Jasper68

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I am currently using Alientech Antenna Duo 2.4/5.8 on Anafi 1st edition SC 3. Yes range and signal are somewhat improved.
Here's an idea. This version of Alientech Antenna is passive however I still wanted to try this.
What if we elevate Antenna Panel itself
maybe 15ft and use high grade Coax to complete connection. I've considered signal attenuation for length but maybe clearing Fresnel Zone might be good trade-off
Do know..just a thought
 

Jasper68

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I am currently using Alientech Antenna Duo 2.4/5.8 on Anafi 1st edition SC 3. Yes range and signal are somewhat improved.
Here's an idea. This version of Alientech Antenna is passive however I still wanted to try this.
What if we elevate Antenna Panel itself
maybe 15ft and use high grade Coax to complete connection. I've considered signal attenuation for length but maybe clearing Fresnel Zone might be good trade-off
Do know..just a thought
 

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Chasbro

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I am currently using Alientech Antenna Duo 2.4/5.8 on Anafi 1st edition SC 3. Yes range and signal are somewhat improved.
Here's an idea. This version of Alientech Antenna is passive however I still wanted to try this.
What if we elevate Antenna Panel itself
maybe 15ft and use high grade Coax to complete connection. I've considered signal attenuation for length but maybe clearing Fresnel Zone might be good trade-off
Do know..just a thought
If you fast forward to the end of this video, you can see my external antennas. One is a big panel antenna sitting on the dash and the other is a tall mast type mounted outside. They were powered by an Amped Wireless SR10000 wifi extender. I used this set up with just a tablet, no controller, and it worked very well with the bebops. Both would fly to their battery limits - about 4.8 and 6.4 km respectively. tried the same set up with the Anafi but not much improvement over the stock controller. Now that I have a surplus controller (thanks to firmware related crashes) I'm thinking about hooking up the antennas to it.
 

Jasper68

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If you fast forward to the end of this video, you can see my external antennas. One is a big panel antenna sitting on the dash and the other is a tall mast type mounted outside. They were powered by an Amped Wireless SR10000 wifi extender. I used this set up with just a tablet, no controller, and it worked very well with the bebops. Both would fly to their battery limits - about 4.8 and 6.4 km respectively. tried the same set up with the Anafi but not much improvement over the stock controller. Now that I have a surplus controller (thanks to firmware related crashes) I'm thinking about hooking up the antennas to it.
 

Jasper68

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Chaspro

Could you take some photos of your setup?its difficult to see from vid
Would love to see one with mast!
What grade Coax Cable and connectors are you using?
How do you Amp setup?
Very interested in this!
 

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