Parabolic range extenders. Do they really work?

Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
42
Likes
4
#1
I broke down and ordered a set of these from Amazon but I have to say that they have made absolutely no difference to the max range or signal quality of my P4 at all.
I started thinking about why and I seem to remember from school days that reflected signals can actually destructively interfere and work to reduce the effective signal or can cause patchy signal loss if the reflected signal is slightly or completely out of phase with the original signal. Could it be that this is what is happening and why some people just cant get them to work?

Do specific brands work?
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2015
Messages
408
Likes
162
Age
72
#2
I have these (wind surfers) on my P3P and P3A controllers and I get about 2 miles distance. Make sure your antennaes are vertical and point the controller at your drone. All brands work the same way. Mine are skyreat brand.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
556
Likes
90
Location
SW UK
#3
I've got a set of windsurfers but I thought I'd try to get 2 miles without using them with my p3p,(similar spec as the p3a)
and I did get 2 miles as this video shows, this was just before the new law in the UK came in


 
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
1,864
Likes
973
Location
Canada
#4
They help but not even close to a flat panel like a maxxuav DB2, parabolics like flat panels focus all the signal forward so you have to make sure you are pointing directly to the craft, if not it will be worse. I used a pair when I got my P4 many moons ago and it did help somewhat, then I got a flat panel and it was a game changer.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
5
Likes
1
Age
55
#5
firebridge from drone world is the way to go. had a phantom 4 for almost 2 years and i am on the search and rescue team in my area so i have checked out all the ways to get better signal. i got an email from drone world that was 20% off and tried it on their website as they had it on sale for $299. that made it about $250. it didnt discount so i emailed them and they gave me a new code and it worked so i bought it. i read all the reviews and this forum really beat them up saying it wasnt really boosted and didnt do much but i took a chance because it was less the half the price new and i didnt want that external battery sticking out and extra stuff to charge. just flew it for the first time and WOW. seriously i have flow from my backyard 1000 times with the stock P4 and even with the windsurfers that do a little but the firebridge amps made a huge difference. i dont have to get up on the tower i made behind the house. i flew to places behind buildings a mile away and was sitting on a lawn chair by my back door so that signal went through my metal building, my house, and a mile away and through my buddies house down to his back window. if you want performance and dont want to install it thats the way to go
 

Meta4

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
12,996
Likes
7,158
#7
I broke down and ordered a set of these from Amazon but I have to say that they have made absolutely no difference to the max range or signal quality of my P4 at all.
I started thinking about why and I seem to remember from school days that reflected signals can actually destructively interfere and work to reduce the effective signal or can cause patchy signal loss if the reflected signal is slightly or completely out of phase with the original signal. Could it be that this is what is happening and why some people just cant get them to work?
The cheap ones I got on ebay are wonderful.
No signal loss where it used to get flaky.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
42
Likes
4
#8
I just don’t get it, mine don’t do anything at all! I’m pointing them directly at the Phantom but there’s just no difference in signal strength at the limit of reception. Is there something I have to tweak on the RC?
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
3,477
Likes
1,942
Location
Northwest USA
#9
I just don’t get it, mine don’t do anything at all! I’m pointing them directly at the Phantom but there’s just no difference in signal strength at the limit of reception. Is there something I have to tweak on the RC?
Try this: At near the limit, pull them off. Lose signal? If so, then they were working the whole time. Parabolics are not a golden fix, they are just an enhancing tool.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
42
Likes
4
#10
Yup, that’s what I meant. I fly without them till the video is breaking up and then put them on and point towards the craft. There’s no difference at all when I do this. It all looks fine, I’ve peeled the clear film off the surface, the reflectors are pointing the right way (!!) but still, there’s no difference.
It’s just weird!
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
3,477
Likes
1,942
Location
Northwest USA
#11
There is a difference. Perhaps not noticeable during a highly variable conditions flight. I have seen the differences putting the parabolic panels on my router. The focus point is narrow, so that may be the issue not seeing a huge difference, but they do indeed (If the copper film is real) work. The beam cannot be fooled into thinking it is not being focused. If the backing film is authentic and thick enough, it has to focus. There are many variables, but in the whole of the system the things do work. But flat panels on the other hand.... Will be focused simply by the nature of their construction right off the bat. Amplify them and there's no saying "It doesn't work".
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2017
Messages
397
Likes
245
Location
UK/South Africa
#12
I looked into this controversial topic almost a year ago, considering both sides of the argument - deciding that, yes, the basic ones do work.

That said, we’ve hardly used them. On its own, our P4P+ can reach up to 4 miles away without any help or boosting of signal. Unless a higher ridge gets in the way, of course, in which case we can lose the transmission signal.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
3,477
Likes
1,942
Location
Northwest USA
#13
Losing signal is a thing that will happen no matter what in most cases either by RF interference and/or by solid object barrier. Distance in itself is not a matter that most will experience. The battery duration brings our "babies" back before that is seen (By distance alone). But near barriers and RF noise will inhibit many flights. That is where the enhanced equipment comes into play. Honestly, enhanced hardware will improve only to a point, but I depend on it for that extra 20-30% needed for no interruption of the needed live stream video feed. You will never be able to counteract the solid obsticle break in feed or the mass WIFI interference of the many zombie routers, microwaves and such energies. But that little bit of help that extra equipment can bring has its benefits. From the parabolic to the high dollar omni or flat panels energized by high wattage boosters, these methods of increasing our not just distances, but even nearby area saturation flights is something that only adds to the fun.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
3,477
Likes
1,942
Location
Northwest USA
#14
The only other way to reduce video feed breaks after having modified antennas and booster on the controller is to modify the drone's transmitters. Modifying the drones antennas and boosting the drones transmitter will indeed add 40-60% more power. But the work, expense and added weight are only for extreme users. Why not enjoy the magic the Phantom gives right out of box... with perhaps a moderate $ infusion done to the controller itself. 2-4 miles is a very long distance compared to the "fly by wire" Cox planes of yesteryear....
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
3,477
Likes
1,942
Location
Northwest USA
#17
Hmm, if I was getting 2-4 miles, that would be great but 600-800m is what I’m up against!
What country are you in? EU rules reduce transmitter power vs. US rules. Have you rotated the controller antennas many times? It is possible the lead is damaged within the controller. Have you tried flying in a COMPLETELY different area with the same results? Are the controller antennas both parallel to each other and pointed towards drone? When flying, are you aware of any object (Buildings, trees) between you and the drone? 800 meters equals 2,624 feet. In a high EMF noise environment, this would not be unheard of. Add in blocking objects and there's the answer. Keep in mind that this system is a "line of sight" rule. If there is any blockage from the antenna on the controller directly to the drone there will be greatly reduced distance results. The fact that you used the term meters tells me that you might be under EU rules. You could move to the U.S.A. where we mount military style microwave transmitters on our controllers and ride horses, wear cowboy hats and carry AR-15's while flying. Just saying....
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
3,477
Likes
1,942
Location
Northwest USA
#18
Looking at the Phantom 4 Pro specs:

Transmitter Power (EIRP)
2.400 - 2.483 GHz
FCC: 26 dBm (US)
CE: 17 dBm (EU)

5.725 - 5.825 GHz
FCC: 28 dBm (US)
CE: 14 dBm (EU)

Max Transmission Distance
2.400 - 2.483 GHz (Unobstructed, free of interference)
FCC: 4.3 mi (7 km)
CE: 2.2 mi (3.5 km)

5.725 - 5.825 GHz (Unobstructed, free of interference)
FCC: 4.3 mi (7 km)
CE: 1.2 mi (2 km)

Notice how using the 5.8GHz range would reduce the overall distance power?
 
Likes: Dan Lawrence
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
5
Likes
1
Age
55
#19
Hmm, if I was getting 2-4 miles, that would be great but 600-800m is what I’m up against!
if your only getting 800m then something is wrong with your drone or you have something blocking your signal. or maybe your just getting to the point where the video starts to break up a bit and coming back to soon. if video breaks up a bit just go up another 50 feet and keep trying further and you should easily get out a mile. at over that distance the video is reduced and a bit sketchy but the gps in the corner and the red triangle can guide you back at anytime if your not comfortable letting RTH do it
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
42
Likes
4
#20
What country are you in? EU rules reduce transmitter power vs. US rules. Have you rotated the controller antennas many times? It is possible the lead is damaged within the controller. Have you tried flying in a COMPLETELY different area with the same results? Are the controller antennas both parallel to each other and pointed towards drone? When flying, are you aware of any object (Buildings, trees) between you and the drone? 800 meters equals 2,624 feet. In a high EMF noise environment, this would not be unheard of. Add in blocking objects and there's the answer. Keep in mind that this system is a "line of sight" rule. If there is any blockage from the antenna on the controller directly to the drone there will be greatly reduced distance results. The fact that you used the term meters tells me that you might be under EU rules. You could move to the U.S.A. where we mount military style microwave transmitters on our controllers and ride horses, wear cowboy hats and carry AR-15's while flying. Just saying....
Yeehaw, It’s the bowler hat and moustache that’s on my Phantom that causing the lack of range!
Seriously though, I am in the UK and I’m flying near a beach where there’s not much in he way of interference. I’m not sure what you mean by “rotating the antennas many times”. I didn’t do that and didnt know I had to.

I can’t really push past the initial transmission cut as that’s the first and last warning I generally get. Once it cuts signal, it will inevitably say “aircraft disconnected” and a few seconds after that, it just starts coming home.

The signal is usually good until it’s gone. There doesn’t seem to be a gradual degradation going on.
 

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
129,739
Messages
1,347,310
Members
94,546
Latest member
RockDoc