FPV Drone Antennas Explained | Drone Racing Report | Vol 21

FPV Drone Antennas Explained | Drone Racing Report | Vol 21


Of all the components of a racing or freestyle
quad, the FPV signal chain is the most important in our opinion. If you can’t see, you can’t fly! An important part of this chain are the antennas,
both on your quad and on your FPV goggles. Choosing the right types will give you better
signal quality and range and improve your view. The first way in which antennas are classified
is by polarization. Linear polarized antennas are small, light,
and very durable. They work very well when aligned properly. However, it is very difficult to align antennas
when flying since the quad is constantly changing speed, direction, and orientation. When out of alignment, these antennas are
very prone to interference. Circular polarized antennas on the other hand
are a little larger and heavier, but do a much better job at rejecting interference
and are the top choice for use on the quad itself. These antennas come in two orientations: right
or left handed, or RHCP and LHCP. When using a circular polarized antenna, it
is critical that the same orientation is used on both the quad and the video receiver. It is a good idea to have a set of antennas
in both RHCP and LHCP if you fly in groups or participate in racing events. Having this option will allow you to further
separate your signal from other pilots flying nearby. Another way to classify antennas is directional
vs omni-directional. You can think of a directional antenna as
a laser beam, sending the majority of its signal in a single focused direction. An omni-directional design is more like a
bomb, sending its signal out in all directions. While a directional antenna can be more powerful
and give you better range, you are again at the mercy of the direction your quad is facing. This makes omni-directional antennas the most
popular choice for a drone. On your FPV goggles however, the choice will
largely depend on your setup. If your goggles are a single receiver design,
then an omni-directional circular-polarized antenna will be the best choice. This will give you the best, most reliable
signal regardless of how your quad is oriented. A diversity setup however uses two receivers,
each with its own antenna. With this setup, we recommend an omni/circular
antenna for one receiver, and a directional antenna for the other. This will allow you to take advantage of both
the reliability of an omni antenna and the range and power of a directional antenna,
providing you with a cleaner signal and better performance. A good example of a linear antenna is a dipole
design, which is common on many Ready-to-Fly drones as well as video receivers. These antennas are omni-directional and are
cheap and very durable. Patch antennas can come in either a linear
or circular polarization, and are directional antennas. This design has become very popular for use
on diversity receivers, providing a strong signal when the pilot is facing the quad. A helical antenna is more directional than
a patch antenna and is a circular-polarization design. While they provide great performance, they
must be pointed directly at your drone for maximum effect. The final and most popular designs are cloverleaf
and pagoda antennas. These are omni-directional and circular-polarized,
and provide excellent performance and lower interference. Cloverleaf typically have three lobes in either
a right or left-handed pattern that are sometimes encased in a protective plastic shell. This is the most common antenna seen on racing
and freestyle drones today. A variation known as a “skew-planar” antenna
has four lobes instead of three, and will sometimes be part of a matched antenna set. In these sets, the cloverleaf is most often
used on the quad while the skew-planar is used for the video receiver. Pagoda antennas have been increasing in popularity
in recent years. Their function and performance is very similar
to cloverleaf antennas, but they tend to be a little more durable, a huge plus if you
crash a lot like we do! We highly recommend using matched pagoda or
cloverleaf antennas on both your quad and your FPV goggles. We also recommend using a diversity receiver
when possible, with a patch or helical antenna for the second receiver. This combo will give you the best performance
and the clearest view, improving your FPV chain and making it easier to fly. Your environment will also affect the performance
of your FPV signal, so experiment with different designs to find out what works best for you. If you have a question about antennas, let
us know in the comments or visit the Drone Racing International FPV Facebook group and
ask the members for help. Visit Shop.Dronucopia.com for drones and drone
accessories, and happy flying!

6 thoughts on “FPV Drone Antennas Explained | Drone Racing Report | Vol 21”

  1. Aha… this explains why the Crazypony antennas I just got are slightly different. I also did a Bandicoot patch on my Furious Tru-D. Great upgrade!

  2. What antennas do you use on YOUR quad and goggles? Did we miss anything, or do you have questions about antennas? Let us know in the comments!

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