One of the situations that a remote pilot will face while planning their flight is with regard to the strength or quality of their control link. As UAS pilots, we have probably all been asked by someone “how far can you fly that thing”, and while the appropriate answer for most anyone would be “only as far as I can see it”, the actual distance that you can feasibly control the aircraft and receive reliable telemetry data isn’t quite as simple as being able to just state a fixed number.
There are a lot of things that can affect the signal quality between the controlling equipment and the aircraft. Some operators start with the idea that boosting power will increase their link quality and range, others will focus on antenna types or antenna tracking, and others may consider changing the operating frequencies of their equipment to avoid a crowded frequency spectrum and minimize interference effects. Regardless of the equipment choices an operator settles on, we can certainly help by enabling communication predictions through our precision analytics.
This is something we have been doing for many years to evaluate complex communications systems such as multi-hop satcom systems, and we have taken these same technologies and sharpened the focus to provide UAS operators the ability to discover and explore their communication systems within our web-based tools.
By incorporating digital terrain information and allowing systems to be defined with details like frequency, power, antenna types, and a host of other system level properties, we provide a way for pilots to take a look at their predicted link quality and help bring awareness to their mission planning routine.
If you are curious how you might be able to start using similar analytics in your own projects, take a look at the API Documentation
This will be coming soon as a native capability in our OneSky web portal, so if you haven’t already, sign up for the BETA and start using some of our flight analytics today!