Pagoda Antenna is a new antenna for 5.8Ghz FPV system (VTX/VRX) in 2017! We will explain what Pagoda antenna is and what advantages they offer? I also bought a pair of the Realacc Pagoda antennas to test out.
What is Pagoda Antenna?
Pagoda is similar to Cloverleaf and skew planar wheel antenna, they are all omni-directional circular polarized FPV antennas.
The biggest visual difference is that they are made of regular PCB’s (silicon circuit boards with etched active copper elements), rather copper wires.
In theory this design has good radiation pattern and axial ratio. And in fact we have been hearing a lot of positive feedback from the community, that the Pagoda performed just as good as some of the best Cloverleaves out there, if not better.
If you want to know more about the technical aspect of this antenna design, check out Maarten Baert’s website. He kindly allows everyone to use his design including commercial use as long as you give him credit. (for example, print his name on the antenna)
Advantage of Pagoda Antennas
There are quite a few benefits to using Pagoda antennas over traditional Cloverleaf and skew planar antennas:
- Much cheaper and easier to make
- More robust since they are based on ordinary PCB
- Improved Axial ratio to reduce multipath interference
- More uniform radiation pattern, more omni-directional and less directional signal loss
Realacc Pagoda Antenna
So back to the review of Pagoda antenna from Realacc. I got these from here: http://bit.ly/realacc-pagoda-antenna.
For $9 each, this is probably the cheapest pagoda antenna I could find anywhere. These are RHCP (right handed circularly polarized), and available in multiple colours: red, white and black.
It comes in a cardboard box, very well wrapped in a plastic bag and some protection foam.
The Realacc pagoda antennas have semi-rigid stems, and you can bend them to whatever angle you want. They are covered in thick rubber skin and seems to be pretty durable.
However I can’t say the same to the 2 circuit boards on top, they seem possible to crack or bend in a crash. I will 3D print some protective cases for them.
As you can see in the antenna there are 3 disks soldered to the coax cable, and they have to be at very specific distances as pointed out by Maarten. I measured it with a caliper and they appear to be roughly correct. Soldering looks good too.
The 2 top PCB’s both have 3 white markers, and the top and bottom markers should match. But on one of the antennas, markers are off for about 1mm, not sure how much effect there would be to performance yet. The other antenna appears to be perfectly aligned with the markers.
Finally, these antenna weighs nearly 9g each, similar weight to other CP Antennas.
I have been using the Pagoda antennas from BG for about 3 months now, the only advantage it has over other antenna is price. Durability wise, it’s not great out of the box, you must get a 3D printed protector for these antenna if you plan to crash a lot, and they could survive some hard crashes that way.
However they aren’t the best CP antenna in term of performance. I found them to have very poor penetration, even flying behind my head is enough to block the signal, which wouldn’t be a problem with my other Cloverleaf antennas.