The ProDrone FullSet is a set of diversity-ready antenna, precision-made . Let’s have a look at how they perform on a diversity receiver.
ProDrone Fullset Antenna
The ProDrone Fullset includes
- 1 x 3.5-turn Helical,
- 1 x 3-lobe cloverleaf
- 1 x 4-lobe skew-plannar antennas
- 3D printed protective shells and tools
The helical is a 3.5 turns antenna with 8 dBi Gain. The moderate gain gives it long range with wide beam width of 60 degree, 120 degree with reduced range.
It comes with a semi rigid stem that can be bent to any angle.
vSWR Provided by Prodrone 5640-5950 < 1.3 5640-5860 < 1.2 5677-5763 < 1.1 5645 = 1.12 5705 = 1.09 5740 = 1.09 5760 = 1.08
ProDrone will soon make the 7-turn version available which has higher gain (longer range but narrower beam width), more suitable for long range flying.
The 4-lobe cloverleaf antenna is used on the video receiver. The cable is made of the same material as the Helical, and can be bent to whatever angle required.
vSWR Provided by Prodrone 5640-5950 < 2 5640-5860 < 1.6 5640-5819 < 1.4 5640-5752 < 1.2 5645 = 1.02 5705 = 1.08 5740 = 1.17 5760 = 1.21 5805 = 1.35
The 3-lobe cloverleaf antenna is for the video transmitter with flexible stem.
vSWR Provided by Prodrone 5640-5950 < 2 5640-5870 < 1.6 5640-5835 < 1.4 5640-5790 < 1.2 5645 = 1.17 5705 = 1.04 5740 = 1.06 5760 = 1.09
What is vSWR
Learning from Bartek at ProDrone:
VSWR (a function of return loss) tells us how much power is emitted through antenna, how much will be reflected inside of antenna and how much will return to transmitter. VSWR is not such important in RX antenna, but TX antenna with bad VSWR can be reason of higher temps of TX. VSWR 2.0 means that 11% of power will return to TX. Had some cheap Chinese antennas that had even higher VSWR.
I tested the antennas on the following setup:
- VTX: 25mW Quanum Elite (Raceband Ch1 5658MHz)
- VRX: Furious True-D Diversity Reciever for Dominator
- VRX: NexWave Receiver for Dominator
And compared the result with using Spironet antenna only.
It’s interesting to see that different antenna affects the colour of the image (notice video 1/3 looks darker than 2/4). For the first 10 seconds, the Spironet antennas gave “greener” and brighter picture.
After that (0:15) you will notice video 1 also becomes greener. My guess is that the diversity switched from Cloverleaf (CL) antenna to the Helical at this point, as video 3 continue to be the same colour using the CL.
Comparing video 1 and 2, as expected, helical is much better at range than CL, and we got absolute clear image while 2 is starting to show static at towards the end of the range test.
However when we were only using the ProDrone Cloverleaf antennas, we found they didn’t perform as good as the spironet in terms of range (at least for the frequency we were testing). It started to show static much earlier. But signal penetration is somehow better than the Spironet as you can see in the test where I was flying behinds trees.
Overall I am happy with this set of antennas, feel solid and very well made. They gave me good results on the Diversity receiver.
If you have never used a directional antenna before (such as helical or patch), it’s important to point the antenna to the aircraft at all time to get the most out of it. When flying on the left, right or behind of the helical antenna, the signal is largely reduced and the diversity receiver will switch to using the cloverleaf antenna.