Recently, I’ve noticed my drone losing image transmission and losing remote signal a lot sooner than it had previously. I found the Skyreat Range Extender on Amazon and decided to give it a review.
I began researching why this could be. First thing to note is that the Phantom 3 Standard uses a different type of signal to communicate with the controller than the Advanced and the Professional. The Standard instead uses an amplified Wi-Fi connection
It is stated in the DJI specs for the Phantom 3 Standard that the transmission range is up to 1000m but this is only true in the US. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) transmission range is higher than the European CE (Conformité Européenne) range of 500m due to a European law ruling that a lower transmission power is to be used. It is important to note that you can’t legally fly beyond 500m or beyond visual line of sight within most countries.
After scrolling through the forums, I noticed that a lot of suggestions/solutions were to go out and buy range extender. Some basic Google searches later, I found the Skyreat Range Extender on Amazon. Costing £10 it seemed like a reasonable thing to buy and try and even if it didn’t work it wasn’t a lot of money wasted. The parabolic design of the range extender is said to be the perfect shape to reflect the signal towards the drone. The only caveat is in order for the parabolic reflection to work at it’s best , the remote must be pointing in the direction of the drone.
On the day I did this little experiment, the weather was perfect for flying drones in. Clear skies, no wind and plenty of fields to fly over made for a fair test.
First I did a control test without the range extender and found that I could fly around 150m before I started to have issues with image transmission and get a weak remote signal warning. In this particular instance the drone lost its remote signal and initiated the return to home feature
I feel it’s important to not that my drone did crash a little while ago (read all about it here) which could have cause some damage to the antenna, but even before the crash the range was not as advertised.
Using the range extender I could fly 408m before I ran out of fields to continue testing over. At this stage the drone was also growing very small in the distance and I found it a difficult to keep track of it in my line of sight. Once again you cannot legally fly beyond line of vision or 500m; whichever comes first!. Make sure to have your fly-home settings configured to return the drone if your signal drops out at any time!
At this point I decided to call it a win. Clearly the range extender helped boost the signal from my remote to the drone, improving the range immensely. Even though the range extender helps it doesn’t hide the fact that there is clearly a performance issue with the Phantom 3 standard as it doesn’t get any where near the range the specifications say it has.
In my case it is worth the £10 for the extender and it has definitely improved the range.
Have you had range problems when flying a DJI drone? What was your solution? Let me know in the comments below or find me on all social media @littlemissdrone.
P.S. Don’t forget to to sign up to the mailing list using the form below, for awesome content (never spam) straight to your inbox every month!