Are you looking for a DIY drone range extender or a way to increase drone range?
This guide might be the one you need!
As drone technology is getting better from one day to another, new and better features are appearing for them.
One of the most important properties of a drone is the maximum range between the aircraft and the controller.
This range is influenced by several factors and not only by the technology your drone is equipped with.
The signal for your quadcopter is way stronger in areas without buildings and a dense population.
This might be a good reason why you are reading my article.
Drone signal extenders or in other name signal boosters are giving a new shape and direction for the controller signals.
These antennas are not increasing the amount of signals emitted.
Their main role is to utilize the existing signals that would normally move in the opposite direction from the drone.
Here I would like to answer all of your possible questions and the main dilemma:
Do drone range and signal extenders work?
The short answer to your question is a strong yes.
They are increasing the signal strength which will have different beneficial effects.
- These signal extenders will allow you to fly a little bit further with your drone.
Of course, the simple range extenders won’t make it possible to fly an additional 5 miles.
But they can easily add one or two miles in plus.
- They can eliminate the dropouts you are getting with a bigger distance and also in a more crowded area.
- The buildings will always block a part of the signals.
- But these extenders can focus them and by this, they can reduce your interference problems too.
Many drone pilots are not satisfied with the capacity of their aircraft.
Fortunately, there are several methods to increase the signal range and “power” of your drone.
Many talented people are uploading videos to the internet about DIY projects too.
These extenders might help you focus the signals, but the after-market tools have a better design and effects too.
How can I increase the range of my drone?
There are two basic versions of these range extenders. The majority of DIY projects are also based on these two solutions methods.
Signal extender types:
- Parabolic range extender
- Yagi Uda signal amplifier
Both of these two types are based on the same principles, so basically you will get almost the same result from them.
The parabolic type of signal amplifier/extender is know for even centuries.
The Yogi Uda one was invented in the first part of the twentieth century.
A lot of people might think these can’t have a serious influence on signal strength.
But they are based on simple and already-proven physical principles.
Even if some drone pilots don’t know how to measure significant differences, they still are working.
The majority of these extenders are called boosters too.
But they are not really boosting your signals. They are not powered by electricity or anything else.
They are based on similar technology as the simple tv antennas.
While those are collecting the signals, the ones for drones have a different role too.
Drone signal boosters are shaping and focusing the signals emitted by the controller.
So the majority of signals that would go upwards, back, or in any other direction, will be focused frontwards.
The difference between the two of these tools is the shape and strength of the signals.
Parabolic signal extender
As I already mentioned the technology and the idea behind this tool is available for hundreds of years.
They were used even to focus the power of the sun.
In our case, the main purpose of these parabolic antennas is to redirect almost 50% of the signals that would be lost.
Imagine the drone is in front of you, so every signal from the controller that goes in the opposite direction is worthless.
These tools are simply changing their direction and focusing them toward your quadcopter.
The good thing about it is that you don’t have to know the exact location of your drone to profit from the additional signals.
The only thing you need is to mount these amplifiers and face towards your quadcopter.
Similar article: Can Drones Show Up On Radars?
Yagi Uda signal booster antennas
These have different shapes, and they are working based on different methods too.
These extenders can mean significantly more range because of the shape and direction of signals they are creating.
The signals of the controller are reflected and also shaped into a narrow beam.
This property is allowing you to fly your drone way further.
Unfortunately, these Yagi Uda antennas have an important downside too.
Because of the way it is focusing, the width of your beams is very limited.
So, by using this „signal booster” you need to know the exact direction of your drone.
In many cases, this might be tricky, and it can cause a loss of signals.
Best drone range extender solution
The solution I will mention might seem a little bit unorthodox or uncommon.
But this way of extending the range of your drone is simply based on science.
Using both solutions, the parabolic and the Yagi Uda antennas will give you the perfect solution.
The parabolic antenna is gathering all signals that would go backward.
And the Yagi Uda one will give a more focused direction for a part of the beams.
Why would you need a signal extender/booster?
Many people are calling these little antennas signal boosters.
In some ways, they are increasing the number of beams your drone can take.
As I already mentioned these are not increasing the amount, your controller is emitting, they are only focusing them to a direction you want.
- I think the main reason to use an antenna like this is to increase the signals in busy areas.
- For many people, the biggest motivation is to increase the maximum range of the aircraft.
- But getting a more strong one for the same distance might seem more important.
- Reducing the chance of drone flyaways will give you a good amount of peace of mind.
- I think no one likes to see the no signal or signal lost message on the phone.
Many drones don’t have the return to home option.
In their cases losing the signal can cause unpleasant moments.
Even fair eye contact with your device might not be enough for controlling it properly.
- The additional range you can earn with these signal shapers is only a nice bonus from my point of view.
How do I increase the range of my FPV drone?
Using a signal booster for FPV drones is getting a more important role.
A lot of these quadcopters are self-made or at least without serious software.
Their main purpose is to achieve higher speeds, more intense spins, turns, and movements.
The additional abilities are coming with some price.
The majority of these drones don’t have the return-to-home option in case of signal loss.
So, if you are unlucky and your drone is losing the signal it has a high chance of crashing it.
Under this topic, I will mention range extension possibilities based only on signal boosting.
Using both parabolic and Yagi Uda solutions to increase the range of your FPV drones are the cheapest and smartest ways to avoid weak signals.
DIY drone range extender
The first questions you might ask is: does it worth doing it myself?
Would these range extenders work properly?
Aftermarket signal boosters are not expensive at all.
Buying one for your $400 drone with $8 – $14 is almost nothing. I think they are the best solution.
Doing one for yourself won’t have the same effect and probably the design of it will be way behind these.
But if you want to have fun with a little DIY project, these can be a good solution for you.
A homemade drone range extender can be made for free.
In almost every household you will find every material for it, so you can start making one for yourself right away.
The basic materials you will need are:
- Cardboard paper
- Aluminum foil
In the following YouTube tutorial video, you can see how can you make a signal booster compatible with the majority of DJI drones.
Do you know why are the drones so expensive? Find out the reasons!
If you are using them properly they can focus the signals emitted by your controller.
Using additional antennas might be the best solution to increase the range of the signals. Both parabolic and Yagi Uda antennas are very useful.
Even homemade signal boosters can be useful if they are prepared and put into action in a proper way.