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So I got a bogus patch antenna

#1
Don't buy one that looks like this: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07C1611SY

I bought it because it shipped from the Amazon warehouse instead of the slow boat. See the three holes? It's supposed to look like this: https://aerialpixels.com/5-8ghz-high-gain-14dbi-fpv-flat-panel-antenna/ but the directing elements were never installed, and some of the traces are improperly etched. It must be some scrap from a factory floor that someone decided to sell.

After getting poor performance in the field, I twisted it around on the bench and found its radiation pattern is blown all over the place, not even symmetrical, and the side lobes are larger than the main. This junk is going back to Amazon.
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#2
Check out the VAS Crosshair. Slightly lower gain, much wider beam and it's circularly polarized. More expensive for sure, but you don't crash your goggles :)
 
#3
The crosshairs almost look like one to build as a ham, but measurements are so critical at 5.8 and I don't have an antenna analyzer... makes more sense to just buy one.

I was also considering a triple-feed patch as they appear to be delivering proven performance by the same designer as the Pagodas. I'm really happy with the Pagodas actually, considering that the one I was using was the only functioning antenna on my goggles, and it worked well out to 500m.

Recommended Canadian supplier for small items like this? Small item shipping is so stupid in this country... $15-20 for an item that's worth $15-20
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#4
The crosshairs almost look like one to build as a ham, but measurements are so critical at 5.8 and I don't have an antenna analyzer... makes more sense to just buy one.

I was also considering a triple-feed patch as they appear to be delivering proven performance by the same designer as the Pagodas. I'm really happy with the Pagodas actually, considering that the one I was using was the only functioning antenna on my goggles, and it worked well out to 500m.

Recommended Canadian supplier for small items like this? Small item shipping is so stupid in this country... $15-20 for an item that's worth $15-20
Unfortunately the only way I've found to get deals on shipping is to order from China and wait, or order enough stuff to get free shipping from Canadian places... Which not everyone offers. The TBS store carries VAS stuff and ships from China, that's where I got my Crosshair. It's worth the wait IMO, I got over 5km from mine running 600mW on a wing.
 
#5
It gets annoying how so many items are carried by this shop and not that one! I was hoping to pick up some more 900MHz R9 receivers, but TBS sells their competing Crossfire system, so obviously they don't have it. Banggood and HK have R9 receivers, but no crosshair antennas...

Looks like I will be going with HK and a triple feed patch, they are 9dBi and hard for anyone to mess up the manufacturing on. A little annoying that they were designed to require a 50 ohm SMA terminator that nobody seems to want to throw in with them!
 
#7
I've bought from Rotogeeks before and actually checked them first, but I missed that one among all the patch antennas. A bit pricey but as you say, the goggles and antennas don't tend to bounce off the ground very often. They are $15 to ship anything, but at least it will be here before the end of the winter!

Edit: If mounted directly, these crosshair antennas would shoot the beam straight into the sky the way my goggles are built. Would you recommend installing this on a 90 degree adapter, or should I go for a 45? I likely will be flying pretty low, as I usually fly off a hilltop and look down into the valley.
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#8
I've used RG a bunch, they're a solid company. For awhile they were the only place in Canada that carried a decent variety of multirotor props. I've ordered a buch from China as well, at least on banggood the express shipping is pretty cheap if you order a decent amount. Still takes a week and a half or so, but it's cheaper than the slowboat HK shipping.

I'm a VE6, where are you?
 
#9
Yep, I bought my Taranis X9D+ SE from them, as well as my R9 RX/TX, and it came out cheaper than ordering it from overseas. And it was actually in stock, too. The only thing that sucks with them is the pretty much $15 minimum shipping and the fact that they rarely have all the parts I want in stock at the same time.

If you know anyone looking for an R9 module they are on RG for 40 bucks right now, crazy cheap. If only the RXs were on sale too.

I also prefer BG to HK, even their slow shipping isn't that bad and there is a ton of stuff available. I bought my Pixhawk clone from them back when a real Pixhawk was worth a fortune... and it's worked great for years. I'm considering some of their knockoff $10 FrSky RXs for FT foamies.

I'm on my third callsign now, I'm a VA5. I'm settled in now here and I finally put a tower up a couple weeks ago. Mainly for cell data, but I'm sure I will slap on a few extra antennae by the end of the summer. Right now just 2m APRS. You might even be able to catch my WX station on 2m if the propagation is good... I was seeing stations up by Fort Mac awhile ago.
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#10
I'm on my third callsign now, I'm a VA5. I'm settled in now here and I finally put a tower up a couple weeks ago. Mainly for cell data, but I'm sure I will slap on a few extra antennae by the end of the summer. Right now just 2m APRS. You might even be able to catch my WX station on 2m if the propagation is good... I was seeing stations up by Fort Mac awhile ago.
Unfortunately the only HAM gear I have apart from my FPV goodies is a cheap HT which lets me listen to one unused local repeater. I may get more into it this summer, but gear is expensive... Too many hobbies ;)
 
#11
Yeah I know what you mean, gear is expensive and traditional ham radio is fading away - as your local repeater is. I think the future of amateur radio will be tightly intertwined with RC and FPV, and other forms of data links.

A couple ways to have some cheap radio fun though:

- RTL-SDR will get you into software defined radio. The receive-only dongles are worth like $10 now, can receive from the AM bands up to a couple GHz, and with an upconverter can tune down into the HF bands. You can spend a lot of time playing around watching the waterfall and receiving things, like weather satellite transmissions, or the transponders on aircraft. It also makes a better FM radio tuner than just about any hardware device I own.
- A very exciting development in the SDR world is the osmo-fl2k project. It uses VGA dongles to build a cheap SDR transmitter, opening up the possibility of building a true all-band transceiver for under $50. I don't have one yet but I plan to try it out. You will need an appropriate power amp and filters for the bands you want to transmit on. These are now pretty cheap to build as well, but keep power levels low and watch you don't make something that interferes with everyone.
- QRP labs makes affordable, low power kits, and they are coming out with a 10-band standalone HF transceiver, the QSX, that operates voice and digital modes, target price is $150. This would be great for SOTA, which is an increasingly popular activity where you climb mountains and then try to contact people from the summits.
- Build a TNC out of an arduino clone and a couple resistors, and hook it to your cheap HT. Send and receive some APRS packets. The APRS network, though a terribly slow relic, has a wide reach. APRS is more than position tracking, it also has some hidden capabilities many don't know, like directed routing, messaging between stations, and being able to send SMS and email through gateways. With the right path, you may be able to get a packet across the country with your 5W HT.


Of course if you are like me you barely have time for any of this with your other hobbies! It's so cold today that I'm just cleaning up my indoor workshop. Junk everywhere.
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#12
Guess I'm not the only one living in a deep freeze today, my poor furnace can't keep up :(

There are some interesting projects on the didgital side I wasn't aware of, the Arduino TNC in particular looks promising as I already have most of the stuff to put one together. Thanks for the links :)