Getting a Drone for Antenna Work

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KC0KEK, Sep 14, 2017.

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  1. KE0ZU

    KE0ZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you want to get wires up into trees, this is the way to do it. I loaned this to Bob Heil at the Joplin MO hamfest last year to put up a couple wires in his trees, He put a 5 minute spot on his Ham Nation #263, about 21 minutes in, take a look

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
    K7WFM and W7JZE like this.
  2. K4YWZ

    K4YWZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The dog trainer in your picture works great, Mike! I saw that spot on the Ham Nation video last year and immediately ordered one. I've used it to put up two wire antennas.

    Alas, it still suffers from the shot-to-shot variability that virtually all projectile systems do. The weight of the projectile (I'm still using the florescent-orange, cloth dog trainer "ball"), combined with how you've laid out your string (and the ensuing resistance), combined with the differing .22 shell power levels, combined with the very approximate aiming all intersect to make it a multiple-shot-until-you-get-it device. But it's highly entertaining and eventually gets the job done.

    Conceptually, a drone (a larger one with a reasonable amount of lift, not the tiny toy the OP linked to) should allow for a far more precise placement of a string, at much higher distances, and in some complex scenarios where "throwing a weight" just doesn't do so well. I've had a DJI Mavic Pro for several months (purchased for photography, not ham radio) and at some point I'll give that a go at lifting a string.

    In the meantime, I'd love to hear from anyone who might have already tried it.
  3. K6LPM

    K6LPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have had mixed results using small basic toy "drone" (the proper name is "multirotor") .
    The aircraft I used is an inexpensive model made by Traxxis and is called the Alias.
    Its very easy to fly and can actually lift a light length of light leader pull string over a limb. My biggest problem is getting it down the other side of the tree with enough length of string to hand pull the leader through the tree. My best results was to actually purposefully crash land it once it is up and over far enough the other side of the tree. I have several other much larger multirotors including a heavy lift hexacopter but its just too risky an operation for me to attempt with the larger more expensive machines. I am a pretty decent RC pilot with experience flying RC helicopters all the way back to the 1980s . I might be a bit more conservative.....
    Someone mentioned using their DJI
    I am too chicken to worry a out crashing and breaking things that expensive or actually getting it stuck way up in a tree. If you were to build a string release it probably work much better and less risky!
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  4. K4YWZ

    K4YWZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Did you reach a point where the drag/weight on the lifted string began to approach the drone's lift capacity? If not, I'd have thought that you could simply lay out however much line was necessary to apex the tree and come down the other side...

    My thought was to craft some sort of stand-off on the rotor's fuselage (so the line wouldn't foul in the rotor blades when descending on the far side of the tree), and use very light monofilament fishing line (probably released via a spin or spin-casting fishing rod/reel, to avoid ground-snags). Then, assuming you could successfully place the fishing line over the tree, use that to pull up a heavier-weight string, and then finally your wire.
  5. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    using a drone for this purpose would be very tough for someone inexperienced flying drones and / or using a cheap drone. They're not easy to fly.
  6. K6LPM

    K6LPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes that Drone is just a tad bit underpowered in that situation and is part of the problem. I think if you had a string with a decent weight attached to the end of it and could drop it from a servo release mechanism would be the ultimate way to go with any rotor craft. But regardless, having a line that is attached or dragging across a tree limb makes for difficult landing once you your altitude is below the placement of where you want the string to cross over the branch.
  7. K6LPM

    K6LPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My best attempts were to fly two to three times higher than the tree and once i crossed up and over to just deadstick and drop on the other side. You can pretty much do the same thing with a projectile.
  8. KE0ZU

    KE0ZU Ham Member QRZ Page


    I had similar inaccurate results until I removed the big muff, and modified the projectile as shown. With the "load" of the string centered axially, it became much more accurate and, due to the reduced size and drag, goes considerably higher.


    The heavy copper wire and epoxy replace the weight of the muff.

    The charge of the propellant should be quite consistant as the shells are manufactured by Remington arms I believe, and consistancy of powder charge is paramount for fire arms accuracy.

  9. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not to hijack the thread, but, Mike...

    What did you use for the epoxy to affix the copper wiring? I think I used tape and it failed. Also, would you recommend making the trailing loop out of the same copper wire? The thought is that if you had a long piece of wire, and the center of it formed the loop while the rest wound on the shaft to add weight...would that work? (or would the wire be too flexible?)

    I had used a separate stiff wire for a loop and it was ok, but as the tape/weight came undone, it seemed that maybe making them one single piece might help with both functions.
  10. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

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