Super Simple, Super Cheap FPV Drone Tracking

What’s more disruptive to the drone first-person view (FPV) experience than dropouts in your video feed when you’re in the middle of a race? Probably nothing, and there’s probably also not much you can do about it. Or is there? Might a simple tracker based on RSSI help keep your video signal locked in?

Honestly, we’re not sure it would, but we think it’s pretty nifty to see [FlyerFpv]’s tracker following his drone around. The idea is simple and uses the full-diversity FPV receiver he already has. Diversity receivers constantly monitor signal strength from multiple antennas to determine which one to listen to, which improves reception quality. [FlyerFpv] sends the RSSI outputs to analog inputs on an Arduino which drives a servo to keep the signals as close to each other as possible. The Arduino and the DC-DC converter needed to power it fit nicely inside the receiver case with no modifications, which is a nice touch. With a 3D-printed servo mount and some fancy directional antennas, the setup keeps pretty good track of his drone now. See it in action below.

Sure, the response could be snappier, and we’d love to see another receiver and servo added to track pitch as well as yaw. For a first pass, we think it’s great, but [FlyerFpv] should enjoy it while he can in case AI takes over our flying fun soon.

20 thoughts on “Super Simple, Super Cheap FPV Drone Tracking

        1. Okay I’ll bite…

          You are a first class idiot.

          Firstly Planes and quads get lost due to them hitting trees all the time, assuming it lands in one piece you’ll be still hoping you can recover it.

          Also, if you’ve ever piloted these things you’d know that distractions occur all the time and taking your eyes off a remotely controlled device for even a moment can have it happily wander half a mile down range after a gust of wind moves it out of the flight path you expect.

          As for distractions they can be anything from adjusting your eyewear, a dog running up to you, or a member of the public asking you the same questions. Even sunglare from a window in the distance can be that momentary distraction that you lose track.

        2. Well the FlyerFpv is from Finland as am I also. In the video he has a spotter (requred by Finnish law) so there’s nothing wrong with this. The spotter said in video he can barely see the quad but he still sees it.

          1. It’s also quite easy to have permission to fly BVLOS. Phone to nearest ATC and/or filing a form for air space reservation about two weeks before the flying. Longest allowed BVLOS flight I have been participated was about 5km.

            We have quite drone friendly regulation in Finland for now, until the new stricter regulations by EU’s ruling start 2019.

  1. I’m probably totally off the mark, but couldn’t he just add one servo to constantly rotate the antennas between horizontal and vertical (to measure inclination) and a second servo to actually move the rig up and down.

    1. Hay agioj

      Hi there. You got me thinking.
      There are so many things that we all do that is illegal every day.
      Some simple ones that kill to start. – Jay walking, going over the speed limit, Not doing a proper stop at a stop sine.
      It just keeps on going. Do you chew gum? Do you spit it out onto the ground? And even spitting is illegal in some places.

      OK I shut up now.
      Still I like this project. Good job.. Again

  2. I like the idea of using RSSI for tracking, but what if you sent the GPS coordinates from the drone back to the antenna tracker and compared it to the GPS location of the antenna tracker and used math to determine where to point azimuth and elevation? (I don’t fly drones so I don’t know if there is a product already out there that does this)

  3. Doesn’t need to track faster, if the angular velocity is high, the drone is close so you need not point the antenna. Similar with pitch, if you need to pitch up, the drone is close. (Unless you’re flying from/to a mountain.)

  4. In response to Agoij’s winning about upholding the laws that are made law…..
    If I knew what country you live in, I would report you and your family to the local authorities for breaking the laws daily when you drive your cars I’m sure that you’re the Holy Grail of law-abiding citizen and or more likely if you drive like the gooks to around here you’re a hazard to everyone on the highway and Brake loss constantly in the process of operating a motor vehicle. All mightier than thou why don’t you get a life stop talking out your ass

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