5.8 GHz Antenna Tracker for Ardupilot

Rusty Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:16

What is an antenna tracker?

In a very basic form, an antenna tracker is a device that will aim an antenna at a moving object to allow for the best received radio signal from the object. I am sure everyone know what they look like on a very large scale, but if you haven't, they look something  like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or something that may look a little more familiar for FPV pilots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While both of these are way larger than we can use, it shows what form a tracker could take. Both antenna designs could be used for FPV, just on a much smaller scale. In fact, the helical antennas shown in the second picture are routinely used for 5.8 GHz video reception. A perfect example is a 5 turn Helical antenna. While the ones for 5.8 GHz are much smaller, the principals are the same. Instead of radiating, or receiving, a RF signal from all directions, they both concentrate the RF signal into a smaller beam. And this narrow beam increases the signal strength of the recieved signal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Antenna Tracker for 5.8 GHZ video.

So what does an antenna tracker for 5.8 GHz look like? Well obviously it is not going to be as big as a deep space tracker, but it does share some common elements. Both will have a way to pan the antenna around the compass headings, and will also have a way to tilt the antenna up and down. Some call it pan and tilt, while others call it azimuth and elevation. Below are a few diferent designs. The first three are commercialy available, and the last is a 3D printed option.