I'm looking for some RC equipment for my next UAV. My question is what kind of range will I get out of a basic $100 2.4Ghz system? The Xbee modules work up to 6 miles. Can I get that kind of range with an amplifier or some other solution? Or could I control my plane with the Xbee's?

I appreciate everyone's support!

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The Xbee modules work up to 6 miles. ?

Their output's is not so high , i think their range is smaller then 6 miles ?
No Xbees won't operate out to 6 miles, its illegal anyhow. Your RC will probably not work much beyond 500m either.
For my long range 2-way serial system I used some 433mhz radio modems. Operation is the same as with Xbee's giving your a two-way serial communications pipe over radio. But range is much better.
link: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/long-range-rc-control-and
You can use http://store.diydrones.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=WI-AMP-24...

without any modification to your 2.4ghz RC system.
The FrSky modules have been tested out to about 5km LoS. There are many variables however; your question is too vague for a simple answer.
hi folkz

you can use the XBEEs in both variants: 2G4 for testing RC-like "in sight" and the longrange 900 or 868XBEE for telemetry and waypointsetting.. works for me up to 5mi but some nasty 10% dutycycle...

or control when in sight the UAV with classic RCgear or 2G4 XBEE and communicate with a GSMmodem on mission. you can live-track with leonardo, send MMS and SMStelemetry. for me the best way of longrange-UAV. but beware of the LAG ;-) and use a data-flatrate on your mobile!!!
my futaba 6ex has been out to 1.75 miles easy

I have had a 1000 meters with good signal strength with 2.4Ghz 60 mW Xbees with my tricopter, all crashes were pilot error not the controller

Kiwi Tricopter: Arduino Xbee Receiver

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