I have just joined this group and so I may be repeating a topic that has already been handled.
I am the communications manager for a search and rescue group here in Arizona. Due to the mountainous terrain that we work in, communication between the communication base and teams in the field, even with the use of a repeater, will result in lost contact.
I have been investigating tethered aerostats to carry the repeaters that we need to function properly, and although what I need is available, it is quite expensive. That brings me to the use of a UAV. I want to lift three small 5 W radios, two of which are connected through a controller to operate as a repeater for voice communication and a third radio to operate is a digital repeater for our APRS system. This combination weighs about 3 pounds.
I doubt that I would need to operate above 500 feet and I am concerned about search helicopters working the area.
I was wondering about the size of the UAV I would need keeping in mind that the amount of time can go on for hours or days which would require at least two UAVs swapping them out at scheduled times.
Has anyone had any experience doing this?