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?

Views: 1565

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hello, I am a ham and have also thought about this application.

Flight time for multi-rotors is too short...maybe 10 minutes max at the combined weight of aircraft and payload.

Fixed wing would really need much space but could loft the payload for longer times.. especially if you are using an internal combustion engine.

I have not run any numbers but for duration, liquid fuel is the way to go, so far.


Yeah, I think the kite balloon is the only answer. Flight time seems to be the problem. It would be a good short term solution but as we work fires as well, a week is probably the norm.

Thanks for the reply!



Hmm, you might want to look into a blimp for that. You could also use a powered glider as well. If you get one with a 3 - 4 meter wingspan, you could stay up for 3 - 4 or 6 hours at a time and use an autopilot to keep them circling autonomously, or follow and circle you.

The frame selection is the potentially hard part, if, you are not too familiar with glider styled frames and their payload abilities.

Yes. I am in contact with a company that deals with aerostats for the military. They gain lift with wind. They are expensive and we would need a grant to afford that. Not easy to get.

I was looking for a simpler method.


Don't know which budget limit you are operating within but I think the Mugin 3 meter UAV would suit your need.

Pretty big bird with two stroke petrol engine (included). It has 3 big compartments in the fuselage so it has a lot of space for fuel and equipment.

Put a autopilot in, RC control, radios and as much fuels as possible. Saw a guy on youtube reviewing it. As far as I remember he said it could carry enough fuel to fly for hours.


Reply to Discussion


© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service