RFD900, RFD900+ - New long range radio modem

Hi All,

I would like to introduce you to a new radio modem that we developed for very long range datalinks!

http://rfdesign.com.au/RFD900.php

Some of the key features of the RFD900 are as follows:

  • Multi point and point to point link capability.
  • Long range >40km depending on antennas and GCS setup.
  • 2 x RP-SMA RF connectors, diversity switched.
  • 1 Watt (+30dBm) transmit power.
  • Transmit low pass filter.
  • > 20dB Low noise amplifier.
  • RX SAW filter.
  • Passive front end band pass filter.
  • Open source firmware / tools, field upgradeable, easy to configure.
  • Small (30 x 57 x 13 mm), light weight (14.5g).
  • Compatible with 3DR / Hope-RF radio modules.
  • License free use in Australia, Canada, USA, NZ.

 

These modems are designed to support long range applications, while being easy to use and affordable.  

These modems have been flying in various platforms and have demonstrated excellent performance in real applications. 

RFD900 modems are now available at: http://store.rfdesign.com.au

Support within APM planner and the radio configurator from Michael Oborne is already available.

It works seamlessly with APM planner, all radio Mavlink parameters are available.

Update, December 2014:  The RFD900+ with improved specifications is available now at:

http://store.rfdesign.com.au/rfd-900p-modem/

Seppo Saario

rfdesign.com.au

 

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Jamie, did you figure this out?  I'm also running MinimOSD and it works fine with the RFD900+.  You have to make a "Y" in the cable and send tx/rx wires to both the OSD and the RFD900.

Jeremy

Jamie Glover said:

Seppo, is there a wiring diagram for this, utilizing Minim OSD with it? Im still hunting, but it looks as though I can only use either telem or osd, not both at the same time.. but Im betting thats incorrect. Any ideas where to find a similar setup. Im not trying to fry anything.

 

Thanks

Jamie

PS, I did get the package. I had to track it in USPS after it got state side.

One thing I just noticed... both of my NODEIDs are set to 2.  Shouldn't one be NODEID=0 for the base node and one be NODEID=1 for the air side?  Could that be my problem?

Raph,

Wondering if this was ever narrowed down to a bad antenna or other source?  I'm having a very similar issue, see further down in this thread:

http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/rfd900-new-long-range-radio-modem...

Jeremy


Raph said:

Dear Seppo or anyone inclined to help,

I've been struggling with this problem for a few weeks now; I have run out of ideas and turn to you for help. 

Setup:
APM 2.6 + external compass/gps running plane 2.78b
-RFD 900 Telemetry Radios on both sides, running SiK 1.9. 3 DB antennas on the receiving side (tablet/PC size) and stock antennas on the plane.
-1.3ghz for video (800mw)
-ezuhf for control

I've checked the noise levels with all my gear turned on, and I get 20-30 noise readings on local & remote (with about 90-110 value for RSSI)

I cannot fly further than 150 meters without losing telemetry. I've tried changing my AIR_SPEED to 24 from 64, but does not help. I've also tried powering the local radio by USB and external BEC, same results. I have no issues with video or EZUHF; I can go as far as 35 minutes affords me without losing either.

I am using two antennas on both RFD900 radios. I see some people are only using one? I haven't tried single antenna.

Attached are pictures of the RSSI values, my configuration parameters & the plane layout. Any help, input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.




Thank you!
Raph

Ivan,

Did you ever find a solution to your range issues?  I'm having similar problems as seen in my post here.

Jeremy



Ivan R said:

all sudden my RFD900 range has been drastrically reduced to a few hundred meters and I cant figure out why? I tried resetting all parameters to default, reflashing the firmware, checking all connection and no luck....what would be some reasons for this?

Seppo, could I use this antenna on the RFD 900 and still get 20+ miles or would this antenna harm the unit running it a full power? Im looking for the sleek form factor.

https://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&...


How come you have ECC turn on ?

I would turn it off


Jeremy Stromsoe said:

Raph,

Wondering if this was ever narrowed down to a bad antenna or other source?  I'm having a very similar issue, see further down in this thread:

http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/rfd900-new-long-range-radio-modem...

Jeremy


Raph said:

Dear Seppo or anyone inclined to help,

I've been struggling with this problem for a few weeks now; I have run out of ideas and turn to you for help. 

Setup:
APM 2.6 + external compass/gps running plane 2.78b
-RFD 900 Telemetry Radios on both sides, running SiK 1.9. 3 DB antennas on the receiving side (tablet/PC size) and stock antennas on the plane.
-1.3ghz for video (800mw)
-ezuhf for control

I've checked the noise levels with all my gear turned on, and I get 20-30 noise readings on local & remote (with about 90-110 value for RSSI)

I cannot fly further than 150 meters without losing telemetry. I've tried changing my AIR_SPEED to 24 from 64, but does not help. I've also tried powering the local radio by USB and external BEC, same results. I have no issues with video or EZUHF; I can go as far as 35 minutes affords me without losing either.

I am using two antennas on both RFD900 radios. I see some people are only using one? I haven't tried single antenna.

Attached are pictures of the RSSI values, my configuration parameters & the plane layout. Any help, input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.




Thank you!
Raph


don't connect tx line out of the OSD  you only need TX into the OSD if you have 2 TX the controller will get confused in who it is talking to


Jeremy Stromsoe said:

Jamie, did you figure this out?  I'm also running MinimOSD and it works fine with the RFD900+.  You have to make a "Y" in the cable and send tx/rx wires to both the OSD and the RFD900.

Jeremy

Jamie Glover said:

Seppo, is there a wiring diagram for this, utilizing Minim OSD with it? Im still hunting, but it looks as though I can only use either telem or osd, not both at the same time.. but Im betting thats incorrect. Any ideas where to find a similar setup. Im not trying to fry anything.

 

Thanks

Jamie

PS, I did get the package. I had to track it in USPS after it got state side.

  1. The antenna you linked to does not specify whether it is SMA or RPSMA connector.  The RFD 900 requires RPSMA.
  2. That antenna is a simple monopole.  It typically needs a ground plane to work properly.  I doubt you will get anywhere near the range you're looking for.


Jamie Glover said:

Seppo, could I use this antenna on the RFD 900 and still get 20+ miles or would this antenna harm the unit running it a full power? Im looking for the sleek form factor.

https://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

Seppo,  

Any other suggestions to try?  Short of sending the units back and seeing if I have better luck with a replacement I'm running out of ideas.  One person asked why I have ECC on, to which I would say because I like when packets are corrupted that they might be recovered :).  It also states in the data sheet that this is the default and should be on after a specific code version.  Again, thanks for all your help, let me know if there is a bit more fine level tuning/troubleshooting I can try.  

Jeremy 

ECC

As I recall ECC has been a bug on all the RFD900 radios. It causes all kinds of random problems and should never be used.

Maybe that's fixed with the V2.x firmware. I run 2.6 but have never tried ECC.

.

Jeremy,

Yes try turning ECC off. In the new version of board I believe we recommend not using that.

You could also try changing number of channels to 20. 50 won't fit in spectrum without overlap, but will probably work anyway. 

The most stable version was V1.9 for the 900+ , other versions weren't very stable. Try going to V1.9.

Kent


Jeremy Stromsoe said:

Seppo,  

Any other suggestions to try?  Short of sending the units back and seeing if I have better luck with a replacement I'm running out of ideas.  One person asked why I have ECC on, to which I would say because I like when packets are corrupted that they might be recovered :).  It also states in the data sheet that this is the default and should be on after a specific code version.  Again, thanks for all your help, let me know if there is a bit more fine level tuning/troubleshooting I can try.  

Jeremy 

Kent, Thanks for the suggestion!  I'll try with and without ECC and reducing the number of channels.

For anyone else also struggling with range issues, here's another (perhaps helpful) discussion from a successful balloon test where Tridge expressly recommends that ECC be turned on to increase range by fixing corrupted packets.  In their specific case it could have increased the range by 50%.  It also had a couple other things I want to try, like reducing the Air Rate (mine is currenlty 64kbps).  I'm also going to try simply using their exact firmware, SiK 1.5.  I think if I can setup my radios literally the same as this test and still have range issues, it limits the problem to hardware (either antenna or radio). 

Let me know if replicating the test in the post below seem like a bad idea for some reason (maybe some bugs were found in SiK 1.5.)

http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/9xtend-vs-rfd900-radio-high-alt...

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