Xbee Pro long range made affordable until end of February 2009

Looking for telemetry transmission hardware, I came across following offer made by Digi (ex-MaxStream):

XBee-PRO 868 OEM Development Kit w/ 2 XBee-PRO modules

Apparently, the kit is available for a promotional price of only 99 USD until end of February 2009.

The package contains following:
(1) XBee-PRO 868 w/ RPSMA Connector
(1) XBee-PRO 868 w/ Wire Whip antenna
(1) RS-232 Development Boards
(1) USB Development Board
(1) RS-232 serial Cable
(1) USB Cable
(1) 868 MHz RPSMA Antenna
(1) Power Adapter
(1) 9V Battery & Clip
Various Adapters

This 868 MHz short range device has software selectable transmission power (1 mW (0 dBm) to 315 mW (+25 dBm)).
RF data rate is 24 Kbps (10% of duty cycle).
Incredible Outdoor/RF Line-of-Sight Range up to 25 miles (40 km) with dipole antenna.
Serial data rate of 1.2 Kbps to 230.4 Kbps.
It needs 3.0 – 3.6 VDC power supply and transmitter burns 500 mA typical at 3.3V (800 mA max), receiver only 65 mA typical.

Apparently, for the moment it is ETSI approved for Europe (without special license), but no FCC approval yet for the US.

I think of it as a must have... Can't wait for the Swiss reseller to send me my quote to confirm my order.

More infos on Digi web site.

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Ordered mine last week - a real steal...
Like the site says: "XBee-PRO 868 modules are long range embedded RF modules for European applications. " But I have been planning on getting myself one of the kits since I am in europe and will use the TechFX OSD which has support for an XBee module and moving map plus payload servo control over XBee >:)
These are available for US they are just called the xbee pro xsc. I actually have dev kit sitting on my desk

@danstah: different modules, not the ones we are talking about here. The XSC is 900mhz, we are talking about 868mhz - different parts, and the XSC has shorter range - 15 vs 25 miles max.
Probably wouldn't get along with 900mhz video without a bit of tinkering with TX and antenna placement, etc. (?)

Any thoughts, anyone?
I think that the XBee-PRO 868 is mainly an advantage for the people who stick to 2.4GHz for their video transmission or their new RC Tx/Rx equipment.
But with such fast data rates, I think also that the remote control part of the plane could use Xbee up channel instead of RC frequency bands. Has anybody done Xbee direct control transmission to a plane yet? I would be much interested to have some tips.
The only one implementations I know of are the DMD LRS radio system but this is prolly not XBee (dmd.es) and the TechFX Motion OSD from thesiliconhorizon.com. I have ordered one and it is in transit, I cannot wait to start testing it with XBee 868 to see if I can eliminate the RC TX from the equation other than as a failsafe.
TechFX supports 8 channels servo control plus telemetry back over the XBee so I have been thinking of throwing together some c# to control them via USB joystick(predator style gas handle and joystick >:)). This would leave me using only 2.4GHz for video and 868mhz for control, gps data and telemetry.
Plus I believe you can also sense link quality on the XBee so the controller can sense when out of range and activate failsafe procedure (gain alt - return towards home)
That's exactly the kind of thing I thought about. It would be nice if you could share your experience here as you go along with this. As to your joystick setup, I have to say that I'd prefer sticking to the RC Tx style hardware (linked Futaba transmitter) or at least a USB simulation RC "transmitter". I think RC reflexes are biologically anchored in brain and fingers... And when flying, I somehow prefer too stand than sit in the field! But that's personal taste, of course.
I just ordered my development kit from Digi Europe for 89 EUR + 10 EUR shipping and 7 EUR taxes.
4-6 weeks for delivery: long waiting ahead, but I am sure it's going to be worth it !!!
I'll keep you informed as soon as I get a hand at it.
R u in the US or europe or where?
I'm also gonna order my dev kit soon (before the end of the offer).
About the control HW for GCS, I am used to the 2 stick flying also standing up, but I want to get a bit of a different feel for when I control the UAV I am building. More a bit predator style ;-) but my main UAV will also not be lacking much in terms of capabilities, 3 cameras, IMU guidance and flexible payload config (anything which can be triggered by switches).
I'll be using Saitek X45 USB controls to fly it I think, a work colleague offered them to me for free :)).
I'm in Switzerland.
Cool sticks, the X45. Are you going to build your cockpit in a van or just take everything out in the field?
I'll be taking the stuff out in the field, I'm going to try to build it into 2 aluminium suitcase type things :)
A van would of course be handier but its not something I have access to, I drive a new beetle which does not exctly have enough space for a GCS inside it :).
I will have 2 laptops for this, one in each suitcase, one will handle the control and telemetry with the XBee modem, the other will display the FPV video from the selected camera with OSD and also record it.

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