Telemetry/Mavlink range?

I flew a longer auto mission yesterday at a friend's farm and my Galaxy S3 running Tower lost the Mavlink connection around waypoint 5 or so.  I know that link isn't required for Iris to continue on mission but when it quit reporting its waypoints I engaged RTL on the FrSky controller.  She came home pefectly, of course but there was a short time when that was still in question.  One thing... we were sitting on an outside porch that had a roof and that probably attenuated the signals somewhat.  But I was just wondering what kind of range you guys are seeing on Mavlink?

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  • How far were you from your ground station location to the Iris? In clear field space, I've been able to get about 1000 meters LOS to a signal strength shown on the Tower app or the RC unit of roughly 8%. [using the standard 3DR radio sets] Started getting dropouts and it was damn hard to see the Iris.  Like you, I commanded RTL on the RC transmitter...but on a similar flight, I also commanded RTL through Tower...worked ok, but I was at a signal strength of 12%.  I do not know what the % represents though.

    Normally, I'm flying with a LOT of trees around, some between me and the Iris. That vegetation really can attenuate the signal. Effectively, the range of the Iris tlm link in my experience is about 500-800 yards with normal clutter.

    I like to tape my 3DR TLM radio to a plastic stick on the top of my Outback's roof rack...I have a very long USB cable from a Kindle I use attached to the OTG cable that works with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. If I'm using Mission Planner, or my other Android tablet with full size USB, I don't need the extra adapter OTG cable etc....

    Can you share the mission from Drone Share? (the auto-upload to your library from Tower) - here's my flyaway...

    • Not exactly sure how far away she was...  that is yet another thing I'd like to see in MP or Tower where it would list the waypoints' distances from home so you could easily see if your mission was going to bust the geofence.  They could even implement a popup for when you create a waypoint outside the geofence.

      We also had a metal roof on the patio so that probably didn't help.  But takeoff from the hot tub conected to the patio was pretty cool.  I did not allow RTL to try that landing automatically since it was only a few feet from the roof.

    • I have threaded the needle on landings to within less than a foot from takeoff point.....I even demo'd a takeoff from the carrying box (on the beach) and landed the sucker back on the box 5 min later....automatically from the mission in Tower ... but we all get lucky once.,,,my hands were on the sticks ready to move the Iris as needed.

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