A Practical APM Mobile Ground Control Station

In the last 4 years of being involved with UAVs I’ve always lacked a good ground station, one that’s practical and quick to deploy.


So I started drawing up a list of requirements. I had to draw the line somewhere, or the cost and weight would run away, so I ended up with a shortlist of key requirements that I need from a ground station. I had a look around and could not find a good fit – most of the pro systems are for non-APM auto pilots and they start at US$ 11 000 with very little standard features.


I decided to build my own and after 4 major revisions, I ended up with a prototype that’s been with us for more than a year, working reliably day in and day out, through dust and rain, extreme heat, cold and wet. It’s been a life saver with work and demonstrations and makes the tricky job of UAV operations that much simpler.

I highly recommend anyone in the business to take serious the setup of a practical ground station. For those who do not have the time or inclination to DIY (it does take a surprising amount of time to develop), we can offer “Field Ops”.


  • Internal lithium ion power pack capable of 8 hours’ continuous operation with peripherals
  • Embedded in a Pelican case – crush proof, water proof, dust proof – VERY tough
  • Thumbstick for controlling the aircraft or camera gimbals
  • Secure on-off switch with key to ensure no accidental switch-off
  • USB 3 Port
  • LAN Port
  • HDMI Output
  • Wifi & Buetooth (Embedded 4G optional)
  • Internal APM Telemetry 1/2 Watt radio (433, 868 or 915) or as required
  • Wireless keyboard
  • External DC (12-20v) or AC input with automatic charging of internal batteries
  • Stowage for RC control accommodating space for external transmitter modules at the back of the radio (e.g. Dragonlink on the back of a Taranis transmitter)
  • Intel i7 PC with SSD drive
  • Super bright 10” HD screen for PC (Mission Planner)
  • Super bright 7” FPV screen (Internal diversity 5.8ghz receivers, DVR, Aux Input via front console)
  • Tough ABS Plastic panelling

To order, please contact us on info@airsecure.co.za. Our web site is on http://airsecure.co.za. Cost ranges from US$4 500 - US$ 5 500 depending on options and building takes about 7 work days.

Also feel free to email us to discuss options or ask questions on how to DIY.

Views: 2657

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on April 18, 2016 at 12:24pm


A nice set of specs, but I built my portable GCS for around $1,000 USD and it has a 15 inch LCD screen. I believe that an I7 processor is a bit of overkill for a GCS.



Comment by Hein du Plessis on April 18, 2016 at 12:31pm

Thanks Thomas, the dual screens, IO ports, pelican case, lithium ion batteries, charging module, RFD900 etc quickly adds up, but it's worth it. The i7 is definitely optional, but it's vital when you've finished a mission and want to check that there is no gaps in the data using pix4d's validation step. It's torture to stay out in the sun for hours to run those checks... money well spent imo.

Of course everything is optional and we can remove components to suit individuals.

Comment by Guy Compton on April 18, 2016 at 1:24pm

Nice with the i7, that is valuable time saved when dealing with large amounts of data while onsite.

Comment by Emin Bu on April 29, 2016 at 2:27am

I have a windows/andr 10 inch tablet who do all this except extra screen for 200$....


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2020   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service