RF interference is a big and growing issue with drones. Since we have so many RF devices onboard -- RC, telemetry, wireless video, GPS, to say nothings of accidental RF radiators such PCBs and wiring -- avoiding interference has become something of a necessary black art. The RF Explorer can help. It's open source hardware available from Seeed Studios for as little as $99. 

They have a good interview with the creator, Ariel Rocholl, here. Some excerpts:

Interestingly, RF Explorer was born as a diagnose tool for Radio Control airplane pilots. Since a few years now, the RC world is on a big revolution due to all the improvements done in drones, FPV, 2.4GHz spectrum radio link, video links, etc. There is plenty of technology there, in some cases really outstanding achievements.

But something was missing: there were simply no way for a pilot that put $2000 equipment on an RC plane to observe the RF spectrum and detect potential collisions or interferences, most just flied the plane till it started to get control or video link problems, in the hope that not being too late or too far to get it back under control. RF Explorer changed that for good: most pilots just do a careful inspection of the spectrum on different frequencies at the flying field now, as well as the internal plane setup, to proactively detect problems before they put in risk the expensive equipment on board. In many cases, RF Explorer helped to finetune the internal plane in a way that electronics radiate less interference and so the plane get farther distances safer.

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Comment by Bertrand Duchiron on August 6, 2012 at 8:59am

Got one 2,4ghz (with the sub1g module - 240-960Mhz).  The RF generator is one the tools I use the most. A really nice tools I always carry at the field.

Comment by Gerry Mostert on August 6, 2012 at 10:01am

Now, if this was $10, it would be a useful tool!

Comment by Sgt Ric on August 6, 2012 at 10:09am
@Gerry Mostert,
Ridiculous comment.
This compares with scanners in the thousands of $$.

Comment by Mark Harrison on August 6, 2012 at 2:32pm

These things are great.

I was having problems binding my Ladybird :-( :-( :-(, and was immediately able to eliminate the transmitter as the problem just by looking at its tell-tale RF signature.

I was also able to track down some wifi interference at my house by attaching my directional patch antenna that I use with my FrSky module.

Ariel is a great guy too.  He's super-active on rcgroups, and most questions get answered right away.

Comment by Sandro Benigno on August 6, 2012 at 3:27pm

I have one of those nice tools. And I LOVE it! It's small, easy to use and cheap.
It's even more exciting when connected to a PC. The GUI is awesome and you can easily zooming and take screenshots.

Here you can see two scans: before and after turning on a 3DR Radio 900Mhz:

Comment by Gerry Mostert on August 7, 2012 at 6:59am

@Sgt Ric

Not such a ridiculous comment if you take our currency exchange rate in consideration.

In my money this is the equivalent of $830 USD

Comment by Sgt Ric on August 7, 2012 at 8:16am

Really, how much for a Big Mac?


Comment by Gerry Mostert on August 7, 2012 at 8:26am

Whatever a Big Mac costs in the USA x 8.3


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