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First Range Test with my Spark
3572 16 2018-1-29
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Kevin79
Second Officer
Flight distance : 270899 ft
United States
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After having my Spark for a few weeks now, I decided I really wanted to see what its capabilities were. Yesterday I conducted my first Range test to take my Spark further than its ever gone before.

Results: Loss of connection at 2303.8 feet (approximately .44 miles or .71 km)

Safety Precautions: Flight path was planned over an unpopulated area with no buildings or road ways. A spotter was in place just under 1 mile out along the flight path although the Spark never made it that far.

Other notes of interest:

Home point was recorded with 14 satellite at launch, I got up to 19 during the flight.

Altitude was just above 250 feet for the duration of the flight. I’m sure if I flew a little lower I probably could have gotten more distance.

I flew in sports mode just under full throttle. Speed was maintained at about 25 mph.

Video feed on my IPhone 6 was clear until connection lost.

Getting the connection lost message and having the screen go to gray is just about the scariest thing I have ever experienced!

RTH kicked in within seconds and connection restored. Spark began high tailing it home even with plenty of battery left. I let fly about a hundred or so feet to ensure the connection was stable and then canceled the RTH and flew back manually.

All in all I must say not sure I’ll be pushing the limits again anytime soon haha, but I did think I’d get a little more distance out of the little guy. Maybe the higher altitude and the speed of being in sports mode added to the connection being lost a little sooner than expected? Anyone else have experienced with Range tests on the Spark?
2018-1-29
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eYeSkYeYe
First Officer

Croatia
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Safer and legal way of testing the range is to not fly but actually carry Spark away from RC.
I had my friends drive Spark on bike and range where it was still responding to commands and video feed active was well beyond 2km (If I recall correctly 2300ish meters).
2018-1-29
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Mark Blaide
lvl.4
Flight distance : 246014 ft
United States
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Good info to have. Glad you got her back as planned. I don't think I've even been 500 feet away with my Spark, yet I still have a ton of fun with it!
2018-1-29
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Grmachine
lvl.4
United States
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Since I haven’t had what I consider good weather for flying yet, I am really curious, about how far away someone with 20/20 vision, can still see the little thing.
Even if it’s just a tiny speck, technically you still have VLOS right?
2018-1-29
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Gunship9
Second Officer
United States
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Seems a good range for shots of things in vlos of the operator.  

Range depends on signal environment.  What did your frequency analyser show was happening on the channel the Spark was using?  What was the antenna orientation you used?  On the moon it would have a reliable signal much further out.
2018-1-29
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Kevin79
Second Officer
Flight distance : 270899 ft
United States
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eYeSkYeYe Posted at 2018-1-29 10:48
Safer and legal way of testing the range is to not fly but actually carry Spark away from RC.
I had my friends drive Spark on bike and range where it was still responding to commands and video feed active was well beyond 2km (If I recall correctly 2300ish meters).

didn't think about that. I wonder what, if any difference being on the ground would make as opposed to the drone flying in the air. If anything, I would think the signal would be stronger at longer distances if the drone was airborne as opposed to being low to the ground
2018-1-29
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Kevin79
Second Officer
Flight distance : 270899 ft
United States
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Gunship9 Posted at 2018-1-29 11:26
Seems a good range for shots of things in vlos of the operator.  

Range depends on signal environment.  What did your frequency analyser show was happening on the channel the Spark was using?  What was the antenna orientation you used?  On the moon it would have a reliable signal much further out.

Antenna's at 45 degree angles. Didn't even look at the wifi interference. Where I was at, I doubt there would have been much.
2018-1-29
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Todd in Chicago
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Flight distance : 513757 ft
United States
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eYeSkYeYe Posted at 2018-1-29 10:48
Safer and legal way of testing the range is to not fly but actually carry Spark away from RC.
I had my friends drive Spark on bike and range where it was still responding to commands and video feed active was well beyond 2km (If I recall correctly 2300ish meters).

Ha!  What a clever idea!

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
2018-1-29
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Todd in Chicago
lvl.4
Flight distance : 513757 ft
United States
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Grmachine Posted at 2018-1-29 11:25
Since I haven’t had what I consider good weather for flying yet, I am really curious, about how far away someone with 20/20 vision, can still see the little thing.
Even if it’s just a tiny speck, technically you still have VLOS right?

I conducted a test with my P4P the other day.

In very cloudy conditions, at about 1,000 feet I could still spot the aircraft, however once I looked down at my screen and then back up again....I don't think I was able to find it.

The P4P is quite a bit larger than Sparky.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
2018-1-29
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Todd in Chicago
lvl.4
Flight distance : 513757 ft
United States
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Using the $12 parabolic range extenders, and carefully controlled conditions, I had a range test of 1.5 miles with my Spark, of which probably 80% was over an empty lake.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
2018-1-29
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Strobing_NYC_Spark
lvl.4
Flight distance : 3866470 ft
United States
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3,683 feet over hilly terrian and trees is my average
2018-1-29
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eYeSkYeYe
First Officer

United States
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Todd in Chicago Posted at 2018-1-29 17:10
Ha!  What a clever idea!

Cheers...

Yeah... sometimes there are moments of enlightenment in my head.
2018-1-30
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eYeSkYeYe
First Officer

United States
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Kevin79 Posted at 2018-1-29 16:58
didn't think about that. I wonder what, if any difference being on the ground would make as opposed to the drone flying in the air. If anything, I would think the signal would be stronger at longer distances if the drone was airborne as opposed to being low to the ground

Results are better when airborne as more signal reaches the AC or RC, depending on which side is transmitting/receiving due to less obstacles and less reflection of the signal. I was just curious about safe range so did a test. On average, I don't exceed even 500m when flying. Video link on 5.8GHz and FCC rules is rock solid for me. However I do know how to properly keep antenna orientation relative to the AC and I know I need to go higher in case of intermittent signal loss. Being cool and not panicking in case of unexpected event is another factor that comes with the experience. I find no use so far for 2.4GHz AC-RC as video link quality degrades, more latency is introduced and I don't really need 3km+ range or whatever is possible with 2.4GHz over very specific terrain and conditions.
2018-1-30
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Mr Sparkle
lvl.4
Australia
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After you regained the signal, you can keep on flying for quite some time. I always encountered signal loss at 1.2 km, but I pushed on and keep on flying - I can reached 2-3km. It also depends on the weather, with a low-wind condition I can easily reach 3km.

Yes the signal loss can be frightening the first few times you see it. I got so used to it now, I know that it will recovered after a few secs. The trick is not to touch the RC or the phone when signal disappeared, it will recovered quicker and you can keep on flying again.

0.7km is very poor for FCC, did you use 2.4 or 5.8?
2018-1-30
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Mr Sparkle
lvl.4
Australia
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If you want to know what Spark is really capable of:


2018-1-30
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SOUNDWAVE439
lvl.4
Flight distance : 115597 ft
United States
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Lol carrying the spark is not the proper way to do it. When you fly the spark are you going to put in your daddy’s jet pack?
2018-1-30
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eYeSkYeYe
First Officer

United States
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SOUNDWAVE439 Posted at 2018-1-30 05:26
Lol carrying the spark is not the proper way to do it. When you fly the spark are you going to put in your daddy’s jet pack?

I am afraid you are not familiar with the concept of initial tests vs. regular usage. It has something to do with knowing your gear, building confidence with it, understand how it works, understand its limitations etc..
2018-1-30
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