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555 6 2016-2-21
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SpaceBass
lvl.2
United States
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Over the weekend I was finally far enough from a red geofence zone to fly my new PA3 for the first time. I really enjoyed the experience and was pleased with how easy and how much fun it was to fly!  (I'm a licensed pilot and have some previous quadcopter experience).
I was getting a good signal at 500m so I increased the range to 600m. Right on the boundry of the 600m circle I went from a fine signal to no signal at all. The bird's altitute was 150m and I know there isn't anything for miles that tall so I was reasonably sure I haddn't hit anything.

I waited a minute or two hoping the automatic return to home would send it zooming back to me. When I didn't see anything, I set out walking, hoping it was hovering somewhere and if I got closer, I'd get a signal again.

I traced the entire flightpath on the map and checked all the trees and alleys along the way. Nothing. By this point I was getting pretty upset at the idea I'd lost my brand new expensive drone. I was also upset that it was so easy to lose.

I walked back to my car (and starting point) and once I was within 20 feet of the start point, I regained signal. There was my PA3 sitting in the grass being nosed by a very cute puppy.

Looking at the fottage later, I see the bird over my head as I'm walking the flight path looking for it. Kinda funny.

So, while I'm ultimatly relieved and can laugh at the whole thing, I'm also a bit confused. Looking at the attached screenshot, I cannot understnd why I wouldn't have signal at all. My antennae were at a 45 degree angle - not ideal for right above me, but not pointing stright up either. At many points during the bird's flight back to me and my walk towards it, I think I should have regained signal. Any thoguhts as to why it didnt?

2016-2-21
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Hawks100
Second Officer
Flight distance : 134580 ft
United Kingdom
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That looks like its a built up area that you chose to fly in for your first flight..
Try going to an open area to fly rather that a residential area.
People flying in places like this is why restrictions are being put in place..
2016-2-21
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jamieleepayne
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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Did the LED indicator on the left of the remote controller go red or did you just lose video signal?

That's a pretty funny story! I'm surprised you didn't hear it flying over you - though the built up area doesn't help with noise!
2016-2-21
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Kneepuck
Captain
Flight distance : 275102 ft
United States
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You can manually look for a channel with a better signal.  Tutorial on here for the how too.  Also,  unless the craft is directly overhead,  you want the antenna oriented mostly up at a 90 degree from the controller if the controller were flat.  Kind of an L shape,  modified to keep the vertical leg up.  unless overhead,  then flat.  Try different angles until you get the best signal.  There is a lot of bounce to the signal in an area like the one you were in.
2016-2-21
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Cetaman
Captain
Flight distance : 2271506 ft
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United States
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Aloha Bass,

     That is the funniest mission represented here in ages - well except for anything Kneepuck writes.  And I have no idea what could have happened.  But, I am paying attention since a friend of mine just got a P3A that has not even flown yet.

     In my own P3P case, I flew over a suburban area, which would be near or equal to the average technology of the neighborhood you flew over, and lost my signal - which I know works for well over a mile - at about the same distance.  In this case I did press RTH and the P3 came back and we flew over a wetland where the signal was much better, but still had range limitations, until the battery was used up.

     The only conclusion I could come to is that each, or certainly every other house in that neighborhood, had at least one cordless phone operating at 2.4 or 600 GHz - enough to interfere with my P3 considering the density of signals.  Another point, made many times in this forum, is that the video signal at 500 GHz will go first with physical structure interference.  So, if you loose video signal, there is still a good chance that you may have remote control over your P3A.  If under those circumstances, if you press RTH (like you turn on your battery) and the RTH LED circle around the button begins flashing; you probably have your P3 returning to home.  So far that is what happens to me, but then I could be wrong under other circumstances.

     Happy to hear about the fortunate return circumstances though!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-2-21
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Geebax
Captain
Australia
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Built up areas are full of electronic interference, nearly every house these days is likely to have a WiFi system in it, and that is exactly the same frequency your Phantom transmits and receives on. The aircraft can be swamped by a WiFi system, but it does not know the difference between no signal and high level interfering signal.

In the end, your aircraft did exactly what it was designed to do, it lost the control signal and returned to home.
2016-2-21
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Paniza
First Officer
Flight distance : 1411801 ft
Canada
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Long story short, that area is a bit too busy to learn.

You should look for an open field, make sure things are working as expected then... go back to that place and try again.

Please mind you local aerial laws (whatever they are) to avoid trouble.
2016-2-21
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