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Bill Harrison




Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:14 pm

Looking for input - tethered Quad to fly comma antenna

by Bill Harrison » Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:19 pm

Hey everyone!

I am a relative noob to the RC world, but lately I have a reason to dive in head first...

I have a small company that designs & builds various electrical / alt power gear, much of it oriented around HAM radio and portable / emergency power & communications.

We have been making progress on an R&D project that just won't die... we keep getting closer to something that might work. ;-)

The goal of the project:

A small, collapsible flying platform that can lift a communications antenna about 30' off of the ground and hold it fairly steady for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

The antenna is a flexible whip, about 20" long and weighing 34 grams.

Power for the system comes from a DC source on the ground.

Control of the system is limited to throttle only (no transceiver!).

Weight of the tether (DC power, signal for throttle, and antenna feedline) at max (30') height is 500 - 700 grams.

Weight of the air frame (motors,chassis, flight control, etc. is about 300 grams.

Currently building around Black Widow 2204 motors (with ESC built in).

Using Naze32 rev5 or openpilot mini CC3D FC with 5030 props.

Primary construction of chassis is 3D printed ABS.

A few questions:

What is a good way to control motor speed... use a servo tester as throttle? A PWM speed controller? Remember this control is on the ground, hard wired up to the platform.

Any thoughts on the Naze being able to maintain level hover despite wind or movement of the operator on the ground? We are not running a GPS and don't want to.

Am I likely to need custom FC software?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: Looking for input - tethered Quad to fly comma antenna

by netwalker » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:52 pm

I think you should be able to use standard software. You'll most likely need to send some data back through the cable - you should be able to custom make a cable to send a serial signal up to the quad on the power wire. That way you can use the GCS on a computer or tablet to issue the takeoff and land commands. I'm surprised you can keep your wires that thin (light) - I figured you'd have to use a pretty high feed voltage and step it down at the quad.

I don't think you'll have good success without gps unless you physically use the tether to control the quad or else you'll be fighting the flight controller once is starts to drift. Possibly you could make some sort of servo like connection that would tilt all the motors in the proper direction if the tether is pulling at an angle, but GPS is so easy and light, and pretty cheap. Taking off and landing (especially in the wind) with only a tether for control would be a nightmare.

With big enough motors and everything properly tuned, power in the wind won't be an issue - some of these quads are going over 90mph.

Good Luck! Sounds like a fun project!
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Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:31 pm

Re: Looking for input - tethered Quad to fly comma antenna

by aa8mc » Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:47 pm

Out of curiosity, I have been kicking around the same sort of setup as a potential field day rig. Did you ever get anything like this up and running?


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