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Building Long Range Recon Drone

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  • Building Long Range Recon Drone

    With most of my other preps reaching maturity, I'm thinking of building a drone. I'm thinking of something that can stay in the air for time frames measured in a couple hours and have an active control range of up to 3 to 5 miles and an autonomous flight capability up to 30 miles or more.

    Been looking at fixed wing drones like the SkyWalker X8 or maybe something like a STRIX StratoSurfer. With a large battery and gps unit, they can be configured for autonomous flight that is limited only by battery power. They also sell UHF Repeaters that can extend active control and live video ranges by up to 5 miles or more.

    A done would be a great asset to investigate things that may be too dangerous or risky to travel to. See smoke on the horizon, or hear lots of gun fire, then just send up the drone to go take a look.
    Anyone have any experience with these? I spent my childhood years building and flying almost everything that was radio controlled.. I had gliders, stunt planes, boats, cars, and even a couple helicopters back then.

  • #2
    anyone seeing a drone post SHTF will probably try to shoot it down if they have the means.
    it means someone is spying on them.

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    • #3
      I had considered that and came to the following conclusions:
      1) Fixed wing drones are not nearly as loud as quad copters.. (1 propeller instead of 4) so its questionable that they'd even notice it.
      2) Fixed wing drones can throttle way down and loiter which makes even 1 propeller super quiet.
      3) Fixed wing drones fly at higher altitudes.. way higher.. I'm not sure if they even could shoot it down.. Certainly out of shotgun range.
      4) I wouldn't think they'd want to waste the ammo trying.

      My thoughts are that a drone would provide information on situations in the area if needed. They could also be used for search and rescue.

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      • #4
        wife saw one when she was out driving one day, must have been a military one cos the thing was huge! the civilian ones I have seen are quite noisy almost as bad as 2 stroke motorbikes.
        I've got a silhouette chart of drones showing the different types in my hard backed files.
        if one starts flying over my location I reckon someone, maybe civilian maybe military, is up to no good and act accordingly.
        Last edited by grumpygremlin; 09-23-2018, 11:27 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by grumpygremlin View Post
          wife saw one when she was out driving one day, must have been a military one cos the thing was huge! the civilian ones I have seen are quite noisy almost as bad as 2 stroke motorbikes.
          I've got a silhouette chart of drones showing the different types in my hard backed files.
          if one starts flying over my location I reckon someone, maybe civilian maybe military, is up to no good and act accordingly.
          You see a drone flying over you, what part of that suggests its up to no good?

          If a military drone up to no good was indeed flying over you, trust me when I tell you that you'd never know its there... Military drones fly at 20,000 to 25,000 feet.. invisible to the naked eye.

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          • #6
            Word of caution: Will a budget scanner pick up the frequencies you're using ? Will such a scanner with a hand-held aerial, like wildlife collar-trackers use, be able to DF both your drone and location ??

            Your aerial may be pointing towards the drone, but drone is transmitting omni-directionally, may be tracked back...

            Unless it shuts off transmission, follows a pre-set RTB course.

            And will it rely on GPS for navigation ??

            Just think it through, deploy due-care...

            PS: If you see a MilSpec drone, that's intentional. If it is shooting at you, you won't notice in time to dodge...

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            • #7
              I had given that some thought.. but not much. A drone guided by a programmed flight plan using GPS isn't going to transmit anything unless I tell it to transmit a video feed.. and even then, they won't know where I'm at, only the drone.

              I mostly prep for an EMP, and in such cases, there aren't going to be many people who have any kind of RF tracking systems who are interested in a toy drone.

              The other thing is that it would be very difficult to figure out where I'm at so quickly.. they'd get direction, but not distance.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi !

                Will you have adequate GPS cover for autonomous flight in a post-EMP scenario ? Good luck with that...

                I'd expect any civilian drone or other obvious high-tech to draw a 'That's Interesting...' from potential 'bad actors'.

                Won't you have a scanner, to keep an 'ear' to the local air-waves ? Borrow one that covers your drone's frequency, check it out. Check if you can add a DF antenna in place of its 'wand'...

                One bearing is just the start. A second bearing from a different location significantly reduces the search field. A third gives a yachty's 'cocked hat' map reference. Okay, ashore such is not a ideal 'fix' but, given a few such bearings, your possible locale is limited...

                And, if you have nice toys, you may have LOTS of other goodies...

                I'm not saying DO NOT fly a drone, I'm saying 'DUE CARE, PLEASE'.

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                • #9
                  For current use you are limited on range by FAA regulations unless you get the needed permits (limit of 1 mile I believe, not sure anymore though), so you can use a stronger radio frequency for longer distances. A larger operations platform will allow for higher grade camera unit (what you can afford), and real time feed. It may also allow for using upgraded software with programable GPS and automatic homing capabilities as well as alternate payload capabilities. If you can afford it IR camera upgrade along with a vantablack camo paint job would allow night time use with no chance of being detected. Good luck.


                  Dale
                  Judge no one, until you have walked in the same mud and spilt the same blood. Him, I call brother.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nik View Post
                    Hi !

                    Will you have adequate GPS cover for autonomous flight in a post-EMP scenario ? Good luck with that...
                    I don't see any reason why we wouldn't.. Maybe I'm not considering something? What would stop GPS from working?

                    I'd expect any civilian drone or other obvious high-tech to draw a 'That's Interesting...' from potential 'bad actors'.
                    Yup, me too.. and if was a "bad actor", I wouldn't want anything to do with anyone with the resources to have an operational drone as there are much easier targets.

                    [/quote]
                    Won't you have a scanner, to keep an 'ear' to the local air-waves ? Borrow one that covers your drone's frequency, check it out. Check if you can add a DF antenna in place of its 'wand'... [/quote]
                    I totally agree that they'd be able to track the drone so long as it was transmitting.. hence, we don't let it transmit.. at least that's the best I can come up with.

                    Obviously, its one or the other.. if GPS is up (and I don't see any reason it wouldn't be), then there's no need for a drone to transmit anything.. and if GPS is down, then the only way to control the drone would be to transmit.. That would mean that I'd need to head away from home base a mile or two in order to operate it. Not sure if that would be a problem or not until it happened.

                    One bearing is just the start. A second bearing from a different location significantly reduces the search field. A third gives a yachty's 'cocked hat' map reference. Okay, ashore such is not a ideal 'fix' but, given a few such bearings, your possible locale is limited...

                    And, if you have nice toys, you may have LOTS of other goodies...

                    I'm not saying DO NOT fly a drone, I'm saying 'DUE CARE, PLEASE'.
                    Yup.. I agree 100%.. not something to be pulled out on a regular basis and even then, best from a remote location if any transmissions must take place. And that's the rub, I'm confident that GPS would still be up and running.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dalewick View Post
                      For current use you are limited on range by FAA regulations unless you get the needed permits (limit of 1 mile I believe, not sure anymore though), so you can use a stronger radio frequency for longer distances. A larger operations platform will allow for higher grade camera unit (what you can afford), and real time feed. It may also allow for using upgraded software with programable GPS and automatic homing capabilities as well as alternate payload capabilities. If you can afford it IR camera upgrade along with a vantablack camo paint job would allow night time use with no chance of being detected. Good luck.


                      Dale
                      Trust me when I say, if I need to fly that drone in such a way as to break the rules, the FAA probably doesn't exist anymore.

                      I'm still a bit green with all the drone tech, but from what I can surmise, the type of plane I'm thinking of purchasing can do just about anything I want it to. We're talking payloads in excess of 3 or 4 pounds, batteries measured in the 3 to 5 ah range, and flight times measured in hours.

                      An IR Camera you say???? That sounds great.. and now when I speak to my wife, I can blame the extra expense on YOU!!! LOL

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Murphy View Post

                        Trust me when I say, if I need to fly that drone in such a way as to break the rules, the FAA probably doesn't exist anymore.

                        I'm still a bit green with all the drone tech, but from what I can surmise, the type of plane I'm thinking of purchasing can do just about anything I want it to. We're talking payloads in excess of 3 or 4 pounds, batteries measured in the 3 to 5 ah range, and flight times measured in hours.

                        An IR Camera you say???? That sounds great.. and now when I speak to my wife, I can blame the extra expense on YOU!!! LOL
                        No one here will care about laws and regulations after TEOTWAWKI, but I would think you would want to practice with your drone before bad things happen to cut down on the learning curve. I know very little about modern drones but if the unit your looking at uses batteries it probably isn't near as big as what I was thinking of which is over 8 ft fixed wingspan. It's been 20 years since I remember looking at that though. I'd say a lot of advances have been made since then. LOL!

                        I looked up the models you mention. SWEET! Good luck!

                        Dale
                        Judge no one, until you have walked in the same mud and spilt the same blood. Him, I call brother.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dalewick View Post

                          No one here will care about laws and regulations after TEOTWAWKI, but I would think you would want to practice with your drone before bad things happen to cut down on the learning curve. I know very little about modern drones but if the unit your looking at uses batteries it probably isn't near as big as what I was thinking of which is over 8 ft fixed wingspan. It's been 20 years since I remember looking at that though. I'd say a lot of advances have been made since then. LOL!

                          I looked up the models you mention. SWEET! Good luck!

                          Dale
                          With the introduction of high capacity lithium batteries, micro-sized electronics and miniature cameras, drones don't need to be large anymore.. that is, unless you want to deliver a 200 lb Hellfire missile..

                          Going to have to do a lot more research...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Murphy View Post

                            You see a drone flying over you, what part of that suggests its up to no good?

                            If a military drone up to no good was indeed flying over you, trust me when I tell you that you'd never know its there... Military drones fly at 20,000 to 25,000 feet.. invisible to the naked eye.
                            the one the wife saw was flying a hedge level!! she saw it alright and heard it too!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by grumpygremlin View Post

                              the one the wife saw was flying a hedge level!! she saw it alright and heard it too!!!
                              LOL.. ya, that's a bit different.

                              I'm talking flying at 500 to 600 feet. High enough to stay out of shotgun range, maybe even high enough to stay out of earshot.


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