Wireless Communication Problem

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#1
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Hello,
I'm currently in the development phase of a project I am working on that involves wireless communication.
Essentially I have a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that needs to communicate with it's base station (my laptop)... 20 km away.
I've never dealt with wireless devices before. Can anyone recommend some hardware that is easy to interface?

Cheers,
Tom

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First, we need to know where, in the world, you are. The answer will vary, because of regulatory limitations.

At 20km, you are NOT going to be able to use any of the low-power, unlicensed systems (reliably, any way). 802.15.14 based equipment (6LoPan, ZigBee, etc) tend to be a few hundred meters, max. There IS some hardware that uses this on 860/910MHz. 910MHz in North America allows somewhat higher transmit power and manufacturers say "a few km". This is normally for telemetry and low data rate control and I doubt that it would suffice for a UAV (unless it is telemetry and autonomous control algorithm updates such as waypoints, only).

By far, the easiest would be to get a ham license. This would allow you to use off-the-shelf hardware that will easily satisfy the range requirement.

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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Well I do only need low transfer rate - to send the current position (GPS coordinates) of the UAV (updated maybe once every ten seconds).
This will be happening in Australia, but development is in Canada... I'm guessing ham would be good for both?

Cheers,
Tom

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If you're in cell coverage, use a 1XRTT or GPRS or some such cellular modem. costly.

In the US, there's the MURS band at VHF. High power allowed.

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I never thought of using the cell network. Thanks for your advice.

Cheers,
Tom Kurowski

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Cell Network in Australia is very patchy. Telstra say they cover 99+% of the Australian population (not the country!) http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile/networks/coverage/index.html.
Optus (Singtel) http://www.optus.com.au/portal/site/aboutoptus/menuitem.cfa0247099a6f722d0b61a108c8ac7a0/?vgnextoid=6ed776b387797010VgnVCM10000029867c0aRCRD
Vodaphone http://www.vodafone.com.au/personal/services/coverage/index.htm

'3' (Hutchison) only works in State & Territory Capitals http://www.three.com.au/cs/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=Three%2FPage%2FThreeLayout&cid=1221530777424

They all seem to 'roam' on each other's networks - at additional cost.

Satellite phones are a possibility, but require different hardware (if there are any Iridium satellites left by then)

The ACMA site would be a good starting point.
http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_1285 is the page for R/C Models, but you can navigate from there.

C. H.
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