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All you need to know about frequencies on which drones operate

As described in Wikipedia, FPV (First-person View) is also known as RPV (Remote Person View) or video piloting. It is a method used to control an RC Vehicle, from a driver's or pilot's point of view. The sudden spike in use of Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles over the past few years has also increased the use of FPV’s which are most commonly used to pilot these objects.

The “Drone or UAV” is either driven or piloted by a remote from the First Person perspective that is delivered via wireless technology onto the pilot’s goggles or monitor. More complex versions of drones include a pan and tilt camera that is controlled by a gyroscope sensor in the Pilot's goggles fitted with two onboard cameras that enable a 3D view.

Let’s take a look at the basics of Radio Frequencies:

2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz are two of the most common frequencies when you are dealing with FPV Quadcopter drones.
2.4 GHz is the common RF used by Quadcopters for connecting the ground transmitter to the drone. If you are familiar with frequencies, then you may already know that 2.4 GHz is the same frequency that wireless computer networks work in. So as anticipatable it may seem there have been several incidents reporting the loss of control over the Flying objects in dense housing areas where there are too many wireless signals.

Another problem that is associated with Quadcopters is that they interfere with their onboard systems. This is mainly because of the involvement of two transmitters – one for transferring the pilot signals to the vehicle and the other for transferring the video signals back to the pilot.

5.8 GHz is another RF used in quadcopter technologies, to avoid the entangling of frequencies in the same band. This frequency is commonly found in the DJI Phantom models. Let’s take a look at how the DJI Phantom Quadcopters avoid the most prevalent problems when dealing with radio frequencies.

Phantom 1 – This UAV operates at 2.4 GHz. If you plan on adding an FPV, then you must do it yourself and use the 5.8 GHz frequency to avoid common problems.

In case you want to use a GoPro or any other action camera with its unique wireless system, remember to turn the Wireless Option off. Otherwise, it will interfere with the aerial vehicle. Phantom FC40 – This drone uses the 5.8 GHz RF to fly because it has a separate 3.4 GHz system to transmit videos and photos to the pilot.

Phantom 2 – This drone uses the 2.4 GHz RF for the control set and thus you must use add-on kits that use 5.8 GHz frequency to transmit FPV signals.

Phantom 2 Vision and Vision+ - Both of these drones use the 5.8 GHz for control and 2.4 GHz for FPV, smartphone app connection and telemetry.

Final Verdict

Thus, if you buy a Phantom drone or any other drone without a camera, you must use an FPV device with a 5.8 GHz frequency and vice versa to get a smooth experience. It is worth noting that both the RF signals are considered LOS or Line of Sight signals, which means that they will not function if there is any barrier in between the Drone and your Remote Control. It is best to fly a drone in areas where you can see it with the naked eye. Otherwise, you might end up damaging or losing your drone altogether.

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