FPV antenna selection – A guide to help you select the best antenna system for you.

Antennas are the critical link between a transmitter and receiver, so it is best to select the
proper antennas for your FPV scenario for the best possible flight experience. If you refer to the
!ow to be successful in FPV" guide, you will note that one of the big points is that there is no
such thing as best. #here is however, the one that works best for me. #his guide will help you
find that system.
Step 1 – Select polarization type
Polarization – Circular or linear?
$ecently a few FPVer%s including myself have discovered the merits of circular polari&ation.
'ircular polari&ation is not for everyone, but does give the most consistent performance. (inear
is more common, much simpler and is sometimes capable of longer range. )o which do you
choose and why*
Circular polarization
'ircular polari&ation is used by +A)A and many !A,s to communicate with satellites that orbit
the -arth as the orientation of the satellite is consistently changing. #his is very similar to an
FPV aircraft in flight. 'ircular polari&ation has two distinct advantages. it re/ects multipath
interference 0which is the most common reason for video issues1, and does not lose polari&ation
when a plane banks to turn. If you are having trouble with video scrambling or random drop
outs, this is likely due to multipath interference. ,2(#IPA#!I+3 I) +4# F255 I+ #!- VI6-47
,2#IPA#!I+3 I) )'$A,8(I+3 4$ )266-+ 6$4P 42#)7
!hen to use circular polarization
9 :hen where your base station is near 0within ;<< feet1 of large structures such as houses or
9 :hen standing on a porch or deck of a house or apartment or other building
9 :hen stunt flying
9 :hen flying behind trees and ob/ects
9 :hen doing low altitude flying
9 :hen flying very high altitude 0with a directional antenna1
"inear polarization
(inear polari&ation is very common and is the easiest to implement. It is capable of longer
range than circular polari&ation, but is more susceptible to multipathing. #he range advantage
is seldom reali&ed due to multipath interference. #he antennas tend to be more compact and
easier to build 0as well as cheaper to buy1.
!hen to use linear polarization
9 :hen flying out in the open with no structures nearby
9 :hen flying planes that do not bank sharply
9 :hen going for long distance runs
9 :hen standing on top of a hill or mountain
9 :here antenna compactness is needed
!hat if my flight goals encompass se#eral merits of each type of polarization? #his is
often the case with most FPVers. =ou can%t have it all so you must make an educated guess. If
you are a current FPVer and are having problems with video drop outs and scrambling, then
circular polari&ation will help you. If your problem is that you are getting fu&& in the video due to
going very long range, use linear polari&ation.
Step $ – %etermining the best antenna pattern
First, I recommend watching this video. http&&'''.#imeo.com&(($)*+$
,- antenna selection – .o' much gain do / 'ant?
+ow it%s time to determine how much directivity 0gain1 is best for you. #his will be determined by
your flight area and where you wish for your plane to go. As the gain of your antenna increases,
so does the available range of the video system. 2nfortunately, higher gain antennas have
narrower beams and thus are not suitable for short range missions.
4mni directional antennas provide great coverage when flying near the base station, but do not
do well for long range missions. )imilarly, a high gain grid or dish antenna would make a poor
choice for flying around a park. ,ost FPVer%s will find that a moderate gain 0between > and ?
dbi1 antenna suits most of their needs.
0se omni directional antennas 'hen
9 =ou plan to fly all around yourself
9 :hen flying short range 0@km or less1
9 :hen standing in the middle of the flight field
9 :hen you want a Auick and easy set up
0se moderate gain 1+2* dbi3 antennas 'hen
9 =ou plan to fly moderate range 0@9Bkm1
9 =ou want to fly an area out in front of you
9 =ou desire more range than an omni, but want to be able to fly patterns and stunts
9 :hen using an antenna tracker
0se high gain 1145 dbi3 antennas 'hen
9 -xploring an ob/ect or destination very far away
9 :hen flying in a straight line and coming straight back
9 :hen making long distance attempts
67amples of 8mni antennas
9 C wave dipole 0common rubber ducky type antenna1
9 #he Vee antenna
9 'loverleaf antenna
9 )kew9planar wheel antenna
9 #he ground plane antenna
67amples of moderate gain antennas
9 D or E element =agi
9 Bdbi patch
9 D turn helical
9 Bdbi circularly polari&ed patch
9 Bdbi linearly polari&ed patch
9 2niFuad antenna
67amples of .igh gain antennas
9 ,ulti element =agis
9 3rid or dish antennas
9 8iFuad or double 8iFuad
9 Patch antenna arrays
9 ;E dbi patch antenna
9- antenna selection !hat do / fly on the plane?
:hile there is much discussion on which antenna should be used on the ground, the aerial
antenna is less discussed because there are fewer choices, but it is no less important.
3enerally speaking, lower gain antennas are better for airplanes, but helicopters and long
distance runs might opt for higher gain omni antennas.
)ince the choices are few, I will discuss each type.
9he : 'a#e dipole – #his is the antenna to which all others are compared. :ith a moderate
@.;> dbi gain, the antenna has a large null over the top and bottom of the antenna. #his is best
used for long range attempts.

/n#erted Vee antenna – Introduced in @<<? by Alex 3reve 0I8'ra&y1 as a better omnidirectional
antenna for FPV flying. It has lower isotropic gain 0G;.?dbi1 than a dipole, but has no holes in
the radiation pattern. #his has been the antenna of choice for many FPV pilots and is perhaps
the best linearly polari&ed general purpose antenna.
S;e'2Planar !heel – $elatively low gain 0.?@dbic1 this antenna is circularly polari&ed and has
excellent multipath re/ection capability. #his antenna is used for general purpose flying where
aerodynamic drag is not a critical factor. #his antenna was introduced in @<;< by +igel
0devonboy1 which opened up the doors to 'P on the airplane.
9he Clo#erleaf – :ith moderate gain 0;.@> dbic1 this antenna is slightly longer range than the
)kew planar wheel antenna, but has a slightly oblong hori&ontal pattern. #his antenna is great
for general purpose flying and moderate range where less aerodynamic drag is reAuired. #his
is the newest aerial antenna to the FPV world. 6esigned by Alex 0I8'ra&y1 as an easier to build
higher gain substitute for the )kew9planar wheel.
Choosing the proper ,- antenna
!ere I will some of the common antennas we use for FPV and de9bunk some myths as well.
#he omni directional antennas listed above all work for $H applications as well and therefore
will not be discussed here.
"inear patch antenna I #his antenna is by far the most common directional FPV antenna.
:ith compact si&e and a J< degree beam width this allows a good sweep of coverage right out
in front of you. #his antenna is ground plane dependent, however, and performs best when
mounted /ust a few inches off of the ground. FreAuencies above @3!& may find that this
antenna can be mounted high in the air with minimal problems.
#he low mounting reAuirement is the antenna%s greatest downfall. It makes flying in hilly areas
difficult as the Fresnel &one is easily disrupted.
<agi antenna – A much less commonly flown antenna than the patch, this antenna is found in a
wide range of gain values. #he beam on this antenna is fairly narrow but it is easy to aim and
can be mounted up on a tripod or stand as it is not ground plane dependent. It is a good choice
for an antenna tracker provided the tracker is strong enough to take the weight of the antenna.
#he greatest downfall with the =agi is moisture. ,oisture causes degradation of antenna
performance as more elements are added.
0ni=uad antenna – #he 8iFuads B dbi little brother. #he uniFuad is a wide bad highly efficient
antenna. It is very similar to the patch antenna except that it is more efficient and not ground
plane dependent.
#his antenna is currently under development by Alex 3reve 0I8'ra&y1. #here is no real downfall
to this antenna.
>i=uad antenna – #he 8iFuad is a very efficient ;;dbi antenna. Perhaps even less common
than the =agi, this antenna shares the compact si&e of the patch without the dependence on a
ground plane. #he antenna has small side lobes which help in landing. #his antenna works
well with antenna trackers.
#he greatest downfalls of this antenna are that it is hard to find 0it must be built as it isn%t
commercially available1 and it is fragile.
?rid antenna I 'ommonly used for long range, this antenna is highly directive. 3ains can
range from ;>9@Edbi. #his antenna is not ground plane dependent and is best mounted high in
the air.
#he greatest downfall of a grid antenna is efficiency. 3rids are seldom more than K<L efficient.
)o while your range capability is great, you must fly in a very narrow beam.
.elical antenna – #his antenna is circularly polari&ed with exceptional axial ratio and multipath
re/ection. It is extremely broadband and can be made for a wide range of gains. )maller units
can be mounted to an antenna tracker.
#he greatest problems with the helical is that the efficiency is often not exceptional 0between K<
and B<L1 and that they are not readily available commercially.
CP Patch – )imilar to the linear patch, but circularly polari&ed. #his antenna is compact and
easy to use.
#he problems with this antenna are its low axial ratio 0multipath re/ection capability1, and that it
is ground plane dependant.
CP >i=uad – #he 'P 8iFuad is an Bdbi circularly polari&ed antenna. It has a compact si&e that
is suitable for antenna trackers and is not ground plane dependent. Alex 0I8'ra&y1 is currently
developing this antenna.
#he greatest downfall of this antenna is that it has not been perfected yet and therefore will not
be available for some time.
@ore information
,ore information can be found by watching Andology%s video.
4r by visiting I8'ra&y%s blog. http.MMwww.rcgroups.comMforumsMmember.php*uN;<D;;D