Pitlab FPV tracker antenna mount (antenna tracking)

When talking about FPV Long Range, in earnest an antenna tracker is a must, and the Pitlab Antenna Tracker is a must for those who decide to use this autopilot. The Pitlab tracker is very easy to assemble. and allows the antenna tracking much simpler.

What is an antenna tracker for?

At Long distance FPVantennas are an element of the fundamental. They assume the difference between power fly long distances (many kilometres) without any problems, causing the aircraft to receive our control signals and us on the ground to receive the video it emits, or to start having video problems from a few metres onwards.

In order for the antennas to have a longer range, a type of antenna is used, called a directional antennawhich concentrates all of its issuing and receiving by a few degrees above the horizon.

Imagine a normal antenna, verticalThe antenna, like that of a Walkie Talkie, and let's imagine that it has a range X. That antenna, vertical, is capable of transmitting and receiving to 360º around of the Walkie Talkie.

Now suppose we connect that same Walkie Talkie to an antenna that only transmits and receives on one side (180 degrees around). That means that when it transmits (or receives) it will put all its energy into those 180 degrees so its apparent power will be doubled, X*2. Simply point it to where you want to transmit or receive.

For example, TV antennas, those horizontal ones that we use in our houses, with a lot of "sticks through them", only receive in one direction. very narrow angle (maybe 15º or less) so that they can concentrate very much his "reception power".

The problem is, of course, that a model aircraft is not like a TV station. The TV station is always in the same place, does not moveThe only thing we have to do is point the antenna of the receiver towards the transmitter. However, a radio-controlled model aircraft can move anywhere: revolves around us, goes up, down and around its own axis in three dimensions.).

If we want to use a directional antenna for model airplanes, we need an element that keeps the antenna we have on the ground. "pointed" towards the aircraft. That element is the antenna tracker o antenna tracker. and that is what the Pitlab tracker solves.


Pitlab Antenna Tracker

The Pitlab antenna tracker is a simple and inexpensive tracker, servo-based.

It connects to the Pitlab Ground Station and moves the antenna so that it follows our aircraft, keeping the aircraft in the centre of the antennawhere it has the maximum reception or gain.

This is achieved because the Pitlab autopilot in the aircraft "injects" the GPS position into the video and the Ground Station on the ground is able to extract that data from the video, interpret it and move the servos as necessary, so that the aircraft is always in the centre of the antenna.

It is important to note that when we buy the tracker, it comes without antenna, servos, or any electronics. It is up to us to choose these elements based on what we need.

Pitlab tracker assembly

The assembly is simple, although entertaining. Although it can be a bit scary when you receive it, as in the box there are only a few fibre plates and various screws, it shouldn't be too difficult to assemble with the help of the video and photos that you can find on this page.

It took me an afternoon to set it up, but I had to take into account that, while I was setting it up, I was recording the video, taking photos, etc. Besides, I didn't have this video to follow...

In order to make the assembly process of the tracker easier, I have decided to separate it into four phases. The first three consist of the assembly of the three independent movement structures and the fourth part is the union of all of them.


1st Phase: fixed base

This is the only fixed part, which is attached to the tripod. 

This is the only fixed part, which is attached to the tripod. 

2nd Phase: Pan (horizontal movement)

It is the central part (the part that joins the base and the upper part, where the antenna goes. And the horizontal movement of the antenna is allowed (this movement is usually called the bread).

3rd Phase: Tilt (vertical movement)

It is the upper part of the tracker and the antenna is mounted on it (usually screwed or with Velcro). It allows the vertical movement of the antenna (this movement is normally called "vertical movement"). tilt).

4th Phase: Union of the previous phases

Once we have assembled the three parts of which the tracker is composed, all that remains is to join them together and we are finished.

The finished tracker

Here you can see the finished tracker mounted on its tripod, with the antenna and receivers (diversity or dual receiver system) mounted.

If you look closely you will see that there is a 3D printed piece that I designed to make it easier to assemble the receivers and another box, where the servos are connected, which facilitates the connections and includes a regulator to power the servos (which work at 5 volts) with the battery of the tripod (I leave a photo of what is inside the box).

The Tracker assembly video


This is all about the assembly of the mechanical part of the tracker.

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Thank you and happy flying!


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