Low-power UAV radio systems, though designed for short distance communications, can be an inexpensive and reliable means of communications over greater distances – especially when the application is small UAS platforms. Many of these radios come with a variety of options including programmable bandwidths, RF power settings, and modulation type. Usually the bandwidth and modulation settings are based on the application data throughput requirements (i.e., higher data throughput requires more complex modulation schemes, which requires greater bandwidth). The RF power setting is dependent upon the desired link quality and link distance. For most users, the RF power this is set to the maximum setting for ensured link reliability.
The maximum output power of these radios can provide 0.6 to 2 watts (W) of RF power, providing solid performance over for short distances. However, the link suffers significantly at longer ranges due to the low power output – especially when higher data rates are desired. As distance increases, the signal strength decays by 6 dB for each doubling of the distance. By the same relationship, every 6 dB increase in SNR doubles the link distance. SNR is improved by increases the signal strength, through an increase in transmit output power, as well as by decreasing the NF of the receiver.
When longer range and high data rates are needed, the user has two options: improve the antenna system (which can be limited due to aerodynamic or financial considerations), or utilize an RF PA. NuWaves has considerable experience designing and manufacturing Bi-Directional Amplifiers. Additionally, NuWaves has undertaken several internal research efforts to better understand how to best balance the range and linearity requirements of communication links. Contact NuWaves today to find the perfect solution for your range extension, such as the NuPowerTM XtenderTM Bidirectional Amplifier.
NuWaves Engineering has developed a wide variety of off-the-shelf RF amplifiers with rich features to support mission-critical CONOPS in telemetry, ISR, and tactical communication systems applications. Frequency ranges are available from UHF through C-band with output power levels ranging from 5 to 100 W. All NuPowerTM PAs and NuPower XtenderTM BDAs are designed, built and tested in-house under NuWaves’ Quality Management System (QMS) certified to AS9100:2016 and ISO 9001-2015 standards, which ensures that each product arrives on-time and defect-free. Most models are in-stock, and are available for same-day shipment on orders placed before 2pm. NuWaves also boasts a full suite of state-of-the-art design and simulation tools, test and measurement equipment, prototyping equipment and a full-scale production facility to provide custom solutions to your specifications. Contact NuWaves today to extend the range of your communications systems and don’t forget to check out our RF Amplifiers and Frequency Converters.
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