Dr Saulius Rudys, Aleksej Kaminskij, Dr Domantas Brucas
Professional antenna systems can be complex structures. To reduce the risk of installation errors and failed projects, it is important to know whether a system meets the expected parameters. Meanwhile, such parameters can also degrade over time. One of the most important parameters with regard to electromagnetic compatibility is the radiation pattern of an antenna. Using ground-based equipment, measuring these patterns poses a serious challenge. One conventional but expensive solution is to take measurement equipment skyward using helicopters. Attempts have also been made to use heavy drones to measure radiation patterns, but no hardware/ software providers have entered the market. A team at Vilnius University has developed very lightweight and very low-cost equipment for small drones using a standalone device concept (featuring GNSS and RTL SDR receivers, computers, power supplies, and communication modules). No additional electrical connections to the drone are required. It weighs only 200 g and is compatible with the cheap and popular DJI Phantom drone. This equipment is expected to make important measurements like these accessible not only to professionals, but to radio amateurs, as well.