UAV Tracking Antenna
UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) tracking antennas are part of the GCS (ground control station) equipment that communicates with the aircraft. They keep track of the position of the drone and keep the antenna pointed in its direction in order to provide stable communications over distances of up to several hundred kilometres.
The tracking antenna uses the GPS data broadcast by the UAV autopilot to keep track of the drone for optical alignment of the antenna. Some tracking antenna systems will have two separate communications channels for maximum reliability. The main channel will provide a datalink for both telemetry and transmission of payload data such as streaming video. The secondary channel will provide an additional telemetry link on a different frequency, to ensure that the drone can continue to operate if the first channel goes down.
Tracking antennas can be fixed-site installations, or portable to allow them to be easily set up and repositioned in the field. The antennas used will usually be directional antennas, as these provide better signal strength over long ranges compared to omnidirectional antennas. Some systems will switch to using omnidirectional antennas once the drone is flying within closer ranges.