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Thread: Drones

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    Default Drones

    I am starting this thread for Ryan

    I know he likes the idea of personal drones.

    I put it under Ham Radio because in general the frequencies used for flying model aircraft of any sort falls in the ham channels.
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    Default Re: Drones

    One of the things I want to be able to do is launch a small copter type thing off a boat and check out an area near by without having to sail over or row a boat over to check it out. I can use it to see if there is anything in front of us, or the way is clear.

    Something like this:

    The author’s quad of choice, the DJI Phantom, equipped with GoPro Hero3 camera and RotorPixel gimbal.

    Multirotors from 3D Robotics are also a great choice. They offer kits (such as the 3DR Quad Kit, Maker Shed item #MK3DR01, makershed.com) and RTF models (including a new Phantom competitor called the Iris), all running their open-source, open-hardware flight platform for the ultimate in hackability.



    The wife owns a gopro... so I figure we can work together on this one. lol
    Last edited by American Patriot; June 3rd, 2014 at 14:09.
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    Default Re: Drones

    Make: Projects

    Getting Started in Aerial Video







    The first aerial photograph was taken in 1858 by French photographer Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (from a hot air balloon), and since then, aerial perspectives in imaging have remained elusive to those without astronomical budgets. Historically, photographers have used just about everything to get cameras up in the air including balloons, birds, kites, rockets, airplanes, and helicopters.
    In the last few years, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or “drones,” as they are referred to by popular press, have improved so much in performance and reliability that they have started to creep into the mainstream as the best way for (most) people to capture aerial images and video. These 5 tips will help you to get the best aerial videos you can.
    Aerial video footage of surfers at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, Calif., July 2013, taken by the author.

    1. Choose the right UAS.

    The vast majority of people getting into aerial videography choose a quadcopter as their first UAS. Quadcopters are 4-propeller multirotor aircraft that use electronic flight controllers, sensors (including accelerometers, gyros, magnetometers, and barometers), and GPS to automatically stabilize flight and in some instances, allow autonomous “mission” flying via waypoint programming. They’re simpler to operate than tricopters, and more affordable than hexacopters.
    The most popular quadcopter for aerial filming is the $679 DJI Phantom because it’s ready-to-fly (RTF) out of the box and was designed to hold a GoPro camera. (The new Phantom 2 Vision has a built-in camera instead, plus an FPV system — see tip 4 below.) The Phantom is the perfect platform, even for beginning hobbyists, because it’s easily hackable — there is a vibrant third-party accessories market, mostly consisting of enterprising individuals selling mods online.
    The author’s quad of choice, the DJI Phantom, equipped with GoPro Hero3 camera and RotorPixel gimbal.

    Multirotors from 3D Robotics are also a great choice. They offer kits (such as the 3DR Quad Kit, Maker Shed item #MK3DR01, makershed.com) and RTF models (including a new Phantom competitor called the Iris), all running their open-source, open-hardware flight platform for the ultimate in hackability.

    Adventurous makers will likely want to build their own multirotor aircraft, which have the advantages of being (potentially) more budget friendly (build “The HandyCopter UAV” on page 44) and allowing you to tailor components to your needs. A DIY quadcopter or hexacopter consists of an airframe, flight controller, electronic speed controller (ESC), motors, propellers, batteries, radio, and receiver. Entire kits are available for less than $200.
    2. Choose the right camera.

    Although large cameras can easily be put into the air if you configure and make your own multirotor aircraft, my favorite cameras for aerial videography are GoPro Hero3 cameras, which provide the best image quality for their size and weight. The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition weighs only 73 grams and can record video at 2.7K (2,704×1,524 pixels) at 45Mbps. And it’s got built-in Wi-Fi for downloading your footage.
    GoPros are also pretty much the standard in aerial videography, which means maximum compatibility with OEM and third-party accessories for aerial imaging, such as vibration isolators and gimbals (covered in the next tip).
    Finally, GoPros are easily protected while in the air by using their standard underwater housing or third-party lens protectors.
    3. Stabilize your camera.

    The smoothness of aerial video is directly correlated to its perceived quality. But multirotor motion isn’t smooth. As a multirotor flies around, the flight controller automatically stabilizes the aircraft by sending power to its multiple motors. During flight maneuvers or in gusts of wind, a multirotor might pivot violently in multiple axes, and while this keeps the quadcopter itself stabilized in space, it wreaks havoc on footage recorded in mounted cameras. In the past, hobby aircraft used servomotors to correct for this sort of movement, but servos are slow and sloppy, unable to correct quickly enough.
    Gimbals and aircraft motion. These days, stabilized aerial video is made possible by the incorporation of gimbals that use brushless motors. A gimbal is simply a support that allows the rotation of an object around an axis, and brushless motors are the same motors that revolutionized R/C model aircraft due to their great power-to-weight ratio (rewound for higher torque in gimbal use).
    A typical camera gimbal allows rotation around two axes: roll and pitch. A sensor on the camera mount tells the gimbal controller, “I want to be level,” and the gimbal controller sends the appropriate signals to the brushless motors that control pitch and roll. In practice, brushless gimbals yield footage from quadcopters that looks like it was taken using a flying Steadicam (see ech.cc/aerialvid for some of my footage). Gimbals for GoPro cameras are available for as little as $150, and can simply be bolted to the bottom of any aerial platform.
    The copter is crooked but the camera’s level, controlled by a brushless gimbal.

    RotorPixel gimbals are matched to the DJI Phantom and also pre-tuned to match the GoPro Hero3 camera.

    Prop vibration and “jello.” The second image-quality problem that needs to be solved is the removal of “rolling shutter” artifacts. CMOS image sensors, which are used in most digital cameras, scan the image in rows from top to bottom as they read data for each frame. If a camera is moved around during shutter sweeps, it results in horizontal spatial artifacts, more commonly known as “jello.”
    Jello is caused in UAS footage by high-frequency vibrations introduced by rotating motors and propellers. The best way to remove it is by balancing propellers, which can come from the factory with one side heavier than the other. Balancing is facilitated by inexpensive prop balancers, and is achieved by applying clear tape to the lighter side and/or sanding the heavier side. (Sand the flat sides, not the leading or trailing edges —YouTube has great tutorial videos.)
    Balanced props, combined with the vibration isolators that are commonly used to mount gimbals, should yield beautiful, jello-free, stabilized video.
    Inexpensive prop balancers help you reduce propeller vibration.

    Author’s gimbal mount, showing the blue rubber vibration isolator.

    4. Assemble an FPV system.

    It’s very difficult to get good video footage if you can’t see what you’re recording. In the UAS world, this is called flying FPV, which stands for first-person view. An analog video transmitter is used on the UAS to broadcast real-time video from the camera. The pilot uses a receiver and either a monitor or LCD glasses to see what the UAS is seeing. Experienced pilots can fly 100% using FPV without needing a line-of-sight view of the aircraft.
    An entry-level FPV system can be purchased for around $250. You can read my full deconstruction of the Ready Made RC 5.8GHz starter kit at ech.cc/quadfpv — it taps into the GoPro to use it as the FPV camera as well. (For more FPV tips, see page 48.)
    The author pilots his video Phantom over the waters of Tonga via an FPR (first-person view) system from Ready Made RC.

    5. There’s no replacement for practice.

    The most important thing you can do to improve your aerial video footage is to become a skilled pilot. There is no substitute for stick time, and spending all your time at a workbench instead of flying your UAS in an open field will never yield great footage.
    I also recommend practicing flying using inexpensive toys. The Syma X1 and Blade Nano QX or mQX are all great toy quadcopters that cost between $36 and $90. They fly using the same controls, and do not offer the luxury of GPS location hold. If you can master a small quadcopter, the skills you learn will translate directly to larger aircraft.
    More stick time = better video: fly as much as you can.

    TIP: Practice your skills with toys like the Blade Nano QX and the Syma X1.
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    Default Re: Drones

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/...e-illegal.html

    Monday, 13 February 2012

    Build yourself a Drone NOW (before they become illegal)

    Follow me on Twitter.


    Francis Fukuyama isn't your standard tech guy. He's a policy guy at Stanford that writes hefty books on very philosophical topics. That's why his detailed blog post on his efforts to build a surveillance drone are so cool. Here's a little video of the test of his drone outside of his office at Stanford.




    Francis makes two simple observations that are worth repeating. Here's the first one:


    "I don’t have to spell out the implications of this. I want to have my drone before the government makes them illegal."

    The Inevitable Ban on Drone Tech


    I agree with Francis, it's pretty clear that drones will become illegal sooner than later. Let me run through a scenario for you. I'm going to have some fun with it:
    The ban will likely start by closing down the drone flight amateur loophole -- under 400ft, line of site, away from built up areas (which Francis obviously violated with his test flight). You will need a license to fly even small drones. Commercial licenses will be very restrictive (right now it's illegal to take pictures from a drone for commercial purposes).


    However, that's not going to last. There will be too many violations as people build and use drones without regard to the legal restrictions. It will then be made illegal to own a drone w/o a very restrictive license.


    Of course, that won't last long either. People will continue to build and use them using generic parts. This technology will prove way to useful and too easy to access. At that point, like we have seen recently with efforts to put limits on general purpose computing (ACTA, SOPA, etc.), we are going to see the following:



    1. Bans on general purpose robotic technology from hardware to software.
    2. Controls on general purpose fabrication technology (since parts can be made with these technologies). There will be lots of support from commercial patent and copyright holders for government bans on 3D fabrication.
    3. Controls on people that know how to build drones. Dangerous people must be tracked and monitored (I had a physics teacher once who designed nuclear bombs, he couldn't travel more than 50 miles w/o government authorization -- it would be much easier to do that for many more people now using modern tech).


    Now, all of these steps will accelerate to the end point if a single terrorist incident is based on drone tech.


    So, what should you do?


    Build yourself a drone. Before they are made illegal.


    Why?


    One big reason is that drones/bots make the emergence of police states (as my tech thriller post on this topic shows) more likely since they allow a very small number of people to automate their control over a great many people. So, in order to ensure the future doesn't careen in that direction, we should democratize the technology as a counter-weight.


    The second observation Francis makes?


    "One somewhat worrying thing is that virtually all of this [drone] equipment comes from China or Taiwan."


    I actually think this is a good thing. It will slow down efforts to ban them.


    So, follow the trail blazed by Francis and build yourself a drone. If only to understand more about them. Before the government makes them illegal.
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    Default Re: Drones

    http://www.the-american-interest.com...maiden-flight/

    Published on February 12, 2012
    Surveillance Drone, Maiden Flight

    I’ve promised to write about the surveillance drone that I’ve been building over the past couple of months. I have always wanted to have my own drone that could send back a live video feed. This is partly inspired by products like the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven, which is currently in use by the US military, and which you can view in action here.

    The Raven is basically just a glorified RC airplane, with a sophisticated landing system that allows it to be recovered by a soldier without great pilot skills (which is one reason they cost around $35,000 each).

    To get to the bottom line, my drone has taken its first flights, the results of which you can see in a video of my office at Stanford and in a local park.
    When my kids were younger I looked into buying an RC helicopter for this purpose and actually tried to wire a camera on a car, but the consumer technology wasn’t up to snuff back then. Now it is.

    Instead of using an RC airplane I went with a helicopter for a couple of reasons. I could test the helicopter in my back yard, while an airplane would require a runway. Helicopters are better for precise, close-in surveillance because they can hover. The big drawback is that they are very hard to fly; indeed, learning to fly an RC helicopter is the single biggest impediment to the use of this kind of drone. (Among other reasons, they’re hard to fly because left and right switch meanings on the joystick when the helicopter is pointing toward you.)




    I slowly worked my way up the hierarchy of helicopters, from a Syma S107 to a Blade CX2 to a T-Rex 450 (pictured above) to a DJI Innovations F450 quadcopter (below), which is the platform I used for the videos. It is very difficult to learn to fly a helicopter without a simulator; I’ve logged quite a number of hours on RealFlight 6. While many people use the single main-rotor T-Rexs or their clones as platforms for cameras, they are not very stable; their main purpose is acrobatic flying (they can be flown upside down, among other things, because of the main rotor collective pitch). The practical implication of this is that you have to constantly repair your crashed helicopters, which costs lots of money and takes lots of time.


    The DJI F450 quadcopter on the other hand uses an extremely sophisticated Naza controller with a three-axis accelerometer that can sense where the machine is going, and automatically corrects for movement. As a result, they are stable and easy to fly. You still need basic piloting skills, and it is often hard, as with many quadcopters, to see where the nose is pointing, making it hard to maneuver properly when at the limit of visual range. But they hover beautifully and have the lifting capacity to loft a small digital recorder which I used for the videos above. I’m currently using an old Sony flip video camera.


    It is extremely easy to build a drone now that can do not just surveillance but can carry rather large payloads. If you want to see how large some of these planes get, check out this video of a model Airbus A380. I don’t have to spell out the implications of this. I want to have my drone before the government makes them illegal. The US has been fighting such low-tech enemies lately that we haven’t thought through the nature of a world in which lots of people have sophisticated drones, not just other countries but private individuals. One somewhat worrying thing is that virtually all of this equipment comes from China or Taiwan.

    The next stage in this project is to equip the drone with telemetry. I’ve bought the package that includes a real time video transmitter and receiver, camera, and telemetry system that will send back GPS data on the drone’s location, heading, airspeed, etc. This requires, among other things, a ham radio license. Stay tuned.
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    Default Re: Drones

    Fly almost anything. lol

    http://www.amateurradio.com/your-own-drone/

    Check the video out.
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    Default Re: Drones

    Here's the site and his "kit"

    http://jaspervanloenen.com/diy/
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    Default Re: Drones

    So, what I'm curious about, and it's nothing more than the broadest curiosity, is how to jam one of these drones. Suppose my neighbor is buzzing one around my windows...how do I broad spectrum jam the fucker out of the air? I don't want it to see GPS or Radio signals from its controller. I want it go blind and dive bomb into a tree.

    How do I go about that and how pissed off would the FCC be if they caught me?
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Drones

    1) I don't recommend it.... but....
    2) if you were have a reason to jam one, it is going to depend on the frequencies. Some use ham stuff, some use wifi. Typically, amateur bands used are VHF (144-148 mhz)
    3) Wifi - 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz ( I don't remember the actual channels atm)
    4) GPS is a bit more difficult to jam, you'll need a specialized transmitter or a spectrum analyzer system that can broadcast on it. (1575.42 MHz)
    5) Video transmissions using gopros are on wifi. ATV can be anything including microwaves.

    Basically to cause some problems... I'd shoot it down if it were buzzing my windows. Not breaking too many laws then.

    LOL

    Then again if someone is buzzing your window, I'd suggest a sling shot, some weights on the end of a high strength mono filiment line (like some fishing weights) with two or three lead lines (bola anyone) to wrap around the device and capture it). Drag that thing down and smash it with a hammer.

    Most people who fly them for fun are hobbyists, and they generally don't mess with other people. There have been "drones" or UAVs flying around since radio controls were available and planes could fly. Haven't you ever been to a place where they launch remote controlled aircraft? We used to fly them on the Air Force bases all the time, long, long before there were military UAVs.
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    Default Re: Drones

    See, I want to send out noise on every frequency at about 50000 watts just till the thing crashes
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
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    Default Re: Drones

    Oh, THAT is MUCH easier than.

    You just need to build a large spark-gap generator.

    They aren't difficult to build at all - though, they are illegal as well... but who cares? LOL

    You know anything about Tesla coils? That's all it is. They can be tuned to be specific frequencies, but, you want a wideband noise generator.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark-gap_transmitter

    http://www.teslacoildesign.com/

    Look over the schematics, don't get complicated. Simplify.

    It's easy. I can put something together in an afternoon if necessary
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    Default Re: Drones

    Spark gap transmitter

    Spark gap transmitters are the oldest type of radio transmitter made by man. They were first used around 1888 and remained legal until the 1920s when their use became greatly restricted. World War II delayed their complete ban outside of emergency communications for a few years. Now the only way to use them legally is inside a faraday cage. They operate as jammers for the same reason they were banned, they take up a lot of the radio spectrum.

    A spark gap transmitter is fairly simple. Send a high voltage current through an air gap, when the resistance of the air breaks down a spark will cross the gap. When this happens electromagnetic radiation is emitted. You can test this in your house fairly easily. Turn on some speakers so they are powered but nothing is coming out of them. Computer speakers that are on will work as will a stereo set to CD or tape with no CD or tape playing. Flip your room lights on and off in rapid succession, you should hear a clicking from the speakers. The clicking is RF energy that is being picked up from the light switch.

    Effective Range

    The range of this type of jammer is based on a few properties.

    • Antenna resonance
    • Field strength
    • Modulation
    • Terrain


    The antenna of this particular device will be more resonant on one frequency than others. As a result there will be more RF energy on that frequency, and harmonics or multiples of that frequency. The range for this frequency will be further than others. Using multiple antennas will cause the transmissions to be greater on more frequencies.

    The field strength, or amount of RF energy given off, is directly related to the difference in voltage between the two states. With the type of transmitter we are making one state will be totally off or 0 volts while the other will be on or the full voltage. It is not required to switch between an off and on state you may switch between a lower and higher voltage as well. The higher the input voltage the stronger the RF, the more range you will have. You have normal free space losses that all radio transmissions have which means that in order to double the effective range you will have to apply 4 times more power.

    Another consideration is the modulation that is being utilized. Modulation also includes some of the data that is carried over that mode such as digital data. FM signals for example will lock onto the strongest relative signal from the receivers point of view, a weaker but closer signal will appear stronger than a further but more powerful signal due to free space losses. FM can flip back and forth quickly between two stations that have a nearly equal signal strength at the receivers antenna and make it appear like it is mixing the two stations, the reality is that it is not. SSB will mix the two signals, while you may hear noise in with the desired audio you can still hear the desired audio. Spread spectrum will tolerate the most noise.

    Digital systems can be jammed even if the underlying modulation is not by introducing noise the decoding circuitry in the radio may not be able to decipher the bits correctly and reconstruct the message. This can result in heavy packet loss on that system rendering it unusable. Many digital systems are more sensitive to noise than their less sophisticated counterparts. Many digital systems are either FM or spread spectrum. FM is more often used for longer range applications.

    The specific type of system that you are trying to jam is important to know as it will tell you how much power you have to have and at what distance. The best way to determine what is suitable is to get a similar system and see how far it will work from the spark gap transmitter at a given power.

    Terrain includes buildings, trees and other objects that the radio signals will interact with. If you stash the spark gap transmitter in a metal box the signal will be attenuated compared to that same transmitter being placed in an open field. Elevation can also influence the distance the signal may go.

    Construction

    The construction of this type of spark gap generator is fairly simple. You should be able to get everything for under $50 new, used items may be even less expensive. You will need the following items:

    • high voltage source
    • batteries
    • small bit of wood to mount things on
    • small motor
    • a few nails or screws
    • wire


    The high voltage source could be an automotive ignition coil. This takes the battery or alternator output and makes the voltage much higher so that it will jump across the electrodes of a spark plug igniting the fuel. A spark plug is a spark gap, although it is not suitable in its current form as a radio jammer, it could be made into one.

    The battery should be suitable to run your high voltage source and the small motor. A motorcycle battery is smaller but will go dead faster than a larger car battery.

    The wood should be large enough to let you mount the ignition coil, motor and screws on. This can be any scrap wood or similar non-conductive material that you can find. It should be rigid enough that the components will not just fall apart although it does not have to be that strong. It's purpose is just to hold everything together. A block of cheese or dried mud would work if that is all you have available.

    The small motor can be anything from a vibrator out of an old pager or mobile phone, an electric fan or one you may find at an electronics or hobby store. It just has to have a shaft that allows mounting of a cross member onto.

    The first step will be to assemble the motor so that it will function the way you want. When mounting the cross member you should make sure that it is insulated from the rest of the motor either by a plastic shaft or a plastic mounting block. The rod can be a nail although you will want it equidistant from the center.
    You can see how the metal rod goes all the way through the plastic insulating block. You may install either one rod all the way through or two rods forming an X. If you install two rods you will have twice the sparks and thus the transmission cycle will be twice as great.

    Once the insulating block is mounted on the motor you should affix two other nails or screws on either side so that they almost touch the cross members you installed in the previous step. You do not want them touching but you do want them as close as possible. The closer the better. You should connect the motor to your battery and ensure that it can spin correctly with no problems and that it does not vibrate itself off of the wood.

    Now prepare your antenna. This is a length of wire cut to 1/4 wavelength of the desired target frequency. If you do not know the target frequency you can just make some guesses. You can also connect multiple antennas together to cover various frequencies. Remember you will have RF emitted on all frequencies it will just be more powerful on the frequencies that the antenna is resonant for. Mobile phones are about 0.5 inch antennas and older police radios are 2.86 inches. For a good spectrum coverage if you make antennas of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 inches most of the usable spectrum will be covered.

    Connect the antenna(s) that you made to one of the stationary side rods. To the other end you will need to connect a ground. This can be to a metal water pipe in your house or to a rod driven into the ground. If you do not have a ground the radio will still transmit although it will be at a slightly lower power.

    Now connect the output of the ignition coil to the stationary rods on either side of the motor. Connect the negative terminal to the ground side and the positive terminal to the side with the antenna(s). The idea here is that when the motor spins current will pass from one rod to the other and out the antenna. The motor will switch the output of the coil on and off in rapid succession.

    The last and final step is to connect the battery to the motor and the coil. You may optionally install a switch to turn the device on or off or you may just disconnect the battery.

    Remember building this is not illegal (in most places) but using it is. You will be causing harmful interference and probably upsetting people.
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    Default Re: Drones

    By the way, I believe that most transmitters controlling airplanes like this are pulse modulated or phase modulated (FM of a sort).

    FM tends to lock on to the loudest, strongest frequency.

    A device like the spark gap generator will create noise across the HF bands and up into VHF, perhaps into UHF, but as the frequency of the receiver goes up the signal to noise ratio increases on LF/HF generated noise.

    As an comparison, if you are listening to an AM radio and an FM radio you will hear a lightning strike (near by) as a loud crackle. The FM radio might hear a "pop".

    If it is distant (more than 20 miles usually) the AM will here a loud pop, the FM radio will hear nothing.
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    Default Re: Drones

    One final note, perhaps of caution.... (besides the fact that using this device is NOT legal in the US... the FCC will fine you if you use it and they catch you)... a Ham Radio operator with triangulation skills can probably find you in about 5 minutes using nothing more than a cheap transistor radio with a built in loopstick antenna, a map and a ruler and pencil.

    Just sayin'...
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    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
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    Super Moderator Malsua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drones

    Ah, Spark Gap generator. I knew there was something, and i've heard of that before, I just didn't realize it was an effective jammer.

    One of those designs is very interesting...putting a little motor on there and spinning it...wow that would make some racket.

    I don't have any intention of building one, I was just curious as to how one might go about it.
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    Default Re: Drones

    The design you're talking about is the original radio transmitter.

    That spark gap is used on tesla coils normally. I've built several of them.
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    Default Re: Drones

    Hit save too quick.

    The idea on the motor is that it can change the frequency of the spark. Thus, the faster the motor spins the higher the generated RF energy. So if you want to push the frequency up, get a DC motor that is capable of a several volts range, and the higher you turn up the voltage on the motor, the faster it spins.

    If you're at a relatively high speed - let's say 1000 rpm the approximate frequency will be.... lemme see... 1000 X 60 = 60000 hertz (cycles per second)... Also 60 KHz.

    (BTW - 60Khz is the WWVB radio time signal, located in Boulder Colorado, that most of the digital "radio" clocks use to get their time hack).
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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drones

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    So, what I'm curious about, and it's nothing more than the broadest curiosity, is how to jam one of these drones. Suppose my neighbor is buzzing one around my windows...how do I broad spectrum jam the fucker out of the air?

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