Long Range seems to be coming back into vogue these days with some 5inch and smaller quads now claiming 20 to 30minute flight times.
It used to be that if you wanted long range you’d use one of the UHF systems: EzUHF, Dragonlink, OpenLRS, etc. About four years ago TBS released their Crossfire system, 868MHz/915MHz, which was more suited to five inch quads as the receivers and antennas are much smaller than the 433MHz stuff.
In the last few months ImmersionRC started touting their Ghost system which uses LoRa technology on 2.4GHz, with tiny receivers and tiny efficient antennas, but I’ve been seeing reports of non-recoverable failsafes, not good if you’re flying a mission as even if the model returns under GPS control you won’t be able to retake control but rather wait for the battery to deplete and the model to glide/fall back to Earth.
In the last few weeks TBS have announced their 2.4GHz Tracer system, and it’s available to buy in the UK, which the Ghost system isn’t yet. On top of that it’s fully integrated into OpenTX using standard CRSF Lua scripts, something else which Ghost isn’t. It can also be used with the Tango controllers using an optional connector for the module bay. Trappy isn’t touting it as a long range system but rather as a very low latency (4ms) race/freestyle system, however he has said they have tested out to 50km.
I think the Tracer module is selling for about £69 and the receivers are about £26. There is a bundle deal incorporating the module, three receivers, and six dipole antennas (the receivers are diversity receivers) for about £129.
So will current Crossfire users be switching from 868MHz/915MHz, with only 1MHz bandwidth and floppy antennas, to the 2.4GHz Tracer with its 60MHz of bandwidth and smaller antennas more suited for those smaller builds?
From a RF and quad point of view if the Tracer system holds up to Trappy’s claims it’s a win-win solution for those wanting long range and even those just wanting a strong reliable connection in an RF congested environment such as those found at large racing and freestyle events.