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Nov 01, 2017, 05:36 PM
Gary James
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A Taranis RSSI Save

A Taranis RSSI “Save”

I thought you guys might enjoy this story.

Last Monday, my racing partner and I went out to the field to maiden his new “Proud Bird” EF-1 racer in preparation for a race this weekend. It is equipped with a FrSky Taranis X9D+ transmitter and an S6R stabilizing receiver.

It flew great and only required a few clicks of trim to get it flying straight. On the second flight, he was flying a bit too high and wide. Not low, close and down on the pylons. He glanced down at his transmitter for a second or two to try to find the switch that controlled the stabilizing function and when he looked back the airplane was quite far away and he was not able to determine the attitude or direction. These little suckers are FAST! I tried to get it back for him, but with my aging “fighter pilot eyeballs” it was too far away for me as well. A fly-away and a lost airplane…  The most depressing sounds that you can hear are “RSSI critical” and “telemetry lost”. (RSSI is an acronym for Radio Signal Strength Indication) Needless to say we were depressed. We figured that it went down about a mile or more East of the field, so after packing up and leaving the field we drove over to a State highway that was about 1 ½ miles East. There were a couple of gravel roads leading back West from the highway so we drove down them to the end, with the faint hope that we might catch a glimpse of the “remains”. Down the end of the second and last road, with the transmitter still on, the haptic vibrator buzzed and speaker announced “RSSI critical” and “telemetry recovered”. WOW! The battery is still connected and the S6R is still transmitting!

We stepped out of the car, and called up the transmitter page which shows the RSSI indication. Yep, there was a faint signal! Now the cool part. With the transmitter facing me, I cupped my hand around the upright antenna such that my hand shielded the signal from any direction except to my front. By then turning and facing in various directions around the compass, and watching the RSSI indication, I was able to get a general idea of where the signal was originating. With my hand cupped around the antenna, the transmitter was acting as a directional receiver. After walking about 50 yards in the general direction, I again checked the signal strength left, right and straight ahead, found the direction of the strongest reception and started walking that way. The RSSI was getting STRONGER!!! After repeating these steps a couple of times and walking about ¼ mile or more I stopped once again. This time the signal was strongest off to my left, I turned, walked about 25 yards and there it was. The airplane had crash landed in a cow pasture, it was damaged, but all the “expensive parts” were there and undamaged. It will fly again!

So there you have it, the RSSI capability of the FrSky transmitters allowed us to recover several hundred dollars in equipment that would have otherwise been lost. This save alone more than paid for the cost of the transmitter. This is not the first time that I have found a “lost” airplane using this technique. I lost a multi-rotor a while back and found it using the same method. Try doing THAT with your $2000 radio…
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Nov 01, 2017, 06:11 PM
Registered User
Well done! My Taranis has a removable antenna. I should make a directional one to use for that kind of search.

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