How Antenna Gain affects Range in FPV

How Antenna Gain affects Range in FPV

Antenna acquire determines your most vary, nevertheless antennas don’t merely amplify radio indicators with out prices, it simply modifications the radiation sample which is a trade-off between protection and vary.

An ultimate isotropic antenna with 0dB acquire, radiates sign equally in all instructions with zero losses (consider a sphere). But it doesn’t exist, there are instructions wherein an actual antenna will radiate the strongest, and others wherein it doesn’t radiate in any respect.

This is why a typical omni-directional antenna would have a low acquire between 0dB to 3dB, and it may radiate sign pretty evenly in nearly all instructions, extra like a doughnut form however not an ideal sphere.

Directional antennas have a lot larger acquire, and so they focus the sign into one path in an effort to obtain extra vary.

Every antenna receives the identical method because it transmits, so an antenna’s reception acquire is all the time the identical as its transmission acquire.

For a primary overview of FPV antennas, be certain that to take a look at these guides:

Antenna acquire is the measure of antenna energy in decibel (dB), which is the same as 10*log(Pout/Pin).

Don’t fear about it, simply keep in mind that the upper the acquire, the extra directional an antenna is – extra vary, narrower beam width.

A 3dB improve in acquire doubles the sign energy, and a 6dB improve doubles the vary. However, as talked about, directional antennas aren’t amplifiers. It’s solely focusing all of the vitality right into a narrower beam.

A water balloon is an effective instance.

The quantity is the entire energy of your VTX (or consider it because the sign protection), and it doesn’t change regardless of the way you squeeze it or pull it, it’s nonetheless the identical quantity of water in there.

By utilizing an antenna of various acquire and radiation sample, merely modifications the form of the balloon. The balloon would possibly grow to be longer, however the width turns into narrower, and so the entire quantity remains to be the identical.

A distinct analogy could be a light-weight bulb vs. a torch, which symbolize an omni-directional antenna and a directional antenna.

Although sign reception turns into narrower with elevated antenna acquire, a typical method is to make use of a range receiver. It permits a number of antennas working collectively, continually checking sign power of every antenna and decide the one with the strongest sign. This method now we have longer vary and wider protection.

Once you perceive the essential idea, you’ll be able to try how to use antenna gain (in dB) to estimate range.

Every antenna has a special radiation sample.

A radiation sample of the hypothetical isotropic antenna at 0db acquire. It’s an almost excellent sphere in each vertical and horizontal axis.


This is a typical omni-directional 3dB rubber duck antenna. Notice it has vital sign loss on the highest and backside (90/270 diploma). Similar radiation sample applies to most omni-directional FPV antennas on the market.

As you’ll be able to see the acquire really modifications will depend on the path you have a look at it. So once we converse of an antenna’s acquire, we actually imply its most acquire in a sure path.


In 3D this radiation sample appears to be like like a doughnut 🙂

And right here now we have a directional antenna of 8dB (a patch antenna). As you’ll be able to see, majority of the sign focuses on one path, and never a lot vary on the different finish.


There are usually 2 methods to extend vary of your FPV system: to extend the ability of the video transmitter, or use larger acquire antenna on the receiver finish.

Increasing VTX energy could be the very last thing I’d recommend, just because it may not be authorized, and it’ll devour extra energy and generate extra warmth. Try upgrading your antennas first and discover one of the best mixture on your particular software and flying model.

It’s a typical observe to make use of an omni-directional antenna (low acquire) and a directional antenna (excessive acquire) collectively on a range receiver. This brings one of the best of each worlds, nice protection and lengthy vary.

Edit History

  • Oct 2013 – article created
  • May 2017 – article revised
  • Feb 2019 – article up to date
  • May 2021 – revised