UAV Frequency Bands

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Drone data link bands. Digital data link. Control station radio link. UHF line of sight for most applications. Some use of UHF/SHF bands as well as various license-free remote control RC R/C, short range device (SRD) or low power civilian frequency bands, often vaguely referred to as “ISM bands”, “Part 15 bands”, “UHF”, “L-band” (which just means “1-2 GHz”), “S-band” (which means “2-4 GHz”). Note that military standardization including NATO bands do not use these same designators, D-band / E-band / F-band referring to the 1-2 GHz band, 2-3 GHz band and 3-4 GHz band respectively.

900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz are extremely popular due to their relatively high power output capability and wide bandwidth for high definition broadband transmission back to the control station, mesh network operation, use of frequency hopping, etc. These bands are sometimes simply called "sub-GHz" (for 900 MHz - 902-928 MHz), the 2.4G band (for 2.4 GHz - 2400 MHz - 2483.5 MHz or 2400 MHz - 2500 MHz), 5G band (not to be confused with 5G mobile systems) for the 5 GHz band, and 5.8G for the 5.8 GHz band (5725 MHz - 5875 MHz / 5.725 GHz - 5.875 GHz). Good examples of this include the DJI drone systems, which use the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands for uplink and downlink, 2400 MHz - 2483.5 MHz and 5725 MHz - 5850 MHz, respectively.

  • License free UAV bands UAS frequency bands drone data link list VHF/UHF/SHF LOS - Line of Sight and BLOS - Beyond Line of Sight (using either satellite-based control links and/or another UAV/UAS or drone operating a radio relay to increase range.

Range is significantly impacted by the drone’s altitude, the elevation of the control station’s transmitter antenna or antennas, the frequency or frequencies used, antenna performance, obstructions in between the control station and the drone as well as noise and interference on the frequency band(s) in use. Noise and interference may be unintentional (heavily congested license free spectrum) or it may be intentional interference (jamming, electronic warfare (EW) jammers or “radio suppression” may significantly degrade the signal to noise ratio enough to reduce effective range and/or interfere with navigation systems such as GPS (jamming or spoofing).

Note that not all frequencies are available in all areas. For example, in the United States, the 433 MHz band is allocated to the amateur radio service and is also used for military radar purposes, and the 900 MHz band is shared between ham radio (33cm band), Part 15 license free voice and data systems as well as Part 90 radiolocation, fixed point-to-point systems, long range cordless phones, telemetry, remote control and other services.

  • 900 MHz band: 902 MHz - 928 MHz - including Mesh networks such as Meshtastic, LoRa, etc.
  • 2.4 GHz band: 2400 MHz - 2500 MHz 2.4 GHz - 2.5 GHz
  • 5 GHz band: various allocations 5000 MHz - 5725 MHz - sometimes called the 5-6 GHz band.
  • 5.8 GHz band: 5725 MHz - 5875 MHz 5.725 GHz - 5.875 MHz
  • Below 900 MHz Bands:
  • SRD860 band: 865 MHz - 870 MHz
  • LPD433 band: 433.050 MHz - 434.775 MHz (433-435 MHz) or 433MHz band 433.92 MHz
  • Mesh rider radio waveform bands, WiFi / Wi-Fi compliance 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
  • M bands - Full frequency range 1625 MHz - 2510 MHz 1.625 GHz - 2.51 GHz
  • M1 band: 1625 MHz - 1725 MHz - 1.7 GHz band
  • M2 band: 1780 MHz - 1850 MHz - 1.8 GHz band
  • M3 band: 2025 MHz - 2110 MHz - 2.0 GHz band
  • M4 band: 2200 MHz - 2290 MHz - 2.2 GHz band
  • M5 band: 2310 MHz - 2390 MHz - 2.3 GHz band
  • M6 band: 2400 MHz - 2510 MHz (2.4 GHz band overlap)
  • Narrowband remote control frequency bands, including
  • the European CEPT standardized bands:
  • 35 MHz RC band - 34.995 MHz - 35.225 MHz (100mW power limit)
  • 72 MHz RC band - country specific
  • Various country-specific bands from 26-28 MHz, 29.7-50 MHz bands and various 137-174 MHz, 420-470 MHz bands, 800MHz, 900MHz, others.

  • U.S. Part 95 RCRS 27 MHz band 26-28 MHz (high power long range ground to air control channel, very long range 50-100+ km - channel bandwidth limit 8 kHz

possible with 4w / 25w frequencies antenna may be mounted up to 60 feet (18.3 m) above ground.

  • U.S. Part 95 RCRS 72MHz VHF band 50 frequency channels specifically for controlling aircraft 750mW power, antenna may be mounted up to 60 feet (18.3m) above ground. Channel bandwidth limited to 8 kHz.
  • U.S. Part 95 MURS VHF service narrowband control links, ground to air only. 2 watt power limit, no antenna gain limit, antenna may be up to 60 feet above ground. 3 channels with 11.25 kHz channel bandwidth, 2 channels with 20 kHz channel bandwidth. Very long range ground-to-air control radio links possible using VHF allocations.

  • 3 MHz, 5 MHz, 10 MHz and 20 MHz channel bandwidths available. Command and control datalink channel URLLC Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Control. Encryption Level 1 FIPS 140-3 compliance.

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