Backpack Groundstation Build

Backpack Groundstation Build

I wanted a compact, but complete groundstation and this is the result. The idea was to keep it somewhat modular and have the receivers and antennae up high on a tripod (or in this case, a light stand) while all the diversity equipment and monitor remained at eye level. Up on the tripod is a junction box that routes all power and signals through a single CAT-5 cable. Another CAT-5 cable from the junction box in the backpack provides power and signal to my Attitude goggles. Everything is powered from a single hardcase 5000mAh LiPo battery that fits nicely into the side pocket of the pack, and will pretty much last an entire day of flying provided I remember to shut down the groundstation in between flights.

 

Since I wasnt planning on using audio for anything, and being concerned about voltage drop and signal degradation, I doubled up the power connections on the CAT-5 keystones: 2 each for 12v, and ground, and then single connections for each of the receivers signal (RX1 signal & GND, RX2 signal & GND). In the junction box for the backpack, the CAT-5 keystones get broken out to RCA connectors for ease in connecting to other video equipment. I'm currently using an Eagletree Eagleeyes box. The chunk of PCB in the box is used as a simple power distribution board.

 

Everything else gets plugged into the Eagletree: 25mW 5.8gHz repeater, ReadymadeRC DVR, and a 7" (or is it 8"?) monitor. Switches under the monitor can switch each of these components on/off as well as a master power switch which shuts the whole thing down. A volt/amp meter keeps tabs on the juice. A simple terminal strip distrubutes power and a 2A fuse provides some protection. Added a 5v USB port as well for phone charging or whatever. The board is black chalkboard from Home Depot. The backpack is from Amazon

 

 

To switch from 5.8 to 1.3 (or vise-versa) is as simple as unplugging the CAT-5 from one jack on the antenna stalk and switching to the other. All power and signal get routed into CAT-5 which gets split out in the junction box. The Eagletree box provides the diversity switching and everything that I need access to remains at eye level.

I'm very happy with the way this turned out and it's served me well for over a year now. This winter I have plans to re-jigger the placement and make it a little neater, but overall it's been great. 

 

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