USGS Aero Wireless

Posted by Sam Churchill on


WiFiNetNews says a North Carolina research firm is flying drones into Mt St. Helens, using Wi-Fi for telemetry.



RTI International will fly drones with cameras and Wi-Fi equipment over Mt. St. Helens. The drones will form an in-air network and will be able to relay to ground stations. RTI is working on the project for Advanced Ceramics Research in Tucson, Ariz. ACR’s client on the Mount St. Helens project is The U.S. Geological Survey.



The Silver Fox UAV uses both 900 Mhz and 1.7 GHz, not WiFi, as reported by WiFiNetNews (pdf specs).

  • Command and Control Radio: Up to 2 Watt, Discrete/Frequency Agile, Military Band / ISM Band Radio Modem (900mhz)
  • Command and Control Radio Range: 20 nm, Line of Sight (LOS)
  • Video Transmitter: 2 Watt (Optional 5W), S-Band FM Video TX With Optional 19.2 kbps Data Carrier
  • Video Transmission Frequency Range: 1.7 GHz, S-Band, L-Band
  • Video System Range: 20 nm
  • Payload Capacity: 5 lbs 2.27 kg


The autotracking antenna is way cool. Just imagine what they could do with 802.16e. Here’s your chance, Intel!

One of the RTI’s challenges is to operate the equipment using less than 10 watts, said Daniel Stevenson, RTI’s director of the Center for Advanced Network Research. The 12-month project is at the halfway point now. The relay network has yet to be tested outside the laboratory setting. The maiden voyage takes place in late August.  


The Silver Fox UAV is nothing new. DailyWireless wrote about its deployment at Mt. St Helens last year. The new thing, apparently, is that the drones will form an in-air network, able to relay to ground stations, sometimes “hundreds of miles back to a ground station”.

Other DailyWireless stories include, UAVs Expand Role, 24hr UAV Coverage, Tsunami Mapping, Earthquake First Responders, WiFi ID Tracking, Intel and Location-Based Projects, Mobile Satellite Access, Battle Blimps, Stratellite Sold, Plasma Antennas, Tagging Photos with GPS, Skyhook Locates by WiFi, More Google Map Hacks, 100 Mile WiFi Video?, Panoramic EventCam, Wireless 360 Video, and WiFi Caravan II.


Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, July 27th, 2005 at 9:27 am .

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