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Measuring Video Transmitter (vTx) RF power and checking antenna performance are two things a lot of FPV'ers would like to do. ImmersionRC sells a nice RF Power Meter but its $150 USD price tag is a problem for most hobby budgets. But I have low cost solution for you. How about a DiY digital RF Power meter for less than $30 USD? Its 433MHz to 5.8GHz frequency range means it can handle all your FPV devices. Max input level is 0dBm, but much higher RF power is acceptable with an external attenuator (budget $20). And it can measure antenna VSWR if you add a RF Directional Coupler (budget $65). Here's what it looks like: Here's an example of a VSWR measurement. Just a couple keypad presses is all it takes to measure the antenna: The 3D printed plastic case shown above is not required, but looks fantastic. Inside is a Arduino Mega R3 board ($12), LCD/Keyboard shield ($3), and AD8318 RF power sensor board ($12). These parts are available from from eBay and Banggood retailers. Assembly involves soldering 3 wires, 2 resistors, and a capacitor. Then flash the firmware using the Arduino Mega's built-in USB port. Low cost and quick assembly, who doesn't love that? Edit: This DIY RF Power Meter project has been reprinted in the March 2018 (issue 57) CQ-DATV online magazine. See pages 20-29: https://cq-datv.mobi/DownloadIt.php?id=57&ver=pdf
I've decided to create a talking skull for Halloween. Anyone that wants to do this will find that the internet is full of DiY instructions on building one. But I prefer to roll my own designs, so I started fresh. After all, the adventure in creating such things is all part of the fun. First I needed a skull (with or without a body) that had a hinged jaw. These are easy to find this time of year (Halloween season). The local big box hardware store was advertising a five foot posable skeleton for only $30US that would have been nice to use. But they were out of stock, so instead I purchased a four foot animated Grim Reaper prop from them. The Grim Reaper already had a animated jaw (with a spooky audio voice) and LED eyes. Overall a fantastic deal for only $20. Too bad its clever technology will be ripped out and replaced with entirely new hardware. Here's what I got: I bought it at my local Home Depot store: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Home-Accents-Holiday-48-in-Hanging-Animated-Grim-Reaper-with-Lights-and-Sound-4302-48222HD/205828002