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Corey

RF amplifier...

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Sorry, me again... This is what happens when you get good information, more questions! Can I use an RF signal amplifier on the receiver side rather than aircraft side? I was looking at a 5.8 signal amplifier that boosts the signal to 1W but it's a pretty hefty unit and wouldn't work on the aircraft. I thought I'd read some info about this but can't seem to find it. Can I put it between the ground antenna and the receiver?

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Yes you can. However it's useless getting an amp with 1W output. What is important is the amp's gain and noise figure.

An amplifier can only amplify a certain amount, for example one with 15dB gain will give an output signal that is 32x stronger than the input. This means that to get 1W output, you need about 30mW at the input. However, the signal received by an antenna is several orders of magnitude lower.

So, such an amplifier is interesting only for transmitting. Also, even if it was possible, sending 1W into the receiver would destroy it as it's expecting very weak signals.

What you need is an amp that is designed for RX side preamplification, and favors low noise instead of output power.

I have used some for the 2.4GHz band and got good results. No idea about availability of good units for 5.8GHz. But one thing to consider is that when using such an amplifier you need to be in VERY clean RF environments, as every interference signal is amplified just as much as the signal you want. If the environment is noisy, you won't see a difference with the amp and without, as the interference will always be just as strong as your signal.

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As Kilrah said you can get an amp for the RX but it may not help, the main thing is the signal to noise ratio. I would steer clear of using an amp unless you need to run a co-ax cable of more than 6" between the aerial and the RX (which you dont) or your RX is very poor (which is not likely).

Terry

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