We received a shipment of Cyclone racing antennas a few days ago from Video Aerial Systems. So far there is not much information about these anywhere, so we are trying to fill the gap with this article to do a physical comparison between the three flagship racing antennas: RaceSpec, Duraspec and Cyclone.
But first let get some answers from VAS on some of the most pressing questions:
What are these Cyclone antennas?
The official announcement is the following:
“The Cyclone antenna is the highest performing Omni Directional antenna at the entry level price point. While the Cyclone has a Gain of only 0.71dbic it boasts a mind blowing Axial Ratio of 0.94 making it the most Circular Omni Directional antenna on the market at any price point.
Originally designed with the Professional Aerial Photographer in mind, the Cyclone’s Axial Ratio makes the Cyclone ideal for the Hobbyist looking to fly in previously “un-flyable” terrain or environments. Indoor, Underground and Urban flying present special circumstances that the Hobbyist must find “work-around” to fly comfortably, the Cyclone excels in these types of environments. We recommend only experienced pilots place the Cyclone on their Race Quads, but anyone flying Fixed Wing or larger AP platforms will love the performance of this antenna and should have this RF marvel in their arsenal.
Durability may be an issue for those newer race pilots who tend to crash a lot, and is therefore not recommended as a beginner transmit antenna, unless mounted to the vehicle per our instructions. The Cyclone makes on heck of a receiver antenna and anyone looking for a new one should take a serious look at the Cyclone. The Cyclone can be used as a Transmit or Receive antenna, no need to question which one of the pair goes where.”
Since they mention durability in the above announcement and we have all seem the video of Alex trying real hard to destroy the Duraspec antenna, I posed the question to VAS:
Are these Antennas indestructible just like the Duraspec?
Here is the answer: “It is durable, however we do not claim it to be Unbreakable. As you know the operators in this hobby could destroy a titanium frame if they put their mind to it. The antenna head will survive most any crash but the SMA may fail on impact.”
There you have it. So the design of the antenna head and casing around the antennas active elements are to withstand most of the crashes you can throw at them, it is logical that the SMA connector is the weak point – like on any other antenna. However I think that the benefit of using these antennas in difficult environment – as described above – will outweigh the weak link of the SMA connector and crimping.
Now, let’s see how is this antenna different design wise to the other two flagship antennas from VAS.
The above table helps identify how tall these antennas will stick out from your quad. Of course on smaller – 150-180 size quads one tends to install shorter antennas – avoiding to stick the antenna head out un-proportionally above the quad.
|The diameter of the Duraspec head is about 45mm.||The diameter of the Cyclone head is about 50mm.||The diameter of the Racespec head is about 33mm.|
The size of the head of the antenna is really important for several reasons. Once – and not negligible – even with todays very powerful motors, is the air resistance. The bigger the head is the more air resistant it is. the more air pressure on the antenna head, the more torque (if installed vertically up) is applied to the SMA connector – or the shaft of the antenna. Also the heavier and more air resistance to the head, the (again if installed vertically without any additional guying or anchors) the antenna shaft moves just a tiny bit with every movement of the quad, this in a longer run will enlarge the pin/hole combination on the SMA connector and make it an erratic connection. On the other hand we also have to consider the lifespan of these antennas – it is very unlikely that one will survive crashes long enough to enlarge the hole on the SMA connector 🙂 🙂 🙂 The Racespec antenna will excel here, as it does not have a bulky protective case around it and air can flow freely around it.
|The Duraspec antenna's head is 24mm tall.||The Cyclone antennas head is only 21.65mm tall.|
For the same consideration as above the height of the head is just as important as the diameter. We did not measure the Racespec, because that does not have considerable air resistance.
That’s all the measurements for today. I hope this clearly describes the mechanical differences between the antennas.
Many asked about the performance of the Cyclone antennas. Here is a quote from a guy on facebook (Shane Matthews – thank you) who already tried it:
“The antenna is awesome. I have some rejected ones that didn’t pass QC from Alex and they are still better performing than any other antenna I have ever used. I highly recommend.“
Updated on April 25th:
To do a fair comparison between two identical priced antennas on the market, we prepared a video over the weekend where we compared the ImmersionRC/Fat Shark Spironet antenna set to the above described Cyclone antenna set. The video with the results is embedded below. Please note the following:
- – both tests were flown with exactly the same quad, same battery
- – both tests were flown with the same power output – 25mW race-band TX, on channel 4 to be around the middle of the band.
- – recording on both tests was done with the Dominator V3 goggles built in DVR, and the receiver in both cases was the standard Raceband RX module from Fat Shark
- – for both tests we used a brand new antenna set out of the box – one was the LHCP Spironet set, the other was the LHCP Cyclone set
- – I tried to match the flying course to show the results dropouts, cutouts in the identical spots and tried to line up the videos to match this.
- – the first flight was the one on the left- with spironets – after we swapped the antennas on both transmitter and goggles and executed the second test.
I think this is the most fair test I can imagine to compare these two antenna sets. So if we call the iBcrazy Cyclones are an excellent set of antennas – the in all fairness we have to call out the Spironets from Immersion/Fat Shark being and performing at least the same good. So you folks who own Spironets out there – do not feel intimidated by the folks with Cyclone antennas on their quads. 🙂
Here is the video: