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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:49 pm 
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This might have been a laughable question a week ago, but after watching the NOVA program "Rise of the Drones" and an assortment of long format news reports I can see how this might have a role in some peoples preps.

First, I'm not referring to big pilotless aircraft like GlobalHawk, Predators or Reapers, but smaller buy or build your own model airplane Radio Controlled aircraft. http://www.dji-innovations.com/products ... gn=phantom

When I ran the Narcotics Affairs Section in Venezuela, I tried getting a SkySeer RPV for one of our local LEO partners. Typical of Latin America, most of the decent homes were surrounded by highwalls, so drug traffickers were able to use large houses as staging areas for drug trans-shipments. This would have given them the ability to peek over the wall and intercept the shipments.

I can imagine that something with a 2 mile range would be great for a person who has a 40 or 50 acre BOL for doing perimeter security patrols. You could plug in GPS way points , just launch and watch the video link. Or if I lived in an area prone to large scale disasters, floods, it could be a handy way to conduct damage assessment without having to drive around.

http://diydrones.com/

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/12/h ... o-arrests/

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:01 pm 
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That's pretty awesome.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:25 pm 
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Actually, I was considering on purchasing this exact thing, and also wandered of its potential as a surveillance/recon device.
I saw promo videos on youtube, and it was impressive.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:25 pm 
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Evan the Diplomat wrote:
This might have been a laughable question a week ago, but after watching the NOVA program "Rise of the Drones" and an assortment of long format news reports I can see how this might have a role in some peoples preps.

First, I'm not referring to big pilotless aircraft like GlobalHawk, Predators or Reapers, but smaller buy or build your own model airplane Radio Controlled aircraft. http://www.dji-innovations.com/products ... gn=phantom

When I ran the Narcotics Affairs Section in Venezuela, I tried getting a SkySeer RPV for one of our local LEO partners. Typical of Latin America, most of the decent homes were surrounded by highwalls, so drug traffickers were able to use large houses as staging areas for drug trans-shipments. This would have given them the ability to peek over the wall and intercept the shipments.

I can imagine that something with a 2 mile range would be great for a person who has a 40 or 50 acre BOL for doing perimeter security patrols. You could plug in GPS way points , just launch and watch the video link. Or if I lived in an area prone to large scale disasters, floods, it could be a handy way to conduct damage assessment without having to drive around.

http://diydrones.com/

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/12/h ... o-arrests/


When they get down to Airhogs prices but prosumer quality, yes. But not for my preps. I just want to screw around with one like these guys.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:23 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:

When they get down to Airhogs prices but prosumer quality, yes. But not for my preps. I just want to screw around with one like these guys.


I was poking around the DIY Drone site and this is a sub $500 RPV

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Last edited by Evan the Diplomat on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:27 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Evan the Diplomat wrote:
This might have been a laughable question a week ago, but after watching the NOVA program "Rise of the Drones" and an assortment of long format news reports I can see how this might have a role in some peoples preps.

First, I'm not referring to big pilotless aircraft like GlobalHawk, Predators or Reapers, but smaller buy or build your own model airplane Radio Controlled aircraft. http://www.dji-innovations.com/products ... gn=phantom

When I ran the Narcotics Affairs Section in Venezuela, I tried getting a SkySeer RPV for one of our local LEO partners. Typical of Latin America, most of the decent homes were surrounded by highwalls, so drug traffickers were able to use large houses as staging areas for drug trans-shipments. This would have given them the ability to peek over the wall and intercept the shipments.

I can imagine that something with a 2 mile range would be great for a person who has a 40 or 50 acre BOL for doing perimeter security patrols. You could plug in GPS way points , just launch and watch the video link. Or if I lived in an area prone to large scale disasters, floods, it could be a handy way to conduct damage assessment without having to drive around.

http://diydrones.com/

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/12/h ... o-arrests/


When they get down to Airhogs prices but prosumer quality, yes. But not for my preps. I just want to screw around with one like these guys.


That was amazing!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:12 pm 
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Oooh, this is a subject I'm quite familiar with. I worked with and trained people on several systems like this.

Capabilities: Imagery, sometimes live video, able to cover about 1 square kilometer of open, flat, unobstructed ground.

Limitations:
More or less LOS only. Even the system that weren't supposed to be were basically LOS.
Imagery is basically shit.
Everyone withing 300m if the thing knows its there, and a skilled wingshooter can take one down. I use the terms "skilled" and "wingshooter" loosely in this case. Illiterate farmers with 50 year old Baikal 16ga shotguns who fired maybe 10-20 rounds per year could shoot most of them down.
There is a lot of equipment necessary for these things. Lots of battery power and antennasd especially.
Hang time is about an hour, often less, and landing is basically crashing and hoping you don't fuck it up. The ones we used were relatively fragile. Other models may not be, but you'll need spare parts. And electricity.
When your S2 decides to fly one overhead the screaming engine and extremely visible object making the noise become the definition of "actively compromised."

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:27 pm 
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The helicopter that operates on waypoints is awesome. If you hooked that up with a dozen cheap wireless annunciator, then you would be able to cover a good bit of ground.

Automated stuff is wonderful.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:18 pm 
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A friend and I had jokingly considered investing in a drone. My main thing being that it would be handy to see over hills. So instead of scouting areas I think might be dangerous, I could fly my "drone" through, over or into the area. And if it get's shot down, well, then I know not to go that way. And then just a couple of days ago my father bought me a hobby grade entry level battery helicopter (a little over 2 feet in size). And the thing is a blast to fly. I am a little more serious about getting a bigger one and sinking some cash in it now. It seems like the kind of prep that I'll do after I have other things squared away better (which will be never, you know how it is). It might be a viable option, or a venting post at lease for the crazy gun nuts :oops: . If we can't spend thousands on guns and ammo, maybe we need a new hobby. Drones!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:29 pm 
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A friend and I had jokingly considered investing in a drone. My main thing being that it would be handy to see over hills. So instead of scouting areas I think might be dangerous, I could fly my "drone" through, over or into the area. And if it get's shot down, well, then I know not to go that way. And then just a couple of days ago my father bought me a hobby grade entry level battery helicopter (a little over 2 feet in size). And the thing is a blast to fly. I am a little more serious about getting a bigger one and sinking some cash in it now. It seems like the kind of prep that I'll do after I have other things squared away better (which will be never, you know how it is). It might be a viable option, or a venting post at lease for the crazy gun nuts :oops: . If we can't spend thousands on guns and ammo, maybe we need a new hobby. Drones!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:52 pm 
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I want one!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:47 pm 
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I hope I'm not over over-simplifying things here, but where I am, I can get just as much situational awareness from a long gravel road. The only clear avenue of approach is the afore mentioned road and anyone going down that is going to make a heckuva racket (even with all the background noise from normal house operation [air conditioners and such]). Even if someone were to walk down the road, and I didn't hear them, the dogs would, as they have many times before. We live about 1/4 mile from the pavement and I can attest to the fact that as soon as someone pulls off onto the gravel, my dogs go on alert whether or not they are inside at the time.

I'm not completely shooting down (pardon the pun) the idea of aerial survailence as it has a high cool factor and may serve some needs like rapid inspection of fence lines over a large distance, but if someone were to try to hit us by any other approach, they would have to navigate through the yaupon/thorn vine infested forest around our property. I believe any opportunists would go by road first, as going through our woods would take forever and a good machete.

I could see a use for it in more open terrain like you would find in West TX, but even there, I believe it's effectivness would be limited. Unless you could keep it in the air 24hrs a day I think your chances of actually spotting near-do-wells would be hit or miss at best especially when you consider most W.TX ranches are 400+ acers and anything smaller can be covered by by foot/horse/4-wheeler, and using it at night would necesitate the use of a NV or thermal unit which would put it beyond the reach of most people.

All-in-all I don't think the idea is without merit, but I just don't think it would have wide enough utility (at least down here).

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:34 pm 
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http://vimeo.com/57940210

Dunno how to embed Vimeo on here, but this drones eye coverage of the 2013 WRC Monte Carlo event should give the skeptics an idea of how useful this sort of thing can be.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:51 pm 
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DJH wrote:
http://vimeo.com/57940210

Dunno how to embed Vimeo on here, but this drones eye coverage of the 2013 WRC Monte Carlo event should give the skeptics an idea of how useful this sort of thing can be.


Hey, I admit, those images are stunning and the cinematography is great, but I would ask the director of photography what equipment he was using. If the cost of those cameras is under $10,000 I'd be amazed.

Edit* In fact I had to give that video a second look just because of how cool it was, but again, you have to bear in mind the difference between professional photography and the average home user. I have an aunt who use to shoot for Architectural Digest and just her cameras alone were worth around $30,000. If they said they took those shot using a $150 rig I'd be all-in but I highly doubt it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:10 pm 
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DJH wrote:
http://vimeo.com/57940210

Dunno how to embed Vimeo on here, but this drones eye coverage of the 2013 WRC Monte Carlo event should give the skeptics an idea of how useful this sort of thing can be.

I followed them to their website. The drone they used for that shoot appears to be the 32,000 Euro model ($43k USD, +/-) not counting the ground equipment. Didn't look like it came with the transmission equipment either, and there's no way it has a ceiling of more than 200 feet to get that kind of shot. Assuming you can fly it right out of the box. it's a great system, and much cheaper than a blimp, but that rig is nowhere NEAR what we're talking about in terms of feasibility and usability for our average user. Oh, and it didn't look like any of them came with the cameras, just the equipment to mount them and transmit to a receiver.

I have used a $300,000 system before, and they suffer from the same problems I listed above. Making it a helicopter just makes it slower and I'd wager less wind resistant. These were the same discussions we were having with the development teams after using the systems. If you have the clear LOS and unobstructed flat areas to run a drone like this, you might be better served by a couple pairs of binoculars and better, safer roof access.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:30 pm 
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Doc Fab is right. Any drone that the average person can realistically afford is extremely limited. I'm one of the mods on DIY drones and I even posted some of my work here on ZS. I can tell you that your biggest limits are range of your transmitters, both for control and for your vision system. If you have a HAM license, you can use some transmitters that will get you 3-4 miles, but your ground station (RC controller, video receiver, display, batteries) is going to weigh in at at least 10 lbs, then you have lug around the aircraft too.

If you are planning on using one for bugging in, save your money and put a camera on a pole, a lot cheaper, little training required, and you won't crash it into a tree.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:02 am 
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Thing is, expensive as it is now, the tech will become more cost effective and available. I mean, look at regular digital video cameras. Those were out of the affordable price range for many less than 10 years ago, but now our cellphones have better tech than those initial models.

I'm sure that in the next few years this kind of thing will become more attainable.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:20 am 
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Here's a second vid a friend of mine (the driver of the car involved) was part of - they used a similar drone setup, although I believe they rented theirs. Much lower budget.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:24 am 
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DJH wrote:
Thing is, expensive as it is now, the tech will become more cost effective and available. I mean, look at regular digital video cameras. Those were out of the affordable price range for many less than 10 years ago, but now our cellphones have better tech than those initial models.

I'm sure that in the next few years this kind of thing will become more attainable.

Doesn't solve the power, training, and noise concerns.

Don't get me wrong. I hate drones for a plethora of reasons, and tactical applications are only a portion of that. If it's a hobby or interest, by all means, enjoy. Don't fall into the pit of telling yourself it's a prep item if it's a hobby though. I see the purpose it might serve, but for the near future I think the limitations outweigh the benefits by far, as a prep item.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:27 am 
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Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
*snip* for the near future I think the limitations outweigh the benefits by far, as a prep item.


This I agree with.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:58 am 
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Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
DJH wrote:
Don't fall into the pit of telling yourself it's a prep item if it's a hobby though.
Wait, does that apply to all preps? Because if so, then, um, I think I may have bought just one or two "unnecessary" things. Maybe.

I like the drone idea! It brings out the kid in me. And for those with cash to burn, I could see it being a useful item. Recon is super important, right? So how can a device that offers you high-rez recon without endangering your life NOT be useful.

Also, you can confuse a moose!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:02 am 
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DJH wrote:
Here's a second vid :words: :words: :words: :words:



I'm sorry. What were we talking about? :awesome:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:22 am 
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Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
Everyone withing 300m if the thing knows its there


This would be my main concern. As cool as it is, I feel like it's saying "here's where I am". I feel like someone could follow it back to your location or at least start heading in the right direction.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
Doesn't solve the power, training, and noise concerns.

Don't get me wrong. I hate drones for a plethora of reasons, and tactical applications are only a portion of that. If it's a hobby or interest, by all means, enjoy. Don't fall into the pit of telling yourself it's a prep item if it's a hobby though. I see the purpose it might serve, but for the near future I think the limitations outweigh the benefits by far, as a prep item.


I think the moose video (I'm guessing shot from a quadcopter) shows that the video quality is better than "basically shit" and the operator (some college age hobbyists I'm guessing) was skilled enough to navigate it into a stand of trees and it was quiet enough and discreet enough not to spook a moose. The video was linked back to a base station where the giggling pilot was but it didn't seem to need huge antennas.

That said, it was a flat frozen riverbed, the distance didn't seem to be more than a kilometer, there was no video showing the landing and most consumer level products seem to only have a 60 minute flight time.

Clearly not practical as a tactical prep, but imagine you launch one of these like the Phantom that follow GPS points. You watch the video feed as you have breakfast and this gizmo is saving you the trouble of riding the fences to see what you have to add for the morning's work list.

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