The ORT dual shield pro 5.8GHz antenna is unique take on goggle diversity antennas that allow for maximum portability and have surprisingly good performance. It consistents of two circular polarised patch antennas on a 3d printed mount that allows the antennas to attach directly to your goggles. They are available fairly widely but I bought from Banggood here because of their free and reliable international shipping since I don't live in the US. Although none of the components are ground breaking the way it all comes together is an awesome solution for getting up and flying quickly with little to no compromise. They are available in both left and right hand circular polarisation. Read on for more...
Most of the flying I do these days, for one reason or another is a quick 3-4 batteries, flying out of a grab bag that contains my small x-lite transmitter (review), Skyzone Sky03O goggles (review), batteries and only the very most essential field tools. This means my gear is always ready to go and I can fly new spots with just the smallest bit of spare time. When I get to a spot I can turn on my transmitter, strap on and plug in my battery but then I need to choose two antenna and screw them in place in the correct alignment (and repeat in reverse at the end of the session). Although this seems like a pointless moan it takes up valuable time I could be in the air and puts strain and wear on SMA connectors attached to my goggles.
The ORT dual shield pro antenna is the first diversity antenna system to address this inconvenience - this low profile mounted pair of patch antennas attaches directly to your goggles with 3m double sided tape, plugs into your SMA connectors and stays there - permanently. This means that you no longer need to plug and unplug your antennas meaning you get get flying quickly, leave quickly (especially if you are flying somewhere dodgy!) and place less wear and strain on connectors. It is very compact meaning it takes up only slightly more room that your goggles alone - only 15mm at its thickest point.
As you can see from all the images online it fits beautifully to the fatshark goggles but as you can see skyzone goggles are no issue nor are any goggles with a forward facing flat surface of around 40-50mm wide and 10-15mm high. So it's clear that this is a super convenient solution but what about performance? Freestyle? Micro? Racing?
Performance in general
Most of us running diversity use a patch and omni directional antenna. The patch antenna typically points directly in front of the goggles receiving video signal in a 'beam' of up to 120° whereas the omni directional antenna pickup up everything else - namely above and behind you. For example I've been using a Foxeer Lollipop 3 antenna for omnidirectional and a menaceRC invader for directional/patch. The ORT dual shield is two patches that run at an offset angle in order to pick up 180° in front of you both vertically and horizontally. The picture below can do a better job explaining this that me:
What this does mean is that there is a blind patch directly above and behind you. Due to the way that radio signal transmission and reception work you will not loose signal altogether if you fly behind but the signal quality is significantly reduced. On the upside, the video signal when flying in front of yourself will be excellent and will give you better quality 'penetrating' objects such as trees.
Check out my videos below, most of which is flying in front of myself in two different locations. The video on the left has text that clearly states when the quad is behind me.
Performance for freestyle
Both of the above videos are taken from my sweet spot 5 inch freestyle build here. Like most freestyle rigs I run a circular polarised antenna off a vtx with clean power supply which in the video was set to 100mW. As you can see the image while flying in front of me is VERY clear with practically no breakup even in some of the trickier areas I fly in. When flying behind myself it gets a little sketch but certainly doesn't drop out altogether. Freestyle quads are usually flown in all directions so with this antenna you need to be a little more disciplined in positioning yourself at the end or edge of a flying area. This is actually a good safety measure too as you have much less chance of flying into yourself (ask me how I know). You'll be rewarded with strong reception and with two direction antenna you have a much better chance of the signal penetrating trees and other obstacles as you can see from the video on the above left.
Performance for race
Since you are always positioned at the edge of a race track rather than the middle, there is no chance of flying behind yourself. Furthermore racers require low transmit power levels and need reliable reception. For both of these reasons the ORT dual shield pro is perfect for this application and you need to make no compromise whatsoever.
Performance for micros
In terms of where we fly micros it is most similar to freestyle so we need to follow the same rules as flying at the end/edge of the flying area. Furthermore micros often have small, lower powered VTXs that don't have as clear signal as their larger brethren and are typically equipped with linear dipole antennas such as the quad in this video above running 100mw. This usually makes it hard work for a CP omnidirectional antenna and patch although a linear patch like the menaceRC bandicoot I use helps. Again although there is a small amount if signal loss going from linear to polarised signal (3db to be exact) the advantage you get from having 2 patches seems to help the ORT dual shield overcome the mixed polarisation and results in a nice clear signal. Better yet you could always replace the linear whip with a micro CP antenna like the speedy bee UFL antenna which is only 2.2g in left or right polarisation
A very quick note on long range. These antenna will probably be ok but I'd rather get a little more specialised with a combination of 2 directional antennas, one similar to the a single ORT shield and one more direction like the VAS pepperbox I use.
Final thoughts and conclusion
I love the concept of improving convenience that this antenna offers, no longer do I need to choose, align and attach 2 antennas on my goggles every time I unpack my gear and then repeat the same at the end of the flight session. I was expecting something of a compromise with 2 patch antennas through and to an extent I got it - when flying behind yourself the performance is understandably poor although no so bad that you can't fly the quad back to a good reception zone. If you can change your behaviour to move to the edge of your flying area though you will get strong video reception and an excellent ability for the signal to penetrate objects, even when you are running a linear whip antenna on a micro.
For me convenience and minimal setup time is crucial and so I can give this setup no higher praise than using it to replace my current goggle antenna setup.
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