change FrSky Taranis X9D Plus Antenna Upgrade

Frsky‘s x9d plus has a stock of 2dB antennas, which is usually good enough for most pilots, but not everyone. When you try to push the limits of your radio’s range, you will want the maximum power you can get. Since the output power of the radio is fixed at 100MW, the best you can do is upgrade the antenna to a 5dB antenna with pigtails, so you can even upgrade to a higher antenna if you need to.

In this how to series, we’ll look at how to change the frsky Taranis x9d plus antenna upgrade.

Risk warning

Please note that this is a very dangerous modification and many people have reported that their Taranis radio has been damaged due to the extremely high ESD sensitivity of the RF components in the transmitter part of the radio. These parts are easily damaged by small spikes of voltage, just like your body’s electrostatic discharge.

That’s why I recommend using an “antistatic wristband” to handle sensitive RF components or any similar electronics. If your Taranis station provides a good enough range, it’s best to stay away from this mod, because it’s not a mod that your station has to.

Be careful!

Why use 5dB antenna first?

The radiation mode of 2dB antenna is very small, and it can not provide the maximum range that radio can provide. This is due to the lower gain, which allows the signal to spread to more areas rather than concentrate on a highly focused beam.

When you replace a 2dB dipole antenna with a 5dB dipole antenna, you focus the radiation pattern in a more focused beam, which provides a larger range on one plane and narrows the range on the other.

It’s a double-edged sword. From one point of view, it will provide you with a longer range. If you adjust the antenna direction correctly, the direction of flight, but on the other hand, if the antenna direction does not match your direction, your TV reception will be worse, a little more than the 2 dB antenna transmitting signals.

The above picture (provided by Oscar Liang) shows the difference of radiation mode between 2dB antenna and 5dB antenna. As you can see, the 2dB antenna has a wider pattern but has a shorter distance, while the 5dB antenna has a shorter pattern but at a longer distance.

I suggest you buy several antennas to see which one suits you best.

Take your radio apart

To remove your x9d radio, first remove all the screws on the back of the radio.

Once finished, turn on the radio and be careful not to damage the wires. Disconnect all connections between the two parts of the radio.

Disassembly and assembly of antenna

Beat yourself up before you continue!!

The antenna lines are thick black lines as shown in the figure above.

Remove the wire carefully and do not damage or interfere with nearby components.

Once the antenna is desolate, you can put it from the top socket. The antenna has two fixed clips, you just press them with pliers and push it out of the socket.

The image above (from Oscar Liang) shows how to remove the antenna by squeezing the clip inward to release the clip mechanism.

Add new 5dB antenna

Now you can repeat these steps back. First, pass the pigtail connector through the antenna hole on the transmitter housing, and then carefully solder the pigtail back to the RF PCB.

During welding, the core wire of the coaxial cable is welded to the middle pad on the PCB, and the grounding shield wire around the core wire is welded to the grounding pad beside the signal pad on the PCB. This process should be very careful not to damage the components, remember to maintain grounding, so as not to damage the sensitive RF components of the device.

Once completed, hot melt all parts to protect it from damage.

Check SWR (RAS)

In order to check whether the installation process has been completed correctly, we need to check the standing wave ratio, that is, the standing wave ratio, which is the measured value of the signal transmitted from the antenna and the signal reflected back. Ideally, this value should be between 0 and 1.

If the antenna has been damaged or improperly welded, the SWR value will be greater than 1. Usually a value around 1 is OK, just make sure it’s not too big (like 2 or 3). If you place any metal objects near the antenna, the SWR will increase again, so that’s OK.

You can check the station’s SWR in the simulation test page (page 7) of the station settings. It is named RAS in opentx or related antenna state.

In this article, we’ve seen how to: upgrade the frsky Taranis x9d plus antenna, why it’s useful for you, why 5dB antennas offer better range than 2dB, and how to upgrade carefully.

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