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Dronetag Beacon Ongoing Observations and Discussions

This is not what the FAA told me, nor how the device inventory is designed. Given that there is no database field for a chassis/airframe identifier, there is then no way to tell what RID would match to what airframe.
If there's no database field anyway, what difference does it make? If they're right, then all they know is that something is flying at such an altitude, heading, etc.

Frankly, I have my doubts about the advice that FAA is giving. I'm not sure they even know the questions, much less the answers, when it comes to RID. Getting straight answers on this issue is like pulling teeth.

I think the best solution we can home for is that Dronetag and other companies come up with a way to create pseudo serial numbers that can be assigned to multiple drones.
 
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So I have a theoretical question...If I am in the wilderness without my own cell connection to a tower somewhere, does RID work? With ADSB on a GA aircraft, the aircraft itself connects to other aircraft without the need for a land-based connection, such as cell towers or the internet.
Just wondering about how the RID theoretically is supposed to work in such cases.
I tested that scenario today. The short answer is that the app has almost no functionality without a mobile data signal, and that the user preferences are lost because apparently they're not stored on the device when it does have Internet.

That sounds like a place where some improvements could be made, @Jan Jiroušek . Saving the user's preferences to the device would be easy enough to do and make it somewhat useful even when no data signal exists.

On the positive side, when the flight is started manually by pressing the button on the device, it does broadcast enough information to still be minimally FAA-compliant.

I have a page on one of my sites with a more-complete review that has all the information in more detail. It's the site on my profile. The Dronetag Beacon review is in the drop-down labeled "Gear and Tools." Full disclosure: I own that site.
 
Flight testing worked fine. No interference with GPS or WiFi, no weird handling.

For the first test, I burned through a battery ascending to 385 AGL, hovering, descending, and ascending again without landing, with both the Dronetag and the strobe on, and the drone was only off by about eight inches from the starting point when I landed.
 
This is not what the FAA told me, nor how the device inventory is designed. Given that there is no database field for a chassis/airframe identifier, there is then no way to tell what RID would match to what airframe.

On a related topic, when the last rep asked me what UAS I was trying to register (Evo 2), they told me I didn't need a RID. I had to gently get them to follow along and understand models and serial numbers, since all mine are v1.
In my opinion, any drone not equipped with RID because it was made before RID was decided on, should not need a module for RID if flown recreational. Rec flyers are registered with one number for all their drones whereas 107 commercial flyers have to register each drone and their serial numbers.

My point is an older drone should not be grounded due to not having RID. It should fall under the same rules as sub 250g drones that don't need RID when flown for rec.
 
I figured this device deserved a thread of its own since it's one of the earlier RID modules that meets FAA and EU requirements, and because I have one.

My own contributions will be somewhat rambling as I just got the thing yesterday. I've only flown one short test flight with it mounted, and probably won't be flying any more any time soon because of WX.

Here's a picture of the temporary mounting location I chose (aircraft is an EVO II Pro 6K).

View attachment 16150

I am considering plans for a better location. I just stuck it there for testing.

Some initial observations:

The Dronetag Beacon appears to require opening an account with the manufacturer and associating the device with a drone before it will work. After that, it did work once (which was the one time I tried it) using only the button on the module itself.

Registration requires only an email address and password, appears to conform to EU privacy laws, and appears to be able to be deleted if the user desires. Associated devices and drones can also be added or deleted as the user desires. Advanced analytics is enabled by default, but opting out is easy.

The basic account is free. There are paid options that don't seem to provide anything of value to me based on a quick glance.

The iOS app doesn't especially suck. It does offer flight planning and claims to provide controlled airspace information, as well as information about other drones that have elected to make their flight data public. I haven't tested those claims and probably won't any time soon because I live in the sticks.

On the other hand, I do resent devices that require me to install apps, mainly for privacy reasons. This one seems more respectful of privacy than most, however (at least on iOS), presumably because of EU law and Apple's policies. It only requested Bluetooth and Notification permissions.

The iOS app also works on iPad (at least on my iPad Pro 11-inch with Cellular). It didn't request location permission, so presumably it only gets that from the RID module. That also means that at most, only the operator's location at takeoff would be transmitted, because the app itself doesn't request location permission.

There also is a Web app. Other than logging into it and verifying that it is in sync with my account, I haven't tested it.

Both the iPad compatibility and the fact that the app doesn't request location permission make the mobile app more tolerable to me because unlike my phone, I don't have my iPad with me and turned on everywhere I go. So even if I decide that I love the app (unlikely, but one never knows), I don't have to carry it with me everywhere. It can be compartmentalized, as it were.

Distances and weights are metric by default but selectable for Imperial if desired. Mission radius and max altitude are also user-selectable. The settings are saved to the account, so they're synced across the various apps. I don't know whether they're also saved to the device itself.

One can plan a flight on the app, and the device will automatically start the flight when telemetry is received. That assumes that one is using the app and has a cell connection on a device that's present at the location. That could be a handy feature for some, although it's not one that I personally need.

That's all that comes to mind off the top of my head. Additional flight testing is unlikely for at least a few days due to weather.

Why does the Dronetag Beacon look so tall on top of your EVO II? According to their website it’s .6” tall. Maybe it just looks taller in the picture?
 
I'm still flying the Phantom 4 Pro and perfectly satisfied with it— even for commercial use. It irks me that Remote ID (RID) is forcing me to purchase a sketchy velcro-attachable, relatively expensive, tiny plastic box that broadcasts to everyone— even those with nefarious intent— my controller's location. I have no problem broadcasting to law enforcement... but broadcasting to everyone doesn't seem wise. Not to mention how RID will minimize the resale value of the Phantom. Thanks for allowing me to vent— I feel a little better now. ;)

Still deciding whether to purchase a RID module for the Phantom or purchase a new drone. How about you? Regarding the Beacon module... they appear to be sold out everywhere? Any suggestions as to a reputable place in the US to purchase one... even if on backorder?
 
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This is not what the FAA told me, nor how the device inventory is designed. Given that there is no database field for a chassis/airframe identifier, there is then no way to tell what RID would match to what airframe.

On a related topic, when the last rep asked me what UAS I was trying to register (Evo 2), they told me I didn't need a RID. I had to gently get them to follow along and understand models and serial numbers, since all mine are v1.

When flown recreationally the RID is transferable. Drones flown solely for recreational purpose can share the same serial number, just move the RID module to the one in use for that flight. If flown commercially, each drone must have its own ID, ser. number, etc. ALL can be found here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/remote_id - Flying recreationally in an FAA approved Community Based Organization area does not require RID at all.
 
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I'm still flying the Phantom 4 Pro and perfectly satisfied with it— even for commercial use. It irks me that Remote ID (RID) is forcing me to purchase a sketchy velcro-attachable, relatively expensive, tiny plastic box that broadcasts to everyone— even those with nefarious intent— my controller's location. I have no problem broadcasting to law enforcement... but broadcasting to everyone doesn't seem wise. Not to mention how RID will minimize the resale value of the Phantom. Thanks for allowing me to vent— I feel a little better now. ;)

Still deciding whether to purchase a RID module for the Phantom or purchase a new drone. How about you? Regarding the Beacon module... they appear to sold out everywhere? Any suggestions as to a reputable place in the US to purchase one... even if on backorder?
I would wait a bit for the module. I think the options will increase prior to the deadline, plus I think the deadline might be extended since the market cannot meet demand in time for the deadline. IMHO
 
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I'm still flying the Phantom 4 Pro and perfectly satisfied with it— even for commercial use. It irks me that Remote ID (RID) is forcing me to purchase a sketchy velcro-attachable, relatively expensive, tiny plastic box that broadcasts to everyone— even those with nefarious intent— my controller's location. I have no problem broadcasting to law enforcement... but broadcasting to everyone doesn't seem wise. Not to mention how RID will minimize the resale value of the Phantom. Thanks for allowing me to vent— I feel a little better now. ;)

Still deciding whether to purchase a RID module for the Phantom or purchase a new drone. How about you? Regarding the Beacon module... they appear to sold out everywhere? Any suggestions as to a reputable place in the US to purchase one... even if on backorder?
I bought mine from Vertigo Drones. I've always found them reliable.
 
I would wait a bit for the module. I think the options will increase prior to the deadline, plus I think the deadline might be extended since the market cannot meet demand in time for the deadline. IMHO
This. ^^^^^
 
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Still deciding whether to purchase a RID module for the Phantom or purchase a new drone.
Definitely buy the RID module for the P4P, instead of purchasing an RID broadcasting drone! External modules do NOT broadcast the pilot’s position, and unlike the built in RID, they are not required to continuously broadcast the pilot's position! Only the drone manufacturer's RID is required to continuously update RID with the location of the RC, which must therefore also have GPS built into it to be manufacturer RID compliant!

The launch location is still broadcast by both types of RID from the GPS in the drone at launch. However, with the external module, you can launch and immediately move away to a discreet secondary location, for an undisturbed flight, for your personal safety, to prevent both Karen confrontations and robbery!
 
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I'm still flying the Phantom 4 Pro and perfectly satisfied with it— even for commercial use. It irks me that Remote ID (RID) is forcing me to purchase a sketchy velcro-attachable, relatively expensive, tiny plastic box that broadcasts to everyone— even those with nefarious intent— my controller's location. I have no problem broadcasting to law enforcement... but broadcasting to everyone doesn't seem wise. Not to mention how RID will minimize the resale value of the Phantom. Thanks for allowing me to vent— I feel a little better now. ;)

Still deciding whether to purchase a RID module for the Phantom or purchase a new drone. How about you? Regarding the Beacon module... they appear to sold out everywhere? Any suggestions as to a reputable place in the US to purchase one... even if on backorder?
I recently had a little accident and backed my Autel EVO with Dronetag mounted into a limb and it fell about 15-20 feet. The Dronetag and battery came off the drone. Even though the Velcro is pretty secure, it can come apart in an accident. I was thinking about augmenting the RID with electrical tape or a strong rubber band. Also, you have to push down hard on the Velcro because it is the hard industrial type.
 
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I would wait a bit for the module. I think the options will increase prior to the deadline, plus I think the deadline might be extended since the market cannot meet demand in time for the deadline. IMHO
I appreciate the sharing of your perspective, DroneRat. Thanks much!
 
Definitely buy the RID module for the P4P, instead of purchasing an RID broadcasting drone! External modules do NOT broadcast the pilot’s position, and unlike the built in RID, they are not required to continuously broadcast the pilot's position! Only the drone manufacturer's RID is required to continuously update RID with the location of the RC, which must therefore also have GPS built into it to be manufacturer RID compliant!

The launch location is still broadcast by both types of RID from the GPS in the drone at launch. However, with the external module, you can launch and immediately move away to a discreet secondary location, for an undisturbed flight, for your personal safety, to prevent both Karen confrontations and robbery!
Thanks for schooling me on the fact that external modules like the Beacon do NOT broadcast the pilot’s position, G_G— that's great news! Definitely going to stick with the ol'Phantom, then!
 
I made a number of flights with a Dronetag Beacon attached to the top of my Evo 2 Enterprise V2 with Dual 640R thermal camera. I also used the Dronetag App on my iPad 11 Pro for each different flight. I selected a location and Fly Now option. A few questions... 1. Any way to change the start and end time for a flight? The app seems to assign the duration. I haven't figured out how to can change it. Also, when I launch the web app to see the flight data, the flights are all categorized as "CANCELLED". See attached screen capture. I am guessing I must be doing something wrong. Thoughts? Thanks!
 

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