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I'm interested in mesh networking of poorly controllable autonomous aerial vehicles (like blimps), so i wonder whether it is viable to use a phased antenna array versus a few traditional directional antennas (say, Yagi-Uda) directed with RC servos, to communicate between ground and other aerial vehicles, that use solar+battery power. AFAIU, GHz-range amplifiers aren't really efficient, and phase shifting may be challenging, but i'm getting lost in the marketing speak when i'm trying to understand whether there are new developments in this area.

The question is not about the theoretical limits of the phased arrays, but about the state-of-the-art hardware and technologies available to a hobbyist.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I understand exactly what your question is. Are you asking if it is feasible for a hobbyist to do? I would say no, in general I don't think that technology is widely used outside of the Military currently. \$\endgroup\$ – jramsay42 Sep 12 '18 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ What problem are you trying to solve? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Sep 12 '18 at 10:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka low power high bandwidth long range digital communications to changing locations. \$\endgroup\$ – L29Ah Sep 12 '18 at 11:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @L29Ah I'm not sure what the kind of bandwidth you need is, but even just designing wide band phase-shifters is a real challenge and typically involves expensive CAD software. \$\endgroup\$ – jramsay42 Sep 12 '18 at 11:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very hot topic in research right now. I seem to remember at IMS2018 a number of groups, including facebook, presenting work on phased-array/massive-MIMO stuff. Perhaps that could be a good place to start looking \$\endgroup\$ – Joren Vaes Sep 12 '18 at 11:42

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