One of the many things that separate the Spark from other drones in the DJI consumer line of aircraft is limit in range. DJI states that the video transmission signal has an unobstructed LOS range of 1.2 miles.
I have verified this:
Limitations of the Sparks range aren’t always caused by hardware however. The Spark supports 2 modes depending on the region the Spark thinks it is in. In the U.S., FCC mode is used and is the less restrictive mode. In Europe and other parts of the world, CE mode is used. CE restrictions have spawned ways to software modding the Spark to use FCC mode irrespective of region. There are other modifications that will also allow the Spark to fly faster.
There are also hardware based limitations that affect the Sparks performance. Flying the Spark using just a mobile device will restrict the range and speed of the Spark.
Using the Spark Remote Controller in conjunction with a mobile device will allow the Spark to fly out to its regional limit which for the U.S. is 1.2 miles in FCC Mode which is 28 dBm @ 630.96 mW of power. In CE Mode with the RC, .3 miles is max range with 14 dBm @ 25.12 mW of power.
There are things you can do to the RC to make it a better listener. The cheapest way is to get a couple of $9 parabolic reflectors like this:
On the other end of antenna mod spectrum, for about $100 there are products like the 4hawks Raptor that claim to provide an 8-10 dBi gain and 4x range:
The Spark Side
Over at DJI Mods – The Spark Side (it is private but petition if interested) a member named Matt Adamiak took the 4hawks antenna mod one step further:
Both channels get powered Sunhans dual band amplifiers, giving a full 2W of extra power.
He hasn’t taken this rig for a ride yet, but I’m following his progress and will update when results are posted.
Also published on Medium.