Boy, oh boy! What the BS is this. Here we are. After a short, unexpected delay and just some waiting, like many of you out there, I have finally gotten my hands on the Dronetag Beacon BS.
If you’re one of those waiting, the manufacturer has assured me that they are getting that backlog out as soon as possible. Demand skyrocketed and due to that supply fell short.
That’s a good problem to have. Right?
If you’re the Manufacturer it is, but as the drone pilot waiting, eh, not so much. Luckily for all of us, the FAA has placed a sort of moratorium on RID enforcement until March 16th, 2024.
As you may or may not be aware, we here at Droneblog have been reviewing, over the last summer, everyone’s favorite topic, Remote ID, and with that, Remote ID modules.
You’re welcome to go back and read those articles; it may just help you decide which one of these modules suits your needs and wallet best.
As a matter of fact, here are some links to them, just to make it easier.
For the most part, we’ve only really covered the self-contained modules. Today though, we’ll be looking at a different type of RID module.
The Dronetag Beacon BS, I know, right? I think the folks over at Dronetag were having a bit of fun when they named this one.
Despite what most of us think when we hear the term BS, you know Prairie Cakes, the Dronetag Beacon BS actually refers to Basic Solution.
As opposed to the self-contained modules that we looked at pretty thoroughly, this is one of the first that we have received that is meant to be installed into the aircraft and is not a self-contained system.
This type of module is intended for those within the RC flyer community and the homebuilders and FPV flyers.
There are a few ways this device can be configured and installed. Don’t worry we’ll cover that and more below!
As with any product, drone or otherwise, there are some drawbacks and some positives that always come along with them.
Here we have some of those pros and cons for the Dronetag Beacon BS.
- The Dronetag BS is a compact and user-friendly device that can be installed on any drone as a standalone Remote ID device.
- The device is Bluetooth-powered and has a broadcast range of 3 km, fully satisfying the FAA’s Remote ID requirements.
- The Dronetag Beacon BS is one of the most affordable solutions currently for drone hobbyists, aero-modelers, and FPV pilots alike to meet the FAA’s new Remote ID standards.
- The Dronetag Beacon BS is compatible with the easy-to-use Dronetag App for managing your drones and RID devices, as well as checking flight zones, and scanning for other active drones in your area.
- Dronetag Beacon BS is not suitable for people looking for a plug & play solution. It does require at least some basic electronic expertise to get it installed and up and running.
- The device is not compatible with DJI or any other branded off-the-shelf drones with sealed-off hardware. For such drones, the better option would be the much more costly self-contained module, the Dronetag Beacon, currently priced at $199.
- Although the device is not privacy-invasive, it does require some personal information to be shared with the company. Although, in our current world, this isn’t really a con per se, just kind of par for the course. But there are some who would see this as a con, which is why I have included it as such.
To sum it up, Dronetag is a very good company to work with. I have yet to have any issues with them or any of their products.
Even when I did have some questions, the team over at Dronetag was quick to respond and provided all the assistance they could.
As to the Beacon BS, it was fairly straightforward to install. No! I didn’t install it myself. My soldering skills are a bit, let’s say, unrefined.
Oh, heck, that’s putting it nicely. If you just want a big blob of solder, I’m your guy.
No, we had our tech guy Chris, or, better known as SkyFoxFPVulpine help us in that regard. He does all my repairs, and yes, he’s really good at it.
He immediately knew just what everything was out of the package and, in about 20 minutes was able to complete the task, and we were good to go.
Upon the first use, it did take a moment or two to connect, and it’s important that you make sure the firmware is up to date.
After that, though, we were able to find ourselves on the app and track the module.
For the $89 and the fact that it is now mandatory, Dronetag has presented us with a fine product that is easy to install and use.
So, although there may be a few, a couple, er, one other module that is less expensive, you can buy with confidence that Dronetag is doing it right. Even if it may take a little bit to arrive.
Who is it for?
That is a very good question, who is it for! Well, the homebuilders, the RC flyers, those fixed-winged fellas and gals out there.
In other words, anyone who is not able to affix one of the self-contained modules, such as the ones we’ve already reviewed, either due to the size or weight of those self-contained modules.
You can also look at it this way. Flyers that fall into this group, hey, you’re saving a bit, as most of the self-contained modules are running a bit higher than this one. T
he pricing of those starts at $130 and goes up from there.
» MORE: How to Get Remote ID for Drones
The Dronetag Beacon BS is a 1-gram device which, once installed into your aircraft of choice, will bring your craft into Remote ID compliance, with the required Bluetooth Direct / Broadcast RID.
It has two external antennas, one for Bluetooth and one for GNSS positioning.
It has an option for a separate power source or can be wired directly into the aircraft itself and its onboard power system.
The Dronetag Beacon BS is so flexible that you can use it on any drone you use.
Built into the Dronetag Beacon BS is a small amount of flash memory, which allows it to store a few hours of flight log data, which, if need be, can be exported for later use.
It also has a built-in supercapacitor to maintain its GPS fix for up to 7 mins.
This is actually a nice feature that is built-in as most FPV aircraft have short battery runs, and you won’t lose that GPS lock while swapping batteries and then having to wait for it to lock again.
With a Mobile App available, you can quickly access the settings or update the firmware.
It also works with Betaflight, with plans in the near future to work as a telemetry module for systems using Futaba, Spektrum radio controllers, through the JST connector.
- Remote ID types: Direct (EU) / Broadcast (US)
- Short-range radio: Bluetooth 2.4GHz
- Average current consumption: 15 mA
- Maximum current consumption: 50 mA
- Mounting: Adhesive or velcro
- Operating temperature: -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to 185°F)
- Dimensions: 17 x 14 x 5 mm (0.66 x 0.55 x 0.19 in)
- Weight: 1 gram (0.035 oz) excl. antennas and battery
- Supported baud rates: Standard ones, configurable in the Dronetag app
- Input voltage: 3.3 – 17V
- Input voltage regulator: Low-noise buck converter
- Remote ID Standards: ASD-STAN EN 4709-002 & ASTM F3411-22
- Certifications: Uses FCC/CE-approved radio module.
- Remote ID technology: Bluetooth 4.0 Legacy + 5.0 Long Range
In my personal opinion, this is a fantastic solution for the FAA-required Remote ID. It is cost-effective and functional.
One of the best aspects of it is if ever questioned about whether you are compliant or not, you can say with confidence that you do indeed have your BS attached.
After all, what’s life without a little bit of humor?
The fact is, Dronetag has worked very hard and has dedicated itself to being the leader of the Remote ID module manufacturers, and it has set a prime example of how it should be done.
As a result of this, it has created a product line of some of the best modules we’ve seen come to market and has diligently worked to assist pilots even after the purchase is made by developing an app that provides an ease-of-use factor.
We’re just not seeing that with all of the rest of the modules coming out.
The Dronetag Beacon BS is, like all of their products, made of quality materials and not only meets the FAA requirement for Remote ID but also exceeds that requirement.
Let’s look into the features of the Beacon BS a little bit.
As I mentioned above, one of the very best features found on the Dronetag Beacon BS is probably the built-in supercapacitor, as this allows for the pilot to conduct a battery swap without having to then wait for the module to reacquire the GPS connection.
Brilliant, since, typically with the limited flight time of an FPV quad, you wouldn’t want to wait for that reacquisition.
Another of the features that stand out with the Beacon BS is the optional power supply.
You can opt to either use the onboard VIN or an external single-cell LiPo battery, as shown in one of the photos above.
Although in most cases, wiring into the onboard power supply is the optimal setup, having that option is nice and allows you, the pilot, to disable the module if flying in an environment where Remote ID is not required, such as indoors.
Now, if you’ve ever flown FPV, you are aware of what Betaflight is. Our friends over at Dronetag thought about that too!
With the addition of an M10 module from U-Blox, this little add-on allows for GNSS integration to a Betaflight controller, with the planned addition of adding telemetry for Futaba and Spektrum.
There is just a whole lot going on on that tiny little circuit board.
Ultimately, what we are left with is it a good buy for you. Well, yes! Hey, I know there are a lot of pilots out there who find the whole Remote ID thing to be BS.
Well, here’s your BS, your Beacon BS, that is.
It does not matter what side of the aisle you are on with Remote ID. It’s here, and as a drone pilot, it’s entirely up to you to be in compliance with the regulations; that doesn’t translate to you having to like said regulations.
If you’re a conscientious pilot, you want to be doing everything you can to be within the regulations as they have been put forth.
The Dronetag Beacon BS offers us that option and at a price point that won’t necessarily break the bank.
For the price of the Dronetag Beacon BS, you’re certainly getting your money’s worth from the purchase price, from a company that has very good standing within our industry.
They have provided quality products from the beginning with excellent customer service added in.
From a company standpoint, they have provided us with all the tools we could ask for to be within FAA-required compliance.
Although for many of you out there, myself included, there are aspects of Remote ID that I find to be distasteful and not well thought out.
To be fair, we do need to recognize that the airspace that we once called our own will soon – ok, maybe not as soon as some think – will become crowded at some point and such a tracking system will be necessary to keep those using that airspace safe.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!