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RF Bands & Frequencies

FormationFlight runs in multiple frequency bands using different radio systems. Given the nature of the system and its supported hardware, please be advised that use of the project is restricted to licensed amateur radio practitioners, and that it is your responsibility to conform with all applicable regulations for the environment where you'll be operating.

Frequency allocations and settings for the system can be seen in the following files:

Notably, the 2.4GHz frequency allocation & bandwidth used put FormationFlight below the 2.4GHz ISM band into the 13-centimeter amateur radio band. Operation in this band without a license is not permitted.


FormationFlight is offered on a range of hardware and radio systems. We strongly recommend 2.4GHz LoRa for the majority of users, as its ~10km range is more than sufficient for the majority of cases.

The estimates here consider the default transmit power (10dB for LoRa), and no occlusion. Your performance may vary.

Radio Type Adjustments Estimated Sensitivity Estimated Gain Adjustment Estimated Ideal Range
ESPNOW PCB Antenna -80dBm -20dB 200m
ESPNOW External Antenna -80dBm -12dB 500m
2.4GHz LoRa Ceramic Antenna -107dBm -5dB 5km
2.4GHz LoRa Dipole Antenna -107dBm 0dB 10km
2.4GHz LoRa LNA + Dipole -107dBm +10dB 25km
900MHz LoRa Dipole Antenna -117dBm 0dB 95km
433MHz LoRa Dipole Antenna -117dBm 0dB 200km


ESPNOW is a protocol built in to ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers. It's a short-range simple protocol for ad-hoc messaging. FormationFlight supports using both LoRa and ESPNOW. However, as of version 4.0.x, simultaneous use of LoRa and ESPNOW is not supported. It can be enabled manually, but it causes the internal timing and synchronization system to go awry. In the future, each radio protocol should have its own synchronization system so that ESPNOW & LoRa can be used simultaneously, and users with different LoRa frequencies can still fly together.