Agreed about drones. The relatively short flight time of typical quadcopter drones severely limits their usefulness for nodes. But, as you say, balloons may be useful. How about a ground-tethered balloon of the sort that various retail establishments use to advertise sales?
The short flight times of most quadcopter drones make fixed wing UAS a better choice for any need for persistent capabilities, like supporting a stationary relay node.
However, quadcopters possess real advantages for building node networks in several specific areas. Their VTOL capabilities make them easier to fly at proposed sites. Quadcopters can hold a set altitude and position pretty closely, making it easier to get good data on the suitability of a site and antenna height.
Hi, Just got my new Mesh pair. I tried using it on a canyon hike. At 0.5 miles, I couldn’t get a message thru, until I hiked 50 feet up the hillside. Besides going up, are there any other tricks to better connections in a canyon?
As with any uhf radio system altitude and line of sight produce better results. Also keeping the unit away from your body will help.