In 2014, Gary McDonogh the owner of Hobby Centre located in South Africa began getting enquiries from local fisherman on how a drone could be used to deliver a bait over a long distance. Initially Gary did not think much of it but having researched this further, he found the Aero Kontiki from New Zealand popped up as the only drone in the world that was being used for bait delivery. At this time the only consumer drone available was the early Phantom from DJI, but it was expensive compared to the local bait boats which were predominantly used for freshwater angling.
Having been an avid RC model aviator for over 30 years, Gary decided to expand his shops direction into building drones and utilising local materials. The first quadcopter Gary produced was named the AFRICAN Quadcopter, as the frame parts could be found anywhere in AFRICA. Gary began building these drones in-house. These early drones had a simple box mounted underneath that could be filled with fish feed like corn.
It didn’t take long for stories to get back to Gary about how freshwater anglers were starting to drop baits further than casting distance in rock and surf conditions. In 2015 Gary developed the REVO MKI which was the very first Cuta-Copter model and was distributed and sold through angling stores. Shortly after the rock and surf market exploded in SA for drone use, and other bait release products also entered the market that could be used with off the shelf drones like DJI. At this time consumers started to place more emphasis on waterproof fishing drones. In response to this demand the new look Cuta-Copter REVO 4 and Matrix were developed which featured advanced di-electric resin sealed electronics – these new models were sold very successfully in 2019.
With competition from new players in the waterproof fishing drone market increasing, Gary continued his research and development, always striving for perfection. Built on Gary’s years of experience, the all new Cuta-Copter EX-1 was developed utilising the tried and tested robust Cuta-Copter platform. EX-1 now features the ultimate protection of double water-proofing and double floatation. In addition, a new weather resistant 10 channel radio, ARDUCOPTER flight controller and digital camera have also been used. The updated flight electronics package now enables flight modes such follow me, auto land, auto take off and boat landing mode. Additional safety features include low battery to launch function, App display and verbal warnings such as low battery, geofence breach or magnetic interference detected to name only a few.
Main Features and Benefits of the Cuta-Copter Ex-1
- Double Water Proofing – In total there are 3 air chambers. Main electronics chamber, Battery bay and camera pod. Each has a water-tight seal. For additional protection, the Esc, PMU, BEC and GPS are sealed in Di-Electric resin in case the main seals become damaged in any way. The RX and FC are sealed in a secondary water-tight box in the main chamber.
- Double floatation – The 3 air chambers provide level 1 floatation. The EX-1 is also filled with laser cut foam buoyancy, level 2 of floatation. The landing feet also provide additional floats.
- ESC cooling – Esc’s are vented under the prop wash to keep esc’s cooler.
- Quick Switch – The installed quick switch limits the need to open the battery bay. Between bait drops, the craft is quickly switched on and off using the supplied switch.
- Advanced vibration damping. The new FC has advanced software-based vibration damping to assist in a smoother flying craft.
- Multiple flight modes – many custom flight modes are available for advanced users.
- App control – the supplied APP allows special flight conditions like phone control of landing and take-off. Circle modes and follow-me modes. The APP is also able to modify all drone parameters wirelessly. Only for advanced users.
- New 10ch Radio – the new long-range radio is supplied with sand covers over gimbals and a protective cover on the face plate switches to improve the overall weather resistance. Smaller push button and toggle switches have been used to prevent damage. This new radio provides a full UAV data link for all flight info, but also allows for the accelerometer and Gyro calibration without the need of plugging the system into a PC.
- Video stream – The EX-1 equipped standard with a digital camera which has a video transmission of over 1500M. Drone legal distance is set to 500M, so the live video is easily visible on your phone. Camera settings like brightness, Contrast and saturation can be adjusted from the APP. Recordings of bait drops can also be made on the phone.
- SONAR – The optional SONAR sensor will provide precise altitude control and prevent the drone from passing a minimum set altitude level. This is useful for lure and bait trolling where the drone is pulled down due to the resistance of the lure in the water.
- Radio batteries – 2 x Li-Ion 18560 batts are required for the radio which give in excess of 20 hours radio on time.
- New servo release – a new water-proof servo is standard.
- Landing on water – the Ex-1 can land and take off from water. Rough water will impact the ability of the craft to take-off, as waves will interfere with the prop lift. Extreme care and washing with fresh water is required with salt exposure. Metal parts in the motors will corrode and reduce the drone’s life if not treated properly. Intentional landing on water is not recommend for everyday use. If the craft flips over in water, loss of radio signal is likely so recovery of craft could be difficult.
- Follow-Me mode – In this mode, the drone will follow the location of the remote\phone.
- Boat Landing mode – this feature allows the drone to land (RTL) at the location of the pilot and not at the take-off point. This is very useful when using the drone on a boat which has drifted away from the original take-off co-ordinates.
- New Safety features
- Voltage monitoring. The battery voltage is displayed on the phone device for easy battery level checking. Also, the craft will not arm\start motors if it detects that the battery is not at a safe level for flight. This is a user adjustable parameter for advanced users via the phone APP.
- Low Batt Return to Launch. This has improved safety as the computer will return the craft to launch, but the pilot cannot inadvertently force the craft to continue flying. The low battery level is user adjustable for Advanced users via Phone APP.
- RTL speed – RTL speed has been increased to get the drone off the water as soon as possible.
- Anti-pendulum feature – The main bait-drop flying mode, (POS.HOLD), has more controlled de-acceleration to assist in limiting the degree to which a pendulum motion can occur with the bait. This allows for shorter leaders to be used with safety.
- APP display and voice. Visual and voice messages are broadcast to keep the pilot informed about all aspects of the flight. The system will warn you by voice and display that the battery is low, geofence breach or when Magnetic interference is detected.
- RC Feel – The sticks have a reduced sensitivity around middle to allow beginners an easy experience.
- GPS – The New advanced GPS has been re-located to the highest point of the craft for best satellite reception and maximum separation from other electronic parts in the craft to improve reliability and precise landings.
- Magnetic compensation – the motors are a bad source of magnetic interference. The new FC control algorithm allows that the motors’ interference is ignored, thereby reducing compass issues.
- Landing detect – The new landing detect feature will shut off the motors as soon as the drone detects a landing. Motors will also be shut off if it detects a crash.
- Distance and Altitude Geofence – RTL is activated if the geofence is breached for either distance or altitude. (Adjustable for advanced users)
- Flight time safety – advanced users can modify the voltage protection to enhance fly-time. This parameter should be modified with caution to avoid total power loss.
Check it out now at Ultimate drone Fishing – www.ultimatedronefishing.com