Carbon Fiber Propellers and Signal Loss

I apologize if I’m resurrecting an old or well-known discussion, but I have not been able to find a lot of detailed information about this question. Has anyone experienced extreme RF signal degradation while using carbon fiber props? We have now done quite a bit of testing in this area, and I’m surprised how little information there is on this topic in any drone-related forum.

We have seen significant degradation in just about all transmitters/receivers we have tested when using carbon fiber propellers. This includes normal RC transmitters (FrSky, TBS, Spektrum) for flight control, various video transmitters for FPV, and even some high-cost data radios (Microhard, Picoradio, among others). We’ve actually run some iperf tests on the data radios while spinning props on our test stand and see a dramatic drop in data rate and an increase in packet loss. As soon as we switch from carbon fiber props to plastic or wood, the problem is resolved. Based on our testing (both on the test stand and in the air), I just can’t believe how little information there is online about this. And I’m also surprised at how popular carbon fiber propellers are.

I would love to hear from anyone with a similar experience, or anyone who can point me to more information on this. I’m assuming the carbon fiber props are actually acting as some type of passive repeater, but is modulating the signal in a weird way? This is not my area of experience, so please don’t laugh at me! Thank you!

This is actually not a quite popular topic among hobbist, because RF performance analysis requires professional instruments that quite few owns them.

I personally am aware of this issue but also may not able to provide accurate analysis. This issue is understandable in intuition, as carbon fiber is actually a popular material for electron-magnetic shielding. So the fading of radio signal you observed is not a surprise, as the propellers are basically acting like a large piece of metal spinning there.

A generic advise will be keep your antenna away from them as possible, if you have to use carbon-fiber propeller.

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It’s very interesting.
Do you have any data to show the evidence?