Pixhawk 2.1 or 1.x, available in US, and other newbie q's?

As the title says, I’m a complete newbie to the PH hardware world, although I’ve been watching (and trying to contribute) to the software side for more than a year.
Well, now I’m trying to get a “custom” drone off the ground (so to speak.) It’s a hexacopter and I don’t care that it’s foundation was made by dji. It’s an F550 flame wheel, if that is important to the solutions. It came with a naza V2 and H3-3D gimbal but the more I research what I want to do versus what dji wants the drone to do, the more I want a Cube 2.1. I’ve been flying Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4k’s since last fall. I’m aiming for this new machine to fly my choices of sensors (some custom and unique) and hope I can get at least 30 minutes flight time (but that goal is secondary at the moment.) I haven’t begun building the kit yet as I thought it might be risky to disassemble it to install new controllers, sensors, and etc. Further, I hope in the second phase (first phase is just getting basic flying and control from the FrSky ground controller) to install an Intel TX2 board to guide the drone away from trees, power lines, and etc. :slight_smile:

So, I’d like some advice on several things but let’s start with the replacement for the Naza thing. Best advice so far is to get a cube 2.1 but with all the controversy with availability (and it’s cost,) what do you guys recommend? Bear in mind, that even the $200 here and $600 there is a drain on my budget, with the hopeful goal of getting a few jobs here and there to pay for my addiction. :slight_smile: These drone parts are EXPENSIVE for someone like me. Btw, I do have a private pilots and 107 certs already. From back when I was working…
I would like to do the traditional real estate route, but also 3D mapping, SLAM, assistance to farmers, assistance to construction, and anything else I can learn to do to drum up money to pay for these toys. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
When I first got the Q500 4K, I immediately emailed every law and rescue group in my area offering to volunteer where needed but got absolutely ZERO response. That surprised me. Red Cross took my volunteer labor for several years until their rules just got too weird, but that’s a different story. :slight_smile:

Part 2: I desperately desire the ublox (or other) RTK / DGPS solutions but certainly cannot justify $5000 for it, and can barely squeak a few hundred for it. So, what do you guys recommend and where do I get something that works?

Thanks for reading,

Availability doesn’t seem to be a problem right now. At least, several of the online resellers I just checked claim to have it in stock.

what do you guys recommend?

You can pick up a Pixhawk clone for < $100. While not the latest and shiniest thing, these are heavily used and stable and will run current APM code without a problem.

I desperately desire the ublox (or other) RTK / DGPS solutions but certainly cannot justify $5000 for it…

With the caveat that I know nothing about RTK…The Reach RTK system seems cheaper, though still expensive @ $600.