Newbie needs a pointer

I am testing a pair of WiFi LoRa 32 (V2) boards and I am experiencing very strange behaviour with the RSSI data. Placed 12 inches apart they return -16dB, fine. Placed 1 mile apart and with tress in the line of sight they return -130dB which is above the link budget but 80% of the packets are still received, also fine.

My problem is that when just 20 feet apart they are returning -60 to -70dB. Is it normal to have such a massive drop off in the first few feet?

Both boards are running off a LiPo battery in 3D printed cradles so the aerials are parallel. I have set the spreading Factor to maximum (12) as I understand this helps with a stable connection but didn’t seem to help this time. Any ideas please???

Oh and I maxed the TX power to 20 as per the instructions. LoRa.setTxPower(20,RF_PACONFIG_PASELECT_PABOOST);

Hi yes loss at a few cm is -30 dB and is based on a square law and increases in distance base on doubling for each 6 dB .Typical loss of -130 dB at 4-5 km average line of site.

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Thanks Sivaelid, that fills in a gap in my knowledge. Much appreciated.