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  1. #1
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    GPS Rocket Locator program Tips

    Apologies, am cross posting this from $25.00 GPS locator as others might have a better chance to see it. This is about the Android app "GPS Rocket Locator". It works well with the EggFinders and I've actually
    paired the receiver from the old Ozark Aerospace ARTs GPS tracker with a DB9/USB dongle and I suspect the Missileworks tracker will work with this also. Any device you can get the NMEA strings into your Android
    should be able to be decoded with GPSRL barring any timing issues.


    GPS Rocket Locator in a nutshell: Download and install it. Don't open it yet. Fire up your tracker and receiver. Let the tracker sit outside and wait awhile till it gets a lock. EggFinders are easy in that regard because the yellow LED starts to flash 1/sec with
    incoming positions. Pair your B/T receiver with your Android device. Now, open GPSRL. First thing it will get is get stuck on the Google Maps screen. Google gets ticked with people using their tiles "for free" and sabotaged this so it no longer works.
    Soooooooo, Click on the upper right menu pulldown and select "Map Provider". Hit "Open Street Map" and as long as your device's GPS has a lock your position will be posted. You may have to zoom out to see some streets but you get this far, you're in
    decent shape. Next, go to the upper right pulldown menu and hit "Settings". Change your units if you like and click "Bluetooth Device". If you paired your B/T receiver you should see something like HC-06 (which is in my EggFinder LCD) click on this and wait.
    You should begin to see the red pushpin that is your tracker with a line drawn to it eventually. Remember "North" is "UP" on your screen and you make your "blue dot" and red pushpin come together to find it.

    Some caveats: With the photomap tiles that are no longer available there is a "Rocket Distance" "Current Altitude" and "Max Altitude" listing in the upper left side of the display. Since most of the open source maps have a white background, the letters won't show up. The Rocket Distance is apparent and not so likely that accurate unless you stand next to the tracker and you could see the distance from decrease. The Current and Max Altitudes somehow both names get fixed to "Current" I believe when positions
    are plotted. Sirf4 chipset is lousy with altitude anyways so not that terribly important.

    "Download Map" does what it says. You have the room/memory space, you can at least download the OSM maps at a variety of zoomlevels to store "on device" so you don't need internet connection to track at your launchsite.

    The program doesn't "navigate" but it does automatically show a datum line from your position to your rocket (or last known position). If you "lose" your local position on the screen, hit "Follow Me" in the lower left and your position will be centered on the map
    shortly and you can re-observe the datum line to your rocket/tracker.

    I haven't tried it yet but if you get a screen record app, that might be one way to "save a flight" for what it's worth and play it back. I find that at least with the 100mW trackers you don't recover/decode all the positions. You'll get enough
    to recover your sport rockets though. If you can, blow the main up higher because with the slower descent and better propagation at altitude you'll get more positions painted and can get an idea of a drift trendline.

    When the app first came out there were no off line maps available. The tracker still worked and I used it that way for a flight and I didn't lose the rocket. When map caching came on, I downloaded a pile of Google map tiles for
    my local sites before it no longer functioned. I pulled the tiles to a USB stick and plop them into new installs of GPSRL and they work. There is an open source GIS photomap server that is used with APRSISMO and APRSISCE/32
    that is a few years old but very nice. Unfortunately GPSRL is not open source and I believe it would be easy to substitute the address for these accessible maptiles but I don't believe the author is open to suggestions. He posted one time
    he no longer has time to work with the program.

    Another thing: GPSRL won't work with an Android device that doesn't have an onboard GPS chipset. The Android site won't let you download it so that is out. I have two dual boot Android/Windows tablets I mail-ordered from China
    2 years ago that have an onboard GPS chipset that will work in Android and with some hacking, in Windows. If you can find a source for a newer "dual boot" with an onboard GPS chip, oh and mind you has a data radio tuned to one of the North American cell phone systems post the link and email me! Kurt


  2. #2
    Join Date
    13th July 2017
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    108
    Hi, just downloaded the app. Got a message to "link to bluetooth device" so just for giggles I linked to my earphone. Got to thinking if this thing is linked to my earphone will it track it? If so then I should be able to stuff it in the payload section of my model rocket and use it as a transponder (locator beacon)? Am I chasing a rabbit down a hole that goes nowhere? Thanks for the info about the app. Looks like it should fill the bill. I am too old to be tromping through the woods and climbing trees.

    TRA #17397
    Graduate of the University of Hardknocks
    and Academy of Life Experiences


    "Vestibulum victus aptet"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    30th January 2016
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    US > OK > NE
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    It will not track your earphone. If someone called you, your payload might ring :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    3rd February 2012
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    So Cal (ROC, TRASD, SCRA)
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    2,510
    This might warrant a sticky...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    1st September 2010
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhbarr View Post
    It will not track your earphone. If someone called you, your payload might ring :-)
    Edit- accidentally quoted the wrong thread, but this is pretty funny.
    Last edited by soopirV; 27th August 2017 at 04:19 PM.
    NAR 96681
    L1 - May 29, 2014 LOC Norad ProMax, H120
    L2 - Feb 21, 2015 Fiberglassed Madcow Frenzy, J280

  6. #6
    Join Date
    1st September 2010
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockiteer View Post
    Hi, just downloaded the app. Got a message to "link to bluetooth device" so just for giggles I linked to my earphone. Got to thinking if this thing is linked to my earphone will it track it? If so then I should be able to stuff it in the payload section of my model rocket and use it as a transponder (locator beacon)? Am I chasing a rabbit down a hole that goes nowhere? Thanks for the info about the app. Looks like it should fill the bill. I am too old to be tromping through the woods and climbing trees.
    Keep in mind bluetooth range is ~10m, so you may know where your rocket is for the first 30 feet of its flight (or almost until you're a third of the way back to the flight line), but after that you're on your own! The reason BT works with the android in ksaves excellent write up is that the BT receiver is in close proximity to the handheld, and is connected to the long-range RF receiver.
    NAR 96681
    L1 - May 29, 2014 LOC Norad ProMax, H120
    L2 - Feb 21, 2015 Fiberglassed Madcow Frenzy, J280

  7. #7
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    4,603
    Quote Originally Posted by soopirV View Post
    Keep in mind bluetooth range is ~10m, so you may know where your rocket is for the first 30 feet of its flight (or almost until you're a third of the way back to the flight line), but after that you're on your own! The reason BT works with the android in ksaves excellent write up is that the BT receiver is in close proximity to the handheld, and is connected to the long-range RF receiver.
    Yeah, think of the Rf link as the very looooooooooooooooooong usb cable between the rocket tracker and the ground receiver. The Bluetooth module is only there to "get" the datastream from your receiver into your device (tablet or otherwise) for processing.
    It's absolutely great not to have a cable that can get jostled and absolutely ruin your day when your ground GPS tracking station locks up. Kurt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    13th July 2017
    Location
    East Coast
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    108
    Wow, great info. Was not aware of the limited range of bluetooth gadgets. Funny comment about if someone were to call that my rocket would answer via the earpiece. On a lark, what about these pet and key tracking/locator gizmos? Found a bunch on Amazon... are they also range challenged to say 10 meters (33 feet)? I am sure there is an easy and inexpensive solution to this situation for technology challenged rocketeers like myself. Thanks for the great info and feedback. Sure saves a lot of trial and error in the field.
    TRA #17397
    Graduate of the University of Hardknocks
    and Academy of Life Experiences


    "Vestibulum victus aptet"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    13th July 2017
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    East Coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerving View Post
    This might warrant a sticky...
    Pardon my asking, but what's a sticky?
    TRA #17397
    Graduate of the University of Hardknocks
    and Academy of Life Experiences


    "Vestibulum victus aptet"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    13th June 2014
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    Cocoa Beach, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockiteer View Post
    Pardon my asking, but what's a sticky?
    noun
    1.
    (in an online forum) a thread containing important information that is set to remain at the top of the other threads regardless of when it was last updated.
    "could you put a sticky in the forum for those of us that are confused?"
    Tim
    L3 NAR 98225

  11. #11
    Join Date
    22nd August 2015
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    Rhode Island
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    1,066
    Has anyone successfully run GPS Rocket Locator on a windows machine using an Android emulator program. I messed around with Bulestacks on my Surface Pro 3 this week a little, but didn't have any success. I couldn't get Bluestacks to run work with the bluetooth module.
    NAR #100940, RIMRA & CMASS
    L1 - 4/17/16, Tyrannosaur (by Binder Design), Loki H144
    L2 - 8/19/17, Terrordactyl (by Binder Design), CTI J250

  12. #12
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDB View Post
    Has anyone successfully run GPS Rocket Locator on a windows machine using an Android emulator program. I messed around with Bulestacks on my Surface Pro 3 this week a little, but didn't have any success. I couldn't get Bluestacks to run work with the bluetooth module.
    Trying to do Bluetooth anything on Winblows is a real PITA with a native app. I doubt an emulator is going to have any success whatsoever. That said, APRSISCE/32 runs fine but it's configured for APRS tracking. I was able to get two instances of
    APRSISCE/32 to monitor two NMEA streams (with a pile of help from the Ham users of this app) but I'm afraid, it's pretty tough for a neophyte to setup. I try not to be wordy but trying to come up with instructions would be a bear and
    a non-Ham with no APRS tracking experience would get hopelessly lost. Heck, a radio Ham would probably get lost unless they were experienced with the application right up front.

    YAAC came close to being "the best and easiest" but........... the bluetooth implementation again stinks. That program can keep track of two NMEA streams, one from your tracker and one from your local position.
    But, try to use two B/T sources and things go sour.

    Basically, there is no good live tracking app for Winblows for these NMEA trackers aside from direct wired connections piped into apps or manually inputting a lat/long into a Windoze app.
    APRSISCE/32 was written with B/T in mind and I can pair a B/T GPS and or a B/T TNC for APRS stuff .

    I have two dual boot tablets that have an onboard GNSS chipset on them and to get the onboard GPS recognized under WinBlows required two programs com0com and GNSS interface.

    The short answer is don't bother trying to run GPS Rocket Locator in WinBlows.

    Ok, ok. I just remembered Mapsphere but it's no longer supported and it will only give you the position of your rocket on a map. Can't use it to live navigate. Kurt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    6th September 2009
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    1,574
    I just started playing with this and have a couple questions I didn't see mentioned above. I have version 1.3.3 on Android.

    1. The 3 lines in the upper left all say "current altitude." I assume this is a minor labeling bug, and the first line of data is the actual "distance to rocket." Seems so, as the number gets smaller as I approach the transmitter.

    2. After playing with Rocket Locator, I tried Bluetooth GPS. However, Bluetooth GPS gave an error when trying to connect to the paired HC-06 device:

    "socket may be closed or timed out"

    Is this maybe because Rocket Locator already has the socket consumed? It is not clear to me how to "turn off" Rocket Locator or disconnect from a Bluetooth device.

    Thanks for any help.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    6th September 2009
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    1,574
    I expected a 1000-word dissertation from Kurt on my question, but I figured it out. I think.

    I simply told RocketLocator to Bluetooth to my Chevy and not the HC-06. (There is no "none" or "disconnect" option.) I fired up everything from scratch, this time connecting to the HC-06 with Bluetooth GPS. No problems, and there is a clear way to "disconnect" the device from Bluetooth GPS.

    I like some features of RocketLocator and also some of Bluetooth GPS. I'll play with both.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    4,603
    The labels for altitude and distance are messed up in the program once the program is working. It's apparent which is the rocket and which is the ground station by looking at the data.

    If one is using a GPS chipset that also parses the Russian Glonass system GPSRL may not work successfully. It only works with the US GPS system.
    Messing with a 3DR radio and GPS I could get GPSRL to work by running the GPS/Glonass strings through the Android program "Bluetooth GPS" but the rocket is now the blue dot.
    One then has to use an external B/T GPS dongle that just does the US GPS constellation so your local position becomes the red pushpin. It works nicely and the combined GPS/Glonass
    positions seem to be a bit more accurate than GPS alone.

    Not many questions warrant a 1000 word dissertation anymore. I'd suspect if one did a little search here, something would come up.

    Easy GPS trackers are becoming so ubiquitous the only thing that is involved is trying to get live map tracking working with all the data one would like to see live. Kurt

  16. #16
    Join Date
    15th October 2016
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    Huntsville AL
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    Figured I'd ask this here instead of the T3 thread.

    If I install both Bluetooth GPS and GPS rocket locator, is there any interference? Or is it fine as long as I only use one at a time?
    "I'm at least 70% confident about whatever I say (90% of the time)"- college me

    NAR 101195
    Level 1: Big SAM, 9/10/16

  17. #17
    Join Date
    6th September 2009
    Posts
    1,574
    I had troubles trying to use both. See posts 13 and 14 above.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    4,603
    On a Nexus 7 2013 and 2012 there are no issues with the T3. You can run one or the other or both as described in #15 above. With the T3 you don't need both. You can have both apps on your device.

    Now, you pair the T3 receiver with your device. If that pairing process shows you are connected, exit out and fire up GPS Rocket Locator. Now in the upper right pull-down make sure you select the B/T channel you have the receiver paired on and you'll
    be good to go. Wait a bit and the red pushpin should come up as long is the T3 can "see the sky".

    Now, if one wishes to use B/T GPS: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...id.btgps&hl=en you have to go into the "developer" setup and select "allow mock GPS locations. Do that and when you pull up B/T GPS and hit "connect",
    the datastream coming in over the link will be the one from your T3 AND as long as you have an internet connection over the cell towers, you will see the rocket position on the map. B/T GPS cannot keep track of your local location and the rocket at the
    same time. GPS Rocket Locator with all it's quirks is the only thing that can do both at once plus you can download maps to store and use them off line. Can't do that with B/T GPS (that is download maps for offline use)

    What I describe in #15 isn't applicable to the T3. Mr. Amos has it ready to go out of the box using the US GPS satellite constellation. #15 details using GPS/Glonass strings that I feed from a 3DR radio, running it through B/T GPS, minimizing B/T GPS and using GPS Rocket Locator I can get the combined GPS/Glonass strings decoded through B/T GPS and displayed on GPS Rocket Locator as the blue dot. I then use a plain B/T Dongle and feed the local position as the red pushpin. The internal GPS of the Nexus is ignored with this setup. Again, this doesn't apply to the T3 as it uses the US satellites only.
    Advantage of GPS/Glonass is a little more accuracy but if one flies with a T3 around tall grass (or any tracker for that matter) be sure to stick a screamer on the harness.

    Besides using B/T GPS to display the rocket position on the map, it can be minimized and the remote data string is considered as the "primary position" and your internal GPS of your Android device "is ignored"

    This now becomes the primary GPS location of the device. You can test it out but minimizing "B/T GPS" and calling up another GPS app. The position of the T3 will be displayed as your primary location.

    Just some fun 'n games. Again, GPS Rocket Locator displays both your rocket and your position hence you can navigate to your rocket. Short answer is use this.

    "Bluetooth GPS" can show you where your rocket is or is headed but you can't directly use it to navigate. It does show you what satellites the T3 is using by scrolling through the screens. Fun to play with.

    Neophytes, get "GPS Rocket Locator" working and run with it. Don't worry about anything else. Kurt


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