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Thread: Tracker?

  1. #1
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    Tracker?

    Do any of you guys own one of these? Do they work well?
    http://www.spytecinc.com/gl-200-real...s-tracker.html

    I'm looking for a cheap good quality tracker and I was wondering if this is the one I should go for?


    Thanks,

    Andrew - 14 year old rocketeer who loves to watch and fly model rockets all year long!!!
    2017 - 218.4 Ns _ Biggest motor, AT G125T, highest flight around 3,500'
    TRA Member #17056
    Owner, Andrew's Rocketry Shop - andrewsrocketryshop.blogspot.com

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockets View Post
    Do any of you guys own one of these? Do they work well?
    http://www.spytecinc.com/gl-200-real...s-tracker.html

    I'm looking for a cheap good quality tracker and I was wondering if this is the one I should go for?
    Three considerations:
    1). Look at the weight: 2.11 oz or 60 grams. That's not light at all. What rockets do you plan to track?
    For larger 2+" airframes flying on 38+mm motors, this may not be an issue. For smaller rockets, it way weight more than the rest of the rocket!
    2). The gizmo transmits data over commercial wireless network. Which one (VZW/AT&T/Sprint/Yo' mama?)? Which technology (2G? 3G? LTE?). Do your launch sites have coverage from that carrier over that RAN technology?
    3). How durable is the packaging? Will it take 20G-60G loads your rockets will put on it?

    In general, commercial "spouse/dog/bird tracker" gizmos work, but you want to have clear answers to Qs 1-3 to know for sure if it will work for you.
    Or at $70, just buy it and see what happens ;-)


    a

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    Radrocketeers.org NAR L2

  3. #3
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    Agree with question 1 - 3.

    Question 4 might be, how much does the monthly service subscription cost? From reviews they were talking $25 a month.

    We have good cell service at our launch site, but most don't. This won't work without the right cell service.

    I've seen a similar device work well at our site, but I wouldn't trust one of my large rockets to it. YMMV
    Last edited by Handeman; 4th November 2017 at 06:26 PM.
    Handeman

    TRA #09903 L3 3/29/2015

    "If you don't use your head, you have to use your feet!" my Dad

    Tripoli Central Virginia #25 - BattlePark.org

  4. #4
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    .................Or spend $150.00 for a Missileworks T3 and no relying on a cell phone service or subscription. That's about two of those cellphone dongle thingies. If you have the means to build, the Eggfinder and LCD will get the job done for a
    sport flier easily. One can take these devices anywhere. Personally, I'd recommend a flier stay away from the cell phone based stuff and stick with the purpose built GPS rocket trackers out there. Yeah to people get them to work, sure but if
    you want something that doesn't entail a subscription and can potentially track anywhere, use a self contained tracking system.

    12 years ago that wasn't the answer as RDF stuff cost a lot and GPS/APRS stuff cost a lot too. I went to Ham APRS stuff back then as the cost was comparable to the purpose built RDF trackers of the time and the tracking potential had a greater
    edge. Now is the best time to be flying consistently out of sight because the current crop of GPS trackers greatly increases the chances of an expedient recovery. The chances are even greater if one suffers a totally ballistic flight. Get one position
    from 100 or so feet up and you'll be in a good position to find the fincan sticking out of the ground or all the pieces scattered from a cardboard rocket. Kurt (see not 1000 words!)

  5. #5
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    This is something I've been working on a lot for the past few months. I'm sure the Missileworks T3 is better if you have the money but cell service is not an issue where I launch.

    I have not seen the tracker you mention but it is large, heavy, and expensive. I have been successfully using the MD-601 and the K8 GPS trackers, cost $30 or so and weigh around 20g. They have their own sim cards, with the SpeedTalk $5 monthly plan. You could instead borrow a sim from a phone for use on launch day. They both work only on 2G networks, and AT&T has discontinued its 2G service, so it only works on T-Mobile and TMo MVNOs.

    I'm also launching rockets with a Posh Micro X S240 android phone in the payload or ebay, it weighs 53g, less than the tracker you cited. You can track a rocket with this phone by going to android.com/find, or even better use Jason Cook's free Insane Rocketry app. The Posh works on 3G and 4G so you can use it with the free FreedomPop sim card. The Posh was only $50 shipped when I bought it, but it seems the price has since gone up.

    I've been looking for a small cheap tracker like the MD-601 or the K8 that works on 3G, so I can use FreedomPop and avoid the $5 monthly SpeedTalk fee.

    Just today I launched my first K motor, on an EZI-65. The launch area has dense shrubs and high grass and the rocket would have surely been lost but for the trackers, it landed half a mile from the launch pad. For extra safety I used both an MD-601 and a Droid Mini phone (the Droid weighs 130g but that's no problem with a K). If your rocket can handle the weight, the Droid is better than the Posh. Both will tell you exactly where the rocket lands, but only the Droid has a barometer, so you can use it with
    the Insane Rocketry app as an altimeter, and also retrieve flight data and record videos. The Nexus 4 and 5 and some other phones also have a barometer. A posh-sized phone with a barometer would be sweet.


    Last edited by billdz; 5th November 2017 at 03:26 AM.

    L1 3/25/17 H135
    L2 8/12/17 J180

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handeman View Post
    Question 4 might be, how much does the monthly service subscription cost? From reviews they were talking $25 a month.
    Wow, that's a bit of a rip-off.
    You can get prepaid wireless service for way less than that!

    Earlier this year I flew my LOC rocket with 'Droid Mini (XT1030)' cell phone for a tracker.
    You don't really need a dedicated SIM for that - just borrow one from your wife's/kid's cell phone for the duration of the launch, return it to them in the afternoon. You do need two (2) working SIMs to track the phone in the rocket from a working phone in your hand. So for me, the service was free.
    If you don't have a friend/relative to loan you a SIM, you can buy prepaid service for significantly less than $25/month. Data usage will be minimal.

    Then I bought and soldered together an eggFinder GPS kit because:
    1). It's lighter (~20 grams), and can fit easily into a 38mm/1.5" nose cones vs. 2.5+" phone/tracker tube diameter requirements for phone.
    2). It works anywhere, even where there is no cell coverage.
    3). It transmits the data throughout the flight (and I can capture and store it on either an LCD screen, or a laptop), so should the transmitter land in a particularly unfriendly location without ability to send out the landing coordinates (or get smashed upon ballistic landing), I will still have data trail of its last known good reported locations, and will be able to plot the projected landing spot.
    4). Eggfinder is one of the few transmitters that operates in unlicensed 900-930 Mhz spectrum, thus you can buy/operate it without Ham license or exams. Easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ksaves2 View Post
    .................Or spend $150.00 for a Missileworks T3 and no relying on a cell phone service or subscription. That's about two of those cellphone dongle thingies. If you have the means to build, the Eggfinder and LCD will get the job done for a
    sport flier easily. One can take these devices anywhere.
    Misselworks is another great choice for low-weight ~900 Mhz unlicensed tracker.
    It's slightly more expensive than Eggfinder, but you don't have to do any assembly.
    Either one is a great choice.

    a
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  7. #7
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    "Earlier this year I flew my LOC rocket with 'Droid Mini (XT1030)' cell phone for a tracker."

    That's the same phone I flew today on my LOC EZI-65, got it on eBay for $38. What's your LOC rocket?

    L1 3/25/17 H135
    L2 8/12/17 J180

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by billdz View Post
    "Earlier this year I flew my LOC rocket with 'Droid Mini (XT1030)' cell phone for a tracker."

    That's the same phone I flew today on my LOC EZI-65, got it on eBay for $38. What's your LOC rocket?
    I have accumulated a few rockets from LOC.
    They are inexpensive, easy to build, and relatively light.
    Though I've gotten past the point of enjoying filling in and sanding the cardboard spirals over and over and over again. Fiberglass tubes to the rescue! ;-).

    XT1030 is 4.78" x 2.41" x 0.35" in size, so it only fits into my 2.6+" airframe of LOC Patriot.
    I might stuff it into the MadCow Fire Flyer, once that one is completed, just because I have it.

    All my HP rockets either have been, or are being retrofitted with nose-cone mounted Eggfinder GPS sled (TX Mini and/or regular TX).
    That works for airframes as narrow as 33mm, and those smaller diameter mid/high-power rockets are the ones that are the hardest to keep track off in the air.

    a
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  9. #9
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    Keep an eye on the Vendors section for the the holiday ads... you'll find someting for the same price that's a much better fit for rocketry use.

  10. #10
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    That's exciting news, can you give us any hints?

    L1 3/25/17 H135
    L2 8/12/17 J180

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by billdz View Post
    That's exciting news, can you give us any hints?
    Most vendors do something before the holidays. Keep your eyes open. Kurt

  12. #12
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    Just a heads up, but most of those spyware trackers are 2g and specific to the country you are operating it in. (i.e. don't buy a tracker for the US and expect it to work in Canada).

    My old employer has a cellular mileage tracker coming out around Thanksgiving that's a lot less than those posted above. (www.mileage-ace.com) I think it's about $50 for the tracker and then $15 p/month with the real time updates. It'll work the same as the spytech gadget.
    "Since light travels faster than sound, people may seem bright until you hear them speak." - a genius.

    Logging my miles - 50,000 and counting.

  13. #13
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    "Just a heads up, but most of those spyware trackers are 2g and specific to the country you are operating it in."

    Yes, as stated above, in the USA the 2g trackers only work on T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNOs, e.g. Speedtalk, which has the $5 plan.

    "My old employer has a cellular mileage tracker coming out around Thanksgiving that's a lot less than those posted above. (www.mileage-ace.com) I think it's about $50 for the tracker and then $15 p/mont"

    That does not seem correct, as stated above the 2g trackers only cost about $30 and then $5 a month if you use a SpeedTalk sim, or $0 a month if you just borrow a sim from someone on launch day. Or buy a 3g tracker or a used Android phone like the Nexus 4 or a Droid Mini (under $50) and use the $0 a month FreedomPop sim.

    The Eggtimer and the Missileworks are more expensive to buy but no monthly fees and you don't have to worry about whether there is cell service at the launch site.


    L1 3/25/17 H135
    L2 8/12/17 J180

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