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  1. #31
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    4,711
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobfly View Post
    Hi All,

    I started using the Walston radio trackers years ago in Radio Control sailplanes. They saved a lot of planes over the years in our club. I use Vern Knowles GPS Multitronix “Kate” Tracker in all my 3” and larger rockets.

    The Missile Works GPS Tracker System fits in a 54 mm rocket. I have this system but have not flown it yet. You cannot beat these GPS trackers. They take you right to the rocket even if it lands miles away. The “Kate” unit tells you exactly how far the rocket is from your current position.

    Does anyone have a GPS tracker system that will fit in a 38 mm rocket?

    All the best,
    Bob
    Tele-GPS in a GoDevil 38 NC and folks do EF Minis.
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    I use three 2-56 PEM nuts in the coupler and buttonhead screws to hold the nosecone shroud to the coupler. The coupler is quite thick and I use a round router on the inside and epoxy the PEM nuts inside the coupler.
    Yeah the buttonhead screws show on the outside but I consider this viable in order to be able to easily get the tracker in there.

    Kurt


  2. #32
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    4,711
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_ASC View Post
    The Arrow antennas had a way to add external power if vehicle mounting to extend range of the receiving ground station communicating with the in flight GPS transceiver that communicates with the satellites. I think it would do light sub-orbital stuff no joke if externally powered ground station antenna, but that is beyond my experience level.

    What I noticed what gets people is a maximum velocity tracking a system can do. You want a system that can handle the rocket performance. Some are optimized for weather balloons and have epic altitudes but do not do high velocity supersonic tracking. I think people have modified egg timers and other 900Mhz systems but once you get into HAM stuff it's literally plug and play at a higher price tag. My experience was only limited to TeleGPS and a 440-5 antenna. User support was awkward and the forum helped more than Altus, but good device once you got used to it.
    No off the shelf GPS can do more than 1000knots and 59000 feet via treaty restrictions. Some chipsets do better at high G levels than others and some also will record to a reported 156,000 feet as long as the speed of 1000 knots isn't exceeded.

    Once the rocket is going less than 1000 knots (1200mph) and the G's lighten up one technically should see the positions coming in. Again, some chipsets do better than others. Kurt


  3. #33
    Join Date
    22nd September 2017
    Posts
    338

    This is why you want good tracker. I was on the YAGI the entire time plugged into an inverter, we had a four hour launch delay at VAST from weather.
    When you can't find it anymore visually. Story was the sustainer CATO'd for the low alt, we still got third, and I don't know how.
    Last edited by Andrew_ASC; 6th December 2017 at 03:59 AM. Reason: Your rocket can explode at SEDS and you can still win, LOL.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    18th October 2016
    Posts
    460
    Track all the things!!
    TRA L2. I-class record: "Vanish 29" with an I224, 14,596ft, Mach 1.92. Video here.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Toney, Alabama
    Posts
    3,420
    I am following this thread as well, as I am going to be in need of some sort of tracking system... and right now I am about as fluent on trackers as a sack-O-hammers.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster, and if you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

    "The Future is Not Solid" - Korey Kline

    TRA# 08705 L3

  6. #36
    Join Date
    15th October 2016
    Location
    Huntsville AL
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally Posted by DRAGON64 View Post
    I am following this thread as well, as I am going to be in need of some sort of tracking system... and right now I am about as fluent on trackers as a sack-O-hammers.
    If you come to the HARA meeting tomorrow night, I'll have my T3 there for examination. I'm thinking of picking up some sort of buzzer/screamer to get me that final 10 yards to the rocket.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    11th February 2017
    Location
    south Florida
    Posts
    515
    I recommend this buzzer/screamer, only $7 shipped and very loud. You'll hear it from a lot further than 10 yards away.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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

  8. #38
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    6,799
    Quote Originally Posted by DRAGON64 View Post
    I am following this thread as well, as I am going to be in need of some sort of tracking system... and right now I am about as fluent on trackers as a sack-O-hammers.
    You and I both. However, I'll share what little I do know.

    There are two categories of trackers: GPS and, um, the ones that "echo locate," sort of.

    There are two types of radios: 900 MHz, like cell phones and pagers, and does not require a HAM license; and other frequency bands that do require a HAM license.

    Trackers require two pieces: a transmitter and a receiver. Transmitter goes in rocket, receiver in hand.

    Transmitters and receivers come in two levels of difficulty: kits (requires soldering and good eyes), and already-built.

    GPS trackers report coordinates, which then also requires a navigator to get you to the rocket. Whereas the "echo location" thingies point you at the rocket via "pinging" volumes.

    Since it is clear and obvious that I do not have a HAM license and don't have a clue what I'm saying, I went with 900 MHz GPS. I bought a BRB900 transmitter and receiver (about $300), and a Magellan old school B&W hiking navigator ($20 on Ebay).

    The BRB900 receiver receives the coordinates of the rocket. I plug them into the Magellan, and it walks me to the rocket. It gets me within a 100' radius or so, which means it is still a drag in tall grass. Also, if the rocket gets blown around by the chute, its coordinates keep changing, which means I have to keep adjusting my Magellan.

    Anyway, this combo has successfully walked me to my rockets many times. But Gus P. also let me use his HAM pinger thingy at LDRS, and it looks like a great system if you want to get licensed and buy all the equipment. The nice thing about that is that it always points you at the rocket no matter what, and you don't need to be in range of a GPS satellite.

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  9. #39
    Join Date
    31st May 2017
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    112
    Bat-mite,

    Very helpful! I am at the same level of understanding it seems lol. I guess the RF (?) style have distinct advantages, but they also seem like you need to buy more stuff. A radio, a transmitter, a yagi (uhh ?) - or I am a dummy and lost.
    TRA #17256
    Tripoli Houston
    L1 - 7/8/17

  10. #40
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    6,799
    Quote Originally Posted by viciouspeanut View Post
    Bat-mite,

    Very helpful! I am at the same level of understanding it seems lol. I guess the RF (?) style have distinct advantages, but they also seem like you need to buy more stuff. A radio, a transmitter, a yagi (uhh ?) - or I am a dummy and lost.
    Eggfinder, BRB900, and Missileworks Telematics all use 900 MHz and report GPS coordinates. I suppose it matters where you launch, to know if there is sufficient GPS satellite coverage. Best thing to do is to talk to people at a launch and see what they use.

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  11. #41
    Join Date
    11th February 2017
    Location
    south Florida
    Posts
    515
    "There are two categories of trackers: GPS and, um, the ones that echo locate, sort of."
    There are trackers that report the rocket's GPS location and trackers that just transmit a radio signal. In the latter case, you locate the rocket by homing in on it, using a receiver with a directional antenna and an attenuator. Slowly moving the antenna, you find the direction with the strongest signal and head in that direction. GPS will show you the rocket's exact location on a map and walk you to it, so it's usually easier to find the rocket this way, although as noted above sometimes a GPS tracker will "lose lock." Some trackers support both GPS and directional finding, these are the best so you have a backup. If the rocket lands hard, either type of tracker may go dead. In this case, a directional finder will do you no good, but the GPS tracker will hopefully give you the position shortly before landing.

    "Trackers require two pieces: a transmitter and a receiver. Transmitter goes in rocket, receiver in hand."
    Generally yes, and you will probably want to connect the receiver to a cell phone or tablet via bluetooth or USB cable to see the rocket on a google map. The exception is if you use a cell service tracker, as mentioned above in post #9 (only works if you have cell service at your launch field). In that case, the tracker on the rocket has a SIM card. Instead of transmitting its position on 900 mhz or a ham frequency, it does so via a cellular network. You don't need a receiver, just an app on your phone.

    "The BRB900 receiver ... gets me within a 100' radius or so."
    BRB is GPS and should get you much closer. How many satellites? My TeleMetrum sees around 9 sats at my launch sites and gets me within 15' every time.

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

  12. #42
    Join Date
    22nd September 2017
    Posts
    338
    Quote Originally Posted by viciouspeanut View Post
    Bat-mite,

    Very helpful! I am at the same level of understanding it seems lol. I guess the RF (?) style have distinct advantages, but they also seem like you need to buy more stuff. A radio, a transmitter, a yagi (uhh ?) - or I am a dummy and lost.
    Yagi is a fancy word for specialized antenna designed for frequency. You get a coaxial cable for the yagi and it screws into the reciever which can plug into a laptop as a groundstation if using Teledongle reciever hardware for an Altus metrum product. Then you have a hand-held HAM radio you tune to frequency you use for the FCC callsign stuff and to also receive info incase the GPS hit the fan. A UV-5R lets you say your callsign before using a frequency the only info received is beeps, it gets the data but a basic model won't decode into a range from you to gps/radio beacon or the heading to get to it. On the TeleGPS either a teledongle or a teleBt will transfer the GPS datalink data of everything literally to your phone or laptop running software depending on what you want that's what meant as ground station when connected to yagi ,handheld radio, and receiver. You hold a yagi to maximize range. Its analogous with a telescope for radio waves. Spacing, rod lengths, number of rods, and frequency are factors. A fancier handheld radio unit lets you directional find a dual GPS/APRS rocketry transreceiver through radiowaves with radio link APRS style data. The baud rate lower increases the data per second sent and also increases range, that's what the HAM units offer. It's a transceiver because it transmits the radio waves as an independent radio station. You are not dumb... Its a lot of "crap" to take in... And most of it seems foreign when you start. If you have solved a very basic circuits diagram that may help with the HAM exam. Most of the antenna questions are rules are a lot of memorize stuff then that just gets the tech liceunse for 10 years, and you have a lot to try practically to learn after exam. I still struggle with the HAM radio options and gear selection. You may need a BNC to coaxial to connect the yagi up. That's how dumb I was. Thankfully a prepper store of wackos with body armor and bunkers had the connector, because walmart won't. Dude at the counter knew, but said try radioshack. LOL...

    The eggfinder I've seen it have different YAGI. Its not required. The more gear crap you buy the better off your capabilities are. You are getting into optimizing a "overall" radio system with radio antennas for the electromagnetic radiation transfer between two locations. Many of the 900MHz systems are drop and go with a here's your ground station, here's your tracker, and antennas are already taken care of. The 434MHz systems are optimized for HAM operators, and often have easier to use interfaces with less assembly, but you need to know what gear to match with what to take full advantage.

    I only pass HAM by 1 question, mechanical engineer student here. Doing P=IV or V=IR on exam was easier than all the antenna satellite comms questions, LOL... HAMStudy.org. Failed practice twice than passed the real thing. You can take as many times as you want every 2 months. Sorry if I am rambling. I am new at it too. Overwhelming at first. Just overwhelming. Took 2 weeks of practicing to get to where I could use it. Then the FCC has GPS coordinate unit converters. You gotta enter the right format into a phone or GPS handheld if you wanna get to it. Thankfully the format was right on altus no converting.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
    Posts
    4,711
    Quote Originally Posted by billdz View Post
    I recommend this buzzer/screamer, only $7 shipped and very loud. You'll hear it from a lot further than 10 yards away.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I have a few of those but be careful. The corner of that case has a little plastic post and that's all that holds the chain and the ring clip on. I was trying to figure out if there is a safe way to drill it out and put a piece of round metal rod there and still have
    battery access. True it's only $7.00 so if it rips off, no big financial loss.

    Not a solution for small rockets though and this thing is really LOUD. I haven't flown mine but I bet if deployed at an out of sight apogee, one might be able to hear it before they are able to see the rocket. Kurt

  14. #44
    Join Date
    22nd September 2017
    Posts
    338
    With a TeleGPS your out $214 for the unit if it crashes real stupid hard. Or if you solder a different antenna on. Granted it's a micro black box with live data feed and recording. You know where it is within ten to fifteen feet, where it's been, the altitude, coordinates, rocket heading updated constantly, mach, velocity, flight path 2D on map, and exportable data to 3D of flight route then 2D graphs on whatever parameters including satellite numbers, signal strength etc. That data with level of detail per second may help you diagnose if a fin fails in flight. And you don't need the GPS intact to extract that kind of data since it autosaves each flight with hours of memory. The issue is you have to manually clear the last flight or it won't record it on the board's memory.

    I think Raven has a neat 24mm system 900MHz. I would rather use the space for a spare tracker or even a HAM radio beacon on different frequency than a squealer. Squealer beats nothing. Paint, chalk, metallic streamers, and maybe even co2 dry ice in a small capsule are cheap tricks. Radio Beacons have good range for the price and I think they are under-rated. Low tech stuff is good backups.

  15. #45
    Join Date
    11th February 2017
    Location
    south Florida
    Posts
    515
    Quote Originally Posted by ksaves2 View Post
    I have a few of those but be careful. The corner of that case has a little plastic post and that's all that holds the chain and the ring clip on. I was trying to figure out if there is a safe way to drill it out and put a piece of round metal rod there and still have
    battery access.
    I noticed that, so I have wrapped that corner of the screamer tightly with electrical tape, so far so good. This device was recommended by kcobbva on this forum.

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

  16. #46
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    4,711
    Quote Originally Posted by billdz View Post
    I noticed that, so I have wrapped that corner of the screamer tightly with electrical tape, so far so good. This device was recommended by kcobbva on this forum.
    I didn't say it wouldn't work but when I took one apart to see about the battery situation I saw how the chain was secured to the device. Little plastic post. With my luck, the thing would break off my harness and the rocket would likely land in standing corn or tall grass!! Well at least one could hear the screamer incoming!

    No doubt, not so bad to lose a $7.00 noise maker but if separation jepordizes finding the rocket that's the tough part! Kurt

  17. #47
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Toney, Alabama
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nytrunner View Post
    If you come to the HARA meeting tomorrow night, I'll have my T3 there for examination. I'm thinking of picking up some sort of buzzer/screamer to get me that final 10 yards to the rocket.
    Alas, I have other obligations tonight, thank you for the invite all the same. It has been many years since I sat in on a HARA meeting I will admit. If you are recommending the T3 as a good start, then I will investigate the system further. Back when I knew nothing about altimeters (circa `98-`99) I broke down and just bought Missileworks first altimiter and taught myself, as I needed to start somewhere. Thanks again for the invite, maybe next month.

    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster, and if you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

    "The Future is Not Solid" - Korey Kline

    TRA# 08705 L3

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