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Sluggo

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I lost a rocket yesterday and its no fun. I like the Simple GPS Tracker but its pricey. Can someone give advice on an affordable AND reliable GPS tracker.?? Thanks.
 

Scott_650

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The only tracker I have any experience with is the Marco Polo radio tracker. It’s not direct experience - I’ve watched a couple members of my club using them. They aren’t GPS trackers but simple radio direction finders designed for drones and pets/live stock. So not intended for finding something miles and miles away - I forget the practical range - but for our flying field, being on a working farm, it works great finding your rocket in standing corn or in a soybean field. The appeal of the Marco Polo system to me is the simplicity - no GPS lock or cell phone service or 3rd party app needed - just the transmitter and a purpose built hand-held unit. Hand-held and one transmitter is less than $220.
 

Voyager1

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Check out this thread about GPS trackers.


There are other threads, too.
 

Sluggo

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Define "affordable." What's your price range?
The $220 that Scot-650 has mentioned is close to affordable. The Simple GPS Tracker that I like is $450. I'm not flying rockets a mile high. I would like to get to the 2000ft. mark. Eventually. The rocket I lost was in a 1200 foot field in all directions. Lost it into a milky cloud and never saw it again. I've searched for 3 hours and nothing. So ya, I'm going to 'save up' and get a tracker. Thanks for the replies. I'm new to mid-power and I really want to have fun flying these beautiful rockets.

Any other suggestions out there.??
 

Banzai88

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Missile Works RTX. Haven't lost a single rocket since getting the full Navigator system.
 

boatgeek

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There are a bunch of dog tracker type systems available, but many depend on having cell service at your launch site. If you do, check out dog trackers. If you don't have cell service the cheapest full featured system is probably the Eggfinder. $165 will get you a transmitter and receiver setup that will point you directly to your rocket. The downside is that you have to solder the unit together from a kit. If you're uncomfortable with soldering, there are a few people who will assemble them for you for a relatively small fee.

Also, I've seen "I'm only going to 2000 feet" transition to "What can I use in my L2 rocket" pretty fast in a number of people. Possibly including the one in front of the keyboard. 😀
 

heada

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Eggfinder ((mini)TX/RX combo or the TRS/LCD combo) is a great solution and it supports a rocketry vendor and is "cheap". I'd recommend any of the GPS trackers by EggFinder or MissileWorks or Featherweight or any of the rocketry vendors. Support the rocketry vendors that have solutions designed for rocketry rather than cobble something together from bits/parts from Amazon/AliExpress/etc.
 

Sluggo

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Good replies. Thanks. I do have cell service where I fly. And I hate that. wink.

I'm going to look at the choices listed here. I'm going to surf around over the next few days. I like simplicity. I should have mentioned that previously.

I should add..... The main reason I need a Tracker is .... I fly alone for the most part. So, one set of eyes doesn't always work well. I've learned that.
 
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Sluggo

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Missile Works RTX. Haven't lost a single rocket since getting the full Navigator system.
So I see the RTX has a base and a rocket unit. Not seeing a screen anywhere. How is one 'directed' to the downed rocket.??

Also I'll add this..... When I read about this product at their website, abbreviations everywhere. Not cool in my book. Not giving up on it but I couldn't purchase it without asking a bunch of questions.
 

neil_w

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There are screamers tailored more specifically for rockets... but I'm darned if I can find any of them on the web right now. Well, there's one on Apogee's site: https://www.apogeerockets.com/Electronics-Payloads/Rocket-Locators/Transolve-BeepX. That one is quite a bit larger and heavier than the ones I was thinking of, though.

I'm not sure if a screamer will help you when you have absolutely no idea where the rocket went, although I suppose there is a chance that if you do a reasonable amount of searching you might eventually get close enough to hear it.
 

Voyager1

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So I see the RTX has a base and a rocket unit. Not seeing a screen anywhere. How is one 'directed' to the downed rocket.??

Also I'll add this..... When I read about this product at their website, abbreviations everywhere. Not cool in my book. Not giving up on it but I couldn't purchase it without asking a bunch of questions.
The MW RTX has an LCD screen that attaches to the module and 3D printed cases for both the RTX and LCD. These two cases lock together to form a handheld receiver with display. The LCD provides coordinates and/or directions for the rocket location, depending on whether you’ve also purchased the RTX base unit with GPS module.


 

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GalantVR41062

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I have the MW T3, rocket hunter RF transmitter and receiver, Eggfinder stuff.

I have only used the MW T3 and rocket hunter with good results. I have the T3 base blue tooth to my phone and use apps like rocket finder or bluetooth gps.

I have lost a few rockets over the years also and find it hard to give up looking. I have had good luck with using Google maps.

I need to know the launch pad location, altitude, decent rate (dual/single deploy, JLCR, chute or streamer etc) wind speed and direction, launch and decent characteristics of the model. Open rocket also has the ability to calculate lateral distance from the launch pad.

Then I load up Google map, mark the launch site and use the measure distance feature to get a heading and distance in the wind direction. I then can make a grid pattern and search. Send me a PM if you want help with the recovery of the lost model.

~John
 

Arsenal78

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Missileworks T3 is good for the price. Eggfinder definitely gets the job done but it's very archaic in terms of actually tracking it. Featherweight really cannot be beat but only works on iOS atm. Missileworks only works on Android I believe. The Featherweight has its own app whereas the Missileworks T3 relies on third party apps that kinda work.
 

Banzai88

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So I see the RTX has a base and a rocket unit. Not seeing a screen anywhere. How is one 'directed' to the downed rocket.??

Also I'll add this..... When I read about this product at their website, abbreviations everywhere. Not cool in my book. Not giving up on it but I couldn't purchase it without asking a bunch of questions.
To be certain, no one's web page or manual is very GPs Newbie friendly, as I learned 6 years ago when I was a BAR, but a certain amount of exposure and, like anything else, you start to pick it up and find out what your needs are and what products will service that need. Me, I'm a data junkie, so anything that records for later download is right up my alley. Doesn't hurt that MW has NEVER had a supply issue that I know of, and that I fly RRC3s and RRC2+ in just about every rocket I own biased me toward their GPS about a year after it hit the market and was proven out as reliable.

I use the "Navigator System"

Which pairs with the LCD screen:

That I installed into these hand held case units:


Some prefer the simpler and smaller T3 system, but I have z.e.r.o. faith in any 'apps' or anything tethered to my phone, although I do use the 'last known position' coordinates entered into Google Maps on my phone to give me an approximation of where I'm going if the rocket has landed out of sight.

The Navigator system gives me a 'walk to' arrow from several miles out, and have NEVER failed me, even in the middle of a swamp that I had to drive 2 miles away from to find a field that I could cross to get into it and recover my rocket.......it has put me within 10 feet of the downed rocket every.single.time. I now have 5 different TXs on 'universal' nose cone sleds as well as a 'universal pod' that I can tether into the recovery harness of any appropriately sized rocket.

I've owned a BRB and a EggFinder, sold 'em both off for the RTX and never looked back.
 
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Richard Dierking

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I once heard someone say "I don't buy expensive GPS trackers because I occasionally loose my rocket."
But, it's true, buying a tracker is kind of an investment, and I think the most important things is that they work well and that you get experience using them when you can still see your rocket, or use a back up like a CommSpec tracker.
For just about all of them, learning how to mount and secure an adequate battery is very important to having a successful track and recovery.

One of the cool things and an added benefit of having a GPS tracker on board is being able to download the tracking file and show on something like Google Earth. You learn a lot about winds above the deck and what the actual trajectory of your rocket was.

I have a couple different trackers and two I have are the Eggfinder and the Featherweight. In my experience (which has been severely limited since March last year), the Featherweight works a bit better for over say 10K'. I would recommend them both.

So, my suggestion is learn how to mount the tracker you choose to avoid interference and protect it and the battery from vibration and shock. Then, get some experience using it early, so you will be ready for those high alt flights. I know rocket people, they never want to go lower or slower.
 

pbahorich

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The OP asked for 1. Affordable and 2. Reliable.
1. Eggtimer can't be beat for affordability. I don't think there is any debate here about that.
2. I've had great results with Eggtimer. I used a TRS (the standard 900 MHz version) for my level 3 cert, along with the external plastic antenna on the rocket (so it would be clear from the allthreads in the ebay). It tracked perfectly from burnout to the 14,600 foot apogee and all the way down to landing 1/2 mile away.
I've also used the Eggfinder Mini and had great results after a 25g launch. My next project will see over 50g. The Eggfinder RX or Mini are great to start with.

If you don't know how to solder, this is a great opportunity to learn. Follow the excellent instructions in the kit.
 

Sluggo

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To be certain, no one's web page or manual is very GPs Newbie friendly, as I learned 6 years ago when I was a BAR, but a certain amount of exposure and, like anything else, you start to pick it up and find out what your needs are and what products will service that need. Me, I'm a data junkie, so anything that records for later download is right up my alley. Doesn't hurt that MW has NEVER had a supply issue that I know of, and that I fly RRC3s and RRC2+ in just about every rocket I own biased me toward their GPS about a year after it hit the market and was proven out as reliable.

I use the "Navigator System"

Which pairs with the LCD screen:

That I installed into these hand held case units:


Some prefer the simpler and smaller T3 system, but I have z.e.r.o. faith in any 'apps' or anything tethered to my phone, although I do use the 'last known position' coordinates entered into Google Maps on my phone to give me an approximation of where I'm going if the rocket has landed out of sight.

The Navigator system gives me a 'walk to' arrow from several miles out, and have NEVER failed me, even in the middle of a swamp that I had to drive 2 miles away from to find a field that I could cross to get into it and recover my rocket.......it has put me within 10 feet of the downed rocket every.single.time. I now have 5 different TXs on 'universal' nose cone sleds as well as a 'universal pod' that I can tether into the recovery harness of any appropriately sized rocket.

I've owned a BRB and a EggFinder, sold 'em both off for the RTX and never looked back.
Great reply. Thanks 88. I get it.
 

Sluggo

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I once heard someone say "I don't buy expensive GPS trackers because I occasionally loose my rocket."
But, it's true, buying a tracker is kind of an investment, and I think the most important things is that they work well and that you get experience using them when you can still see your rocket, or use a back up like a CommSpec tracker.
For just about all of them, learning how to mount and secure an adequate battery is very important to having a successful track and recovery.

One of the cool things and an added benefit of having a GPS tracker on board is being able to download the tracking file and show on something like Google Earth. You learn a lot about winds above the deck and what the actual trajectory of your rocket was.

I have a couple different trackers and two I have are the Eggfinder and the Featherweight. In my experience (which has been severely limited since March last year), the Featherweight works a bit better for over say 10K'. I would recommend them both.

So, my suggestion is learn how to mount the tracker you choose to avoid interference and protect it and the battery from vibration and shock. Then, get some experience using it early, so you will be ready for those high alt flights. I know rocket people, they never want to go lower or slower.
Richard.... Fantastic reply. Super advice right there. I've thought of it this way..... I have 2 choices, get a tracker and learn how to use it OR keep my flights in sight, no tracker. What you are suggesting is both. Thanks for your reply.
 

pbahorich

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Not Quite Nominal

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If you're looking at dirt cheap, you could use a Loc8tor tag. Around $100 for the whole system, fire and forget, fits in LPR tubing, and will track about as far as LPR goes (and not much farther)
 

Sluggo

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Regarding the Eggfinders: If you don't want the pride of self-build, you still will be way better off financially getting them built by one of three people who offer services on this thread:
Eggtimer GPS system | The Rocketry Forum
or this one:
Providing Eggtimer kit assembly | The Rocketry Forum

I love my Eggtimer. I follow the arrow on my LCD and walk right up to the rocket every single time.
Great post for me. Thanks a lot.

I'm egging, I mean edging towards the mini unit. It'll be 2 or 3 weeks before I order but its on my radar as #1. And I'll use one of the builders you have linked here. Thanks again buddy.
 
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pbahorich

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Great post for me. Thanks a lot.

I'm egging, I mean edging towards the mini unit. It'll be 2 or weeks before I order but its on my radar as #1. And I'll use one of the builders you have linked here. Thanks again buddy.
Glad to be of service!
 

Zbench

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There are screamers tailored more specifically for rockets... but I'm darned if I can find any of them on the web right now. Well, there's one on Apogee's site: https://www.apogeerockets.com/Electronics-Payloads/Rocket-Locators/Transolve-BeepX. That one is quite a bit larger and heavier than the ones I was thinking of, though.

I'm not sure if a screamer will help you when you have absolutely no idea where the rocket went, although I suppose there is a chance that if you do a reasonable amount of searching you might eventually get close enough to hear it.
Those transolve products are made by John Fleischer who is a member of our local NOTRA Tripoli club. I have several. You can see the complete line up at: https://www.transolve.com/ The micro is crazy loud with that plexiglass tube installed. There is some sort of weird resonance that goes on when it's installed. The only downside is it takes a 12V battery. Give John's stuff a look!
 

neil_w

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Those transolve products are made by John Fleischer who is a member of our local NOTRA Tripoli club. I have several. You can see the complete line up at: https://www.transolve.com/ The micro is crazy loud with that plexiglass tube installed. There is some sort of weird resonance that goes on when it's installed. The only downside is it takes a 12V battery. Give John's stuff a look!
Interesting stuff, thanks for the pointer. Even the micro is a bit on the heavy side at 14g, though very reasonably priced. I feel like there were some smaller and lighter ones out there, but again I don't remember where.
 

Scott_650

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Those transolve products are made by John Fleischer who is a member of our local NOTRA Tripoli club. I have several. You can see the complete line up at: https://www.transolve.com/ The micro is crazy loud with that plexiglass tube installed. There is some sort of weird resonance that goes on when it's installed. The only downside is it takes a 12V battery. Give John's stuff a look!
The Transolve screamers look great - the Micro looks like a solid low cost solution. If you just want to try a screamer cheapo “personal alarms” from discount stores can work - bulky compared to a Transolve unit but the low cost and availability let you try the technique. Big help if your rocket is close but out of sight. I had decent success with a couple for very little money - ready to move up to a better one, like a Transolve Micro o Mini.
 
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