Byonics Micro Fox Transmitter

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ksaves2

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Not me but I have one that should technically work. Bought a long time ago with an external GPS receiver. Ground tested and works. This is the GPS transmitter.
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ksaves2

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This is an RDF transmitter that a Marvin White marketed over 10 years ago. I can’t find his site anymore. On the 2 meter band and 50mW out. Haven‘t flown but still works. I got addicted to GPS so my RDF stuff is still there but not used. I will have to eventually use it in smaller rockets that can’t fit a GPS tracker.
 

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FMarvinS

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I use the Byonics MT 1 watt and 2 watt GPS-2 meter transmitter units and they are excellent. I have it set to 4 sec transmission intervals and receiving the NMEA on a kenwood 72A connected to a Garmin (as fully described in the past by ksaves 2) . The transmitter's frequency is easy to set/change and the newer 2 watt one enables an easy 2 frequency choice via a slide switch. As Kyle infers, any of the Byonic units work well. The only caveat is that you need a ham license and an appropriate hand held receiver.
Fred, L2
ICBM, S.C.
KG4YGP
 

ksaves2

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I use the Byonics MT 1 watt and 2 watt GPS-2 meter transmitter units and they are excellent. I have it set to 4 sec transmission intervals and receiving the NMEA on a kenwood 72A connected to a Garmin (as fully described in the past by ksaves 2) . The transmitter's frequency is easy to set/change and the newer 2 watt one enables an easy 2 frequency choice via a slide switch. As Kyle infers, any of the Byonic units work well. The only caveat is that you need a ham license and an appropriate hand held receiver.
Fred, L2
ICBM, S.C.
KG4YGP
Shoot Fred, You ought to have incredible range with that setup! The only caution I suggest is one should do an all up ground test with contained ematches with no powder in the canisters. Turn everything on, tracker(s) altimeters and such and allow to sit upright for a time. If the altimeter(s) don’t shutdown or reset, one is in a good shape to go. Rf on the “right“ frequency can “whack” some deployment electronics.

I had a friend that flew two very “economical” deployment altimeters in a 16 inch diameter, 16 foot tall rocket that core sampled. The flier put a 2 watt, 150Mhz band “dog tracker” in the ebay next to the deployment electronics without a ground test as I described above. I helped mixed the N motor which performed really, excellently and nominally. I was proud I was involved with the motor mixing and packing. The rocket really performed on the upside but then disappeared. Nothing was seen. Fortunately it core sampled out in the middle of nowwhere in a cornfield. Had to use a backhoe to get some of the parts up. Got so deep the farmer said, “It’s so far down we don’t have to go any further!”

The dog tracker dorked both of the deployment electronic devices that yes were of the same manufacture. They were of the very economical variety. As long as folks test before flying they won’t have any surprises.

The same flier did a similar project and we mixed an “O” motor. “Gosh I love this hobby.” The motor did fine but the rocket was ass heavy. Did a loop and unfortunately crashed at the bottom of the loop. I regret the fact I didn’t mention to the flier to put it loaded up on a sawhorse for balance purposes. Some nose weight might have saved the day. I was still working full time at the time and couldn’t be around the rocket shop as much as I would have liked.

After that happened, the flyer didn’t attempt any really large projects anymore. Flew some research M’s in some of his established rockets but didn’t go after the big stuff anymore. That was a good idea.

I had the pleasure of running a 25kg mixer at his shop and pouring the components in because I was the “doctor” as the members of the local TRA club laughed about. I M.D.ed for a living at the time but am now retired. Gosh, I miss those days. They were so much fun. Glad nothing really “bad” happened.
Kurt Savegnago (ready to get back to flying!)
 

DaveW6DPS

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I haven't used a Micro Fox 15, but have used other Byonics stuff in rockets and balloons with great results.

I do recommend a good antenna, and placing it outside the e-bay. I have been using coaxial dipoles for several years with good results.
 

rocketman328

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Dave, my concerns with using the Byonics Micro Fox would be with possible interference issues with onboard Flight Controllers (altimeters), did any of your rockets have other electronics in close proximity to the transmitter. Also did you actually utilize it to find a lost rocket, did you search by yourself or did you have others hunting as well? Our club has used these for fox hunting, they put out a very good signal often times overloading the receivers as you get closer. Have you had to tune on a 2nd harmonic or utilize an attenuator? Were you able to locate the missing rocket? Thanks for the info.
Mike KO9Q
 

FMarvinS

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Hey Kurt-its good to hear from you. I'm envious, due to college and graduate school tuition (3 kids), full retirement is still light years away. You are obviously right, full ground testing is required in order to avoid the altimeter problems you described. Also, as Mike questions, I usually place the GPS/transmitter in a nose bay which on the larger rockets can be several feet from the AV-bay. Also, using tuned antennas, as implied by Dave helps minimizing RFI and maximizing propagation. On the controversial side, I use titanium all threads/hardware in the nose bays to hopefully minimize transmission attenuation. One reason I use higher power transmitters is to more easily discern the transmitted NMEA when the rocket is on the ground. I've had problems in the past with 100 mw or 250 mw transmitters having short transmission ranges once the rocket is below 500 to 1000 feet or on the ground.
Regards,
Fred
 

DaveW6DPS

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Dave, my concerns with using the Byonics Micro Fox would be with possible interference issues with onboard Flight Controllers (altimeters), did any of your rockets have other electronics in close proximity to the transmitter. Also did you actually utilize it to find a lost rocket, did you search by yourself or did you have others hunting as well? Our club has used these for fox hunting, they put out a very good signal often times overloading the receivers as you get closer. Have you had to tune on a 2nd harmonic or utilize an attenuator? Were you able to locate the missing rocket? Thanks for the info.
Mike KO9Q
Interference is always a concern with mission critical electronics. The MicroFox 15 is very low power and most altimeters are designed with RFI in mind. I do like to keep the RF from any onboard transmitter away from deployment electronics, because I have had issues in the past. Luckily discovered during ground testing. I do recommend looking t the antenna on board the rocket. A good antenna located outside the e-bay will give a better signal to track and reduce RFI to the altimeter.

I have had to rely on DF to find rockets a couple of times. I generally search on my own. I have quite a bit of experience with ARDF/Fox Hunting. My profile photo shows me with my ARDF rig during a hunt. I do use a attenuator and small yagi or Moxon antenna. I have used other methods over the years, including tuning off and body fade. Attenuators work much better.

You can find some info on the stuff I have used and built at: https://www.qsl.net/w6dps/HamProjects.html

Also: https://rocstock.org/learn/advanced/ Scroll down to "Rocket Tracking".
 

DaveW6DPS

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Oh, and for a lot more information on ARDF and fox hunting check out my buddy Joe' page: http://www.homingin.com/

Joe literally wrote the book on ARDF. and there are links to equipment, including antennas and attentuators.
 

rocketman328

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Interference is always a concern with mission critical electronics. The MicroFox 15 is very low power and most altimeters are designed with RFI in mind. I do like to keep the RF from any onboard transmitter away from deployment electronics, because I have had issues in the past. Luckily discovered during ground testing. I do recommend looking t the antenna on board the rocket. A good antenna located outside the e-bay will give a better signal to track and reduce RFI to the altimeter.

I have had to rely on DF to find rockets a couple of times. I generally search on my own. I have quite a bit of experience with ARDF/Fox Hunting. My profile photo shows me with my ARDF rig during a hunt. I do use a attenuator and small yagi or Moxon antenna. I have used other methods over the years, including tuning off and body fade. Attenuators work much better.

You can find some info on the stuff I have used and built at: https://www.qsl.net/w6dps/HamProjects.html

Also: https://rocstock.org/learn/advanced/ Scroll down to "Rocket Tracking".
Thanks for the input, appreciate it, 73
 

ksaves2

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Hey Kurt-its good to hear from you. I'm envious, due to college and graduate school tuition (3 kids), full retirement is still light years away. You are obviously right, full ground testing is required in order to avoid the altimeter problems you described. Also, as Mike questions, I usually place the GPS/transmitter in a nose bay which on the larger rockets can be several feet from the AV-bay. Also, using tuned antennas, as implied by Dave helps minimizing RFI and maximizing propagation. On the controversial side, I use titanium all threads/hardware in the nose bays to hopefully minimize transmission attenuation. One reason I use higher power transmitters is to more easily discern the transmitted NMEA when the rocket is on the ground. I've had problems in the past with 100 mw or 250 mw transmitters having short transmission ranges once the rocket is below 500 to 1000 feet or on the ground.
Regards,
Fred
Hello Fred, I still have a couple earlier generation Beeline GPS units with replaced batteries that still work.
I believe one was lucky if they put out 16Mw. I didn’t have any problem with them as my rockets would land within two miles and the last known position was good enough to get me within the ground footprint of the tracker. You’re right, more power with a good antenna system is key to maximize the ground footprint. Only problem is if the rocket lands in a depression or behind a hill or berm. Getting that last known fix is really important and of course with more power will have a better chance with reception.

Rf interference I believe is not so bad anymore. I had built two ancient P6k deployment altimeters and a 15mw 70cm RDF tracker would cause apogee deployment on ascent. Very messy. Gave up on those. Adept 22’s locked up with high powered trackers also. The AIM USB (not their GPS model) actually cautions not to fly the unit with an onboard Rf tracker. It was in the manual. I have a bunch of these units too and restrict them to lower flying dual deploys that don’t stay out of sight if at all for very long. Sometimes it’s fun to be able to watch all the events as they happen. The Adept 22’s were really economical for the time and yes someone is going to shout out they fly one with a tracker “all the time” but if one is pushing up to 100mw or more in the 2 meter band (or 150Mhz dogtracker range) better beware. Might get away with 900Mhz but I’d still do a full up ground test. The problem with the Adept 22’s is they reset in flight which lead to core samples with high powered trackers onboard. Without Rf, mine have performed nominally, no problem.

Of course if one invests in a combo altimeter tracker there won’t be an issue as long as there is a good installation but the footprint (at least on the GPS/deployment altimeter ones) is larger. Gotta cook supper.
All the best, Kurt Savegnago
 

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Kurt,

I know Tommy of Adept Rocketry and initially used the Adept 22 for my L1 and L2 certs. Tommy is a member of one of our local ham clubs and I initially learned about altimeters while visiting his workshop. I believe he was one of the pioneers of altimeter based recovery systems. I agree with your assessment, unless mother nature places obstacles in the way (e.g. hill) using higher power transmitters yields larger recovery foot prints. My initial reason for purchasing the Byonics was the wishful thinking of launching at Argonia or eventually at Black Rock-where those transmitters may be a necessity. Maybe after an effective/safe vaccine is produced (?Moderna) I'll fulfill my desires. Currently, the local club is closed for the summer due to warranted concerns.

Best regards and you & your family stay safe,
Fred
 

ksaves2

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Kurt,

I know Tommy of Adept Rocketry and initially used the Adept 22 for my L1 and L2 certs. Tommy is a member of one of our local ham clubs and I initially learned about altimeters while visiting his workshop. I believe he was one of the pioneers of altimeter based recovery systems. I agree with your assessment, unless mother nature places obstacles in the way (e.g. hill) using higher power transmitters yields larger recovery foot prints. My initial reason for purchasing the Byonics was the wishful thinking of launching at Argonia or eventually at Black Rock-where those transmitters may be a necessity. Maybe after an effective/safe vaccine is produced (?Moderna) I'll fulfill my desires. Currently, the local club is closed for the summer due to warranted concerns.

Best regards and you & your family stay safe,
Fred
Fred,

Tommy was a wonderful person. I had some correspondence with him and he sent me one of his little RDF trackers gratis. I bought one previously from him and he just spontaneously sent it to me out of the blue. Very kind of him. Had some nice rocketry emails back and fourth.

Yeah, I had some grandiose ideas of sending a 7 watt Byonics tracker to ping every digipeater in the Midwest up. I was tempered a lot as it would at the time, take a 12V battery and the APRS Nazis would likely have a conniption beyond belief. I nixed that after I was able to live track some of the high altitude balloons that a lot of folks were sending up in the late 90’s and early aughts’.

Took a D7A(g) and messaged a balloon that hit 100k. It was announced they were flying a D7A(g) as the primary tracking transmitter! We know that hardware is capable of messaging and I fired off several messages to the tune of, “Nice flight, I know you can’t see this until recovery!” All the while the balloon was in flight.

There was a digipeater 1200 feet away from my house with a 100 foot in the air antenna that put out 100 watts so essentially I could use an H/T for APRS and utilize that antenna for reception and transmission of messages. Unfortunately that station has been down for awhile. I’ve received position packets from 475 miles away and once saw a balloon project cruising in the jet stream at a blistering 150+ knots. It was hauling butt if you ask me. I zoomed down on the balloon, locked it in with Xastir and bam, bam, bam, bam it was covering ground like a bat out of Hades! Of course with Xastir there was a continuous readout of the speed and altitude in realtime next to the balloon icon. It’s what got me addicted to real time tracking. A lot of interesting information to see which could be applied to a rocket flight.

The NIXHAB balloon group recovered their D7A(g) project and 2 weeks later I got a big envelope in the mail with a CD of all the pictures the balloon camera took, best wishes and a stamped dog tag to commemorate the flight. That dog tag will be tacked in the ebay of an L3 rocket if I can ever get to it. (They tracked my home address by my callsign of course)

Doesn’t seem to be as many balloon flights anymore but I believe a couple of people have been able to send them around the world. One English fellow with a custom solar powered tracker got a party balloon around the earth 5 times I believe. Was eventually lost off the coast of Iceland. (Sorry about being off topic but this is part of about how I learned to track stuff. It was of course free learning.)

Kurt Savegnago (KC9LDH)
 
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FMarvinS

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Kurt,

I have appreciated many of your posts and your current recounting of the HABs and APRS tracking is high flying fun (pun intended). In my naive days (not ended yet) I had dreams of launching a rockoon which drew my attention to tracking and HAB activity. I agree it would be fun to do live tracking but the closest may be the use of a Kate unit when the price dramatically lowers and some have informed me that the telemetry portion of the TelaMega comes close (although I have no experience yet with it). I'll tell Tommy about our discussion-he'll be glad that he is still appreciated. I look forward to hearing about your successful L3 flight with the dog tag enclosed. That was much better than the typical QSL card! My own L3
plans (half already constructed) attains an altitude just at the local waiver; however, recovery would be difficult with typical winds locally and local geography. So, possibly Argonia is on the distant horizon.
Please continue to post your reminiscences it adds a lot of "flavor" and character to the forum
73,
Fred
 

ksaves2

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Kurt,

I have appreciated many of your posts and your current recounting of the HABs and APRS tracking is high flying fun (pun intended). In my naive days (not ended yet) I had dreams of launching a rockoon which drew my attention to tracking and HAB activity. I agree it would be fun to do live tracking but the closest may be the use of a Kate unit when the price dramatically lowers and some have informed me that the telemetry portion of the TelaMega comes close (although I have no experience yet with it). I'll tell Tommy about our discussion-he'll be glad that he is still appreciated. I look forward to hearing about your successful L3 flight with the dog tag enclosed. That was much better than the typical QSL card! My own L3
plans (half already constructed) attains an altitude just at the local waiver; however, recovery would be difficult with typical winds locally and local geography. So, possibly Argonia is on the distant horizon.
Please continue to post your reminiscences it adds a lot of "flavor" and character to the forum
73,
Fred
Hi Fred,

Stupidhead here once connected up a TelaMega to a battery in reverse polarity and toasted it.
$400.00 down the drain! They gave me a little discount on a replacement but still a pricey proposition! My fault entirely and I didn't post anything negative about the experience.

Thanks for telling Tommy about our discourse. I hold him in high regard to this day!
Great guy. Hope to be able to attend a major launch outside of MidWest Power in the future.
I am officially retired from "full time" work so I don't swear as much anymore! A lot of clean up work around the house. My lovely spouse died (in the avatar) of Radon induced lung cancer (we didn't know it was a problem) on January 25th 2019. A cigarette never touched her lips. Going to take some time to clean up my two little shops. One where I can "sand" one where I cannot.

The local Peoria, Illinois Prefecture had a "Muscle Launch" in about 2006 which had a pretty good attendance but the surrounding landowners "farmers" had a connipition.

Tracking is my passion and there are a couple of "tricks" I want to try for live map tracking once I get all my domestic chores done.

Eventually, I want to put Tommy's RDF tracker in a high flying two staged mod-roc and go for it!
It's small enough mind you! Kurt Savegnago
 

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Kurt,

Sorry to learn of the passing of your significant other, getting back into rocketry may be somewhat therapeutic. As you may recall, you and I are co-professionals and I've also cut back (not enough) from full work weeks. Hey, who knows, maybe one day we'll meet at Argonia and you'll have a giant territory in which to track and try out Tommy's RDF unit . After my L3 (? in the Spring of 2021) my passport is stamped for 2 stage territory. I've got a lot to learn and test first. I have a MARSA 54 and if I get the ancillary 2.4 gig associated transmitter and receiver, the 2 stage wiring should not be an issue. They also have a tilt meter which in the long run may be a requirement. I'll be talking to Tommy later next week and I'll gladly pass on your regards.

Best regards,
Fred
 

ksaves2

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I had to cut back to part time after the prostate cancer in 2016. Had robotic surgery with the hopes it would be curative but it was a peripheral lesion and a little leaked out next to the prostate bed. PSA didn’t go down. I was crushed. Radiation therapist stepped in and after a choline PET scan showed just a little tiny spot next to the prostate bed and no place else, got zapped with 45 treatments along with Lupron shots for two years.
Lupron is a gonadotropin releasing factor inhibitor. It results in complete chemical castration. One ain’t been castrated until they’ve been chemically castrated! Hey, if one wants a bit of life extension, you do what you have to do. Main issue now is fatigue but am trying to battle that with exercise. Walking 5 miles a day in 2 hours with a 10 to 15 minute water break. Was going to join a gym to work the upper body but Covid put a damper on that for now. As soon as things calm down, am going to hit the weight machines in a formal fashion. The housewives won’t have to worry about me getting fresh as they could probably beat me up easily! :) I’m so glad to be still around and so far, disease free. It was easy to make the decision to retire just a bit early with all this stuff going on. COBRA insurance is doable so adios medicine. Kurt
 

FMarvinS

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Kurt,

Sorry to learn of your medical situation. An old friend of mine went down the same path after bypass surgery and prostate Ca with the same treatment course (about 8 years ago); however, like you, he hit the exercise circuit and can compete now with a 25 y/o. He travels and is into water sports avidly (lives in Florida). After SARS-CoV-2 is conquered by vaccine or recovery cases surpassing the herd immunity threshold, I plan to visit him often to take in some launches at the Space Center. Again, as stated above, when you are stronger and up to it, let's encourage each other to go for the L3. I know that the fun and frustration of rocketry definitely beats taking SSRIs.

Best wishes for a speedy & successful recovery !
Fred
 
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