Cheap Flight Insurance

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Off Grid Gecko

Well-Known Member
Mar 24, 2020
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Southern Missouri
So, I learned a lot at the launch I attended this weekend. Wasn't expecting to learn much at all, but what can I say? It was a terrific group, and a very inventive one at that.
I started looking around online this morning for a really loud piezoelectric buzzer that I could mount securely to a battery. While they exist in good quantity, most of them are fairly quiet for the size. I'm looking for something to stuff into a BT-60 tube, as I plan on making a lot of flights with this size rocket in the near future.
One of the guys at the club had those rape-keychain deals, and that seems like a pretty cool idea, but I wanted to get simpler and cheaper if possible. That and the size of most of those puts the outside of the case range.

I stumbled upon door alarm (and window alarm) buzzers. I've had some experience with these things in the past before I moved out here to the woods. They are pretty loud, to the point of being annoying, but I think they make simple and effective beepers to stuff into a rocket. They're light, cheap (few bucks each when split from the pack), and available at just about any hardware store.

I've found that my flagging tape streamers aren't nearly as effective as I would like in recovering rockets, but I can usually get a pretty good line, and I'm sure that I can get close enough to the rocket that a 120dB alarm tone would draw my attention and lead me in. Planning to mount them securely to a Kevlar tether and attach to the nose cone. It does mean that the tube needs to be about 2" longer, but that's really no big deal for me. On larger diameters they would take up far less space.

I figure stuff them in the tube and then crank them on at the pad before arming other electronics or installing igniters.

Just a cool idea I thought I'd post. Feel free to post your own "cheap insurance" strategies as well.


Not a rocket scientist
Feb 15, 2009
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A lot of folks will say that a warble or two-tone siren or beep is more effective as a rocket finder than a continuous buzz. If it's too loud it can actually be harder to find in something like sorghum in that it becomes omnidirectional sounding once you get close.

I've used a variety over the years but switched to small RDF beacons about 15 years ago and now use Featherweight trackers in pretty much anything with an altimeter and reloadable case in it.

It will be interesting to hear what others have to say about the different tone styles.