Featherweight GPs Tracker full system

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firemanup

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Has anyone ordered one of these? I’m assuming it comes with a charger but it doesnt really say, im not sure if i need to order a charger as well, or not?

Thanks
 

timbucktoo

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The ground station just needs USB cable, the trackers will need a charger of sorts. I believe they sell one on their website which also uses USB cable.
 

Cameron Anderson

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I was just looking at ordering a system too; the range is impressive as is the small size but I don't know anyone who has it so I don't hav any user recommendations.
 

watheyak

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I have it. It's great. I've used many past and present systems and this is by far the easiest to use, as well as being the most capable.

Most of our club has switched over to the Featherweight. It helps that the genius who wrote the software for it is a club member, but still...
 
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Arsenal78

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I know someone who does use it and says it's amazing. I'm going to order a system eventually. I had an Eggfinder at one point but that damn thing is too confusing to figure out. I sold it and still plan to get a Featherweight.
 

Paradox_2112

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I own this system, used it once before Covid19 hit. Waiting to use again. Worked perfectly as advertised. Walked right to the rocket.
 

ksaves2

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I know someone who does use it and says it's amazing. I'm going to order a system eventually. I had an Eggfinder at one point but that damn thing is too confusing to figure out. I sold it and still plan to get a Featherweight.
Any GPS tracking system has a learning curve that one must master plus it depends upon what one wants to achieve. If one wants to find a rocket and don’t care about data or particulars, any unit that gives a bearing arrow and distance from one’s position will do. If one is interested with live tracking on a map, that takes a bit more work and may require different hardware to achieve.

Live track on a map and you’ll never go back. It was doable before 2007 with with Ham APRS trackers using a Kenwood D7A(g) one wire interfaced with a handheld Garmin mapping GPS. Push the launch button and the received positions are plotted with a breadcrumb trail. Sweet. The Garmin actually will calculate how long it will take one to get to the recovery site at the current walking speed. Really funky. (Don’t buy a used D7A(g) as the TNCs in these units are failing because they are so old. I know as I have two of them that are totally unusable for tracking now.)

It doesn’t take much to punch a 38mm MD rocket up to out of sight range for the entire flight which makes a GPS tracker essential if one wants to get the rocket back (consistently)

I’ve monitored my and others rockets that really got up there and rockets do weird things with the winds aloft. I was able to see that on a livemap that resided in a tracking program on a laptop and of course now there are small tablets that work for this. Rockets go back and forth, spiral every which way and never end up where the crowd is looking by anticipating the ground wind speed and direction. With an APRS tracker the rocket icon was painted on the map along with the altitude and speed next to the breadcrumbed position. Once one uses GPS, they‘ll never go back to RDF unless the size of the rocket precludes the use of a GPS tracker and one is stuck with RDF. Of course a GPS receiver system with a bearing arrow and distance would work for recovery just fine but behavior at altitude (if one is interested in that stuff) is not easily seen unless plotted on a live map.

Nonetheless, choose your system, learn it and practice, practice, practice. Test out a new installation by using a lower powered motor that will keep your GPS tracked rocket in sight in case something goes wrong. At least after an “off nominal” flight you can visually track and get the rocket back to trouble shoot. If all is in order, punch it to however high you want it to go. Kurt
 

ChicagoDave

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I have and regularly use the Featherweight GPS tracker. If you've been to a QCRC or TWA launch you may have even seen and heard me using it.

I recommend getting the charger for the tracker battery. It just makes your life much easier when you want to charge up your tracker & base station. You can, however, use the base station to charge the tracker battery as well but I found it cumbersome. (If you have the means and you regularly fly multiple rockets at a launch I recommend multiple trackers as well - but that's an extra nice-to-have)

After the flight you can use the GPS data to plot the rockets trajectory in Google Earth. This one isn't all that interesting, but sometimes it can be pretty amazing to see where the rocket went on the way up and back down. (This is same flight for which I posted the video link, below)

Sandhawk_I200_QCRC_6-2020.jpg

Here's a link to one of my screen recordings of the Featherweight tracker in use. The rocket was my LOC 2.2" Sandhawk on an I200: Featherweight GPS Tracker - QCRC
 

TonyL

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I have a couple units, the GPS chip performs very well even under extremely high acceleration [90g+]. I got bigger batteries for the transmitter so I would not have to watch how long it was on.

As others have said it pays to practice with it just like any other new equipment. The user interface works very well for finding one's rocket, with a number of additional features in development. If mounted sensibly, it also can take a hefty whack from 20kft.

br/

Tony
 
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