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Going to try Marco Polo with Woosh!

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Zauskycop

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I was very intrigued by this product, and finally decided to try it out. I ordered the "RC 2 transmitter" model that I will be trying out this weekend up at Bong with Woosh. Preliminary testing inside a FG AV/bay showed that I can get a good 1/4 mile of reception from the transmitter inside the tube. This is well short of the 1-2 mile range that they advertise, but they DO advertise with the antenna out in the open, not stuck inside of a rocket. Certainly not enough to fire a rocket out of sight and know where it is, but if you stay under 3-4k, and generally know where it is going, I think it should work pretty well.

If you aren't familiar with it, it comes with an LCD hand unit with (I believe) and integrated antenna that sends out a signal to a transmitter which then "responds". When it does the receiver has an arrow that points the direction of the TX, along with a signal strength meter to tell you how close it is.

Twice last month at Bong I had rockets drift to where I thought I knew where they were, but in the tall grass they were sucked up. One I found after 15 minutes....the other I was WAY off (100 yards?) of the drift, and if not for someone seeing where it landed I would have been SOL. THAT said, both my initial search areas would have been WELL inside the TX range for me to quickly find the rocket.

My only initial issue is that the circuit boards have no way to really attach to anything, and are wrapped in shrink wrap. I verified the "no attachment point with the manufacturer, so for now, a zip tie to a sled will have to do. I am working on designing a nomex bag with a hook to maybe attach to the NC so it leaves it out more on ejection...time will tell.

Anyway, that is my experiment this weekend...let you know how it goes
 

markkoelsch

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That short of a range? Is that on the ground or in the air?
 

ksaves2

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It's 900Mhz but 250Mw power output. I couldn't tell if it's GPS based and suspect it is since they say it will give you a distance. They said no subscription service required so I think it operates like the ISM GPS trackers out there.
I stuck a 100Mw Eggfinder on the chimney/roof of my single story house and got 2700' range. There were a lot of obstructions, trees and buildings in the way also so I believe an open range test would be much farther.
The price is in between the EggFinders and APRS tracking setup. If you have one on hand 'cause you fly a lot of R/C, by all means get double duty out of it. Kurt
 

Zauskycop

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I got that range when I put the TX in a FG tubed rocket, and started walking away...over a small hill and a few trees/cars in the way...no major blocks but definitely not in LOS.

It is DEFINITELY not GPS based..I suspect just a basic directional finder (points the direction) and then some programming to figure out the signal strength (read in a percentage on the hand unit...distance). Each receiver has buttons (channels) for 3 different TXs, so I expect that to be 3 different channels. As I said, nice and compact. The TX doesn't do any transmitting unless "pinged" by the hand unit, so no worries (supposedly) about messing with other electronics. I'm anxious to try it out. A nice bridge between a full bore GPS, and hunting in tall grass for your rocket. Better than one, and certainly not as good as the other.
 

Zauskycop

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Well, I have to say it worked pretty well. Very windy day led to a lot of drifting...chute release helped but still a LOT of people were searching through the grass for their rockets. Not so with me. 4 High Power launches and saw generally where they landed each time. Started walking that direction with the Marco Polo and walked me RIGHT to the rocket each time. Like I previously said, not the range of the GPS systems, but if you can get within 1/4 mile of your rocket, it will lead you right to it. Overall, Im pretty happy.
 

scsager

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It was nice meeting you at Bong on Saturday Tracy.

Thanks for showing me the Marco-Polo system.

In the past, I have used the "Comm-Spec" RF trackers, and "Eggfinder" GPS based trackers. The best way to describe the Marco-Polo is... It's like other RF based trackers, but it replaces the speaker and signal-strength-meter usually found on an RF tracker - with an LCD screen. The LCD screen gives you signal strength, and a directional ARROW. If you're out of range, it tells you on the screen.

At Bong, looks like maybe 1000' - 1500' foot range on the ground. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but truthfully, that covers probably 80% of the flight's I make. It's really nice for Bong, or any other site where tall grass or crops or other obstructions mean you can't see your rocket from more than 50' feet away. When you're out of range, just walk or drive a search pattern to get back in range.

EASE OF USE - is the real beauty of this system. Nothing to adjust, configure, or setup. Turn it on, put it in the rocket, done. If you can understand a pointing arrow, you will find your rocket.

I would like to know more about what happens when several people are using them at the same time. That's the "gotcha" with most tracker systems. Am I tracking my rocket or somebody else's rocket??? How do the "channels" work? Are the transmitters coded to your specific receiver?

Hope to see you again sometime at Bong!
 
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