GPS trackers in 2021

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leonklaus

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Hi everyone. Recently, I got interested in gps trackers for cars, but I can not decide about a model. I saw some youtube videos, but personally I do not have any experience with them. What would you recommend to me, guys? Thank you!
 

Banzai88

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I've been more than happy with the Missile Works RTX full system. It's taken me to within 6 feet of my rocket every single time. It's certainly pricy, and the form factor is a little large, but it just flat out works! I've even been able to leave to go get a tree recovery pole and come back several days later and still get a lock from rocket to base station.

Whatever you do, you'll find yourself addicted to making nose GPS bays, and probably even a universal 'pod' to attach to a recovery harness, for all of your rockets! If you do like I did, you can also make a 'universal GPS sled' so that you can move the sled from rocket to rocket with ease. After using every single commercial solution over the last 5-6 years, I find that I prefer this solution: https://macperformancerocketry.com/collections/nosecone-bay-kits/products/pinnacle-nosecone-bay-kits

Also, the Universal Law Of GPS Tracking will apply as soon as you make a decision and order one: If you launch WITH GPS, the rocket will land within easy visual sight. The single time that you COULD launch with GPS but do not.....it will land somewhere well beyond visual sight and you'll wish that you had put the GPS in it!
 

Bat-mite

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I like the BRB900 system. 900 MHz so no ham license needed. You get a transmitter that sends back coordinates, and a receiver that displays coordinates. You then need a navigator of some sort to walk you to your rocket. I use an old Magellan hiking navigator; they go for about $20 on ebay.
 

ksaves2

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I've used the BRB 70cm ham band tracker as I'm a general ticket Ham and it's really good. I also have used the EggFinder on 900Mhz for sport rockets that go out of sight and have had great luck with it. I gotta build the EggFinder kit I have on the 70cm band and see how it performs.
Unless one's project is going to drift for "miles and miles" the 900Mhz (33cm band) no-license-required GPS trackers are perfectly fine. If flying really aggressively, the 70cm Ham band has the potential for more range and one can use a handheld Yagi antenna to point in the general direction of the rocket to improve reception and decoding of the position packets.
They say that a 900Mhz Yagi antenna is impractical to use for in flight tracking but I have used mine for ground recovery since the rocket is generally stationary and it does indeed increase the ground footprint of the tracker for the final recovery. On 900Mhz, the boom is long and the elements are short so that makes it an easy carry.

Kurt Savegnago (a.k.a. KC9LDH)
 

Chad

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I use the Featherweight GPS and it works fine for me. The mobile app only works on IOS though.
 

Chad

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Thank you very much for all the usefull information. I was also looking at the Featherweight GPS, but someone also recommended me another tracker from this website: https://www.gps-tracker.info/produkt/gps-tracker-mini
It's also very small and I saw that they have a phone app too.
Thanks
Keep in mind, the GPS coordinates have to get to your phone somehow. Since rocket launches are usually in pretty remote/rural areas you may not have a good cell connection on the rocket where the tracker is. Rocket GPS systems usually use a radio link for rocket to base station communication since you typically do have line of sight between the rocket and the receiver (at least until touchdown).
 

ksaves2

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Thank you very much for all the usefull information. I was also looking at the Featherweight GPS, but someone also recommended me another tracker from this website: https://www.gps-tracker.info/produkt/gps-tracker-mini/
It's also very small and I saw that they have a phone app too.
Thanks
You have to pay a monthly subscription rate as it is SMS and have to have a data sim. Stay away from that and try to look at a self contained system with a receiver and tracker. Then you don't have to pay a monthly or subscription fee. A Ham Radio Tech license is pretty easy to get and opens up more bands. You can look at interesting stuff from Byonics. https://www.byonics.com/products
Note well, RF trackers can screw up depolyment electronics and all installations should be ground tested with the altimeters on with contained ematches on all channels used and running the GPS tracker for 45 minutes to an hour. If the altimeter(s) don't shutdown, pop ematches or continuously cycle, one is good to fly.
Also with Rf GPS trackers I have mine setup to use an application that plots all the received positions on a map application either Android or a Linux laptop. That way I get a trendline on a map. I can track the decent better. It's never happened to me but if I walk out the last known position and no rocket, I know which direction to proceed to pick up a new signal and fix from the trend line on the map.
I think self contained is the way to go and stay away from the cellphone based trackers. The subscription is extra and with a self contained system, you avoid that.

Kurt
 
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