Hard Core Rocket Tracking

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Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2009
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I doubt it is powerful enough to pick up a rocket at 10 miles without a radar transponder inside the rocket. Additionally that's a lot of money for a radar system is designed to go into an airplane, that may or may not be working, and most likely requires FCC and FAA licenses to operate.

A much simpler way to go is to use a GPS receiver/RF modem approach like the one from https://www.gpsflight.com/

For less than a grand you can purchase a GPS/digital altimeter/100 mw RF modem package combo with real-time mapping software and directional high-gain base antenna that will plug and play into any notebook computer.

Range is quoted as better than 15 miles, and with the real-time tracking you can follow the rocket trajectory down to the ground. As you are likely to loose contact as the rocket drops over the horizon, if you have a hand-held GPS unit, you can drive to the last known location of the rocket and you should then be close enough to pick up the rockets modem telling you where the rocket landed. Just drive/walk to the spot and you should be within 5 meters of your rocket.

Obviously this is not an inexpensive system, but neither is a rocket that breaks 50 kft! Rockets flying that high can land anywhere in a 1000+ square mile area depending on the winds aloft, so it may be worth the expense.

Bob Krech


Well-Known Member
Dec 24, 2003
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It was only meant as a somewhat silly post. (I was kind of protesting the word association post count building subroutine) I forgot that occasionally people take me seriously. I had 10 years in air search radar systems and I suspect the only way you could keep track of a model rocket with a Collins weather radar would be if you somehow tied the rocket to it with a string....

Now on the other hand, here is what I would call the ideal launch control and rocket tracking set-up.


Sorry folks, you can mark this one closed.:kill:

Len B

Old Member
TRF Supporter
Jan 19, 2009
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BC, Canada
Why do people want to build their post count? Seriously? And, no I am not posting this to increase mine. I really can't imagine why it would matter!

Sorry to change threads here.

(Interesting links BTW.)

Len Bryan