How to find a rocket lost in high grass?

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by billdz, Jun 12, 2017.

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  1. Jun 13, 2017 #31

    billdz

    billdz

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    @snrkl - Agreed, it should be within that triangle. It is 400m to those houses. You can hear the ejection charge at the 0:30 second mark of the video, and the sound came from that direction. If the chute had opened, I would have seen the rocket coming down. Since I didn't see it, I'm assuming it came fairly straight down on this almost windless day in Slovakia.

    I've probably been watching too much Scorpion and CSI on TV, but I keep wondering if there is some way to enhance the video to make the rocket visible.
     
  2. Aug 6, 2017 #32

    billdz

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    Never did find my Patriot, but I wanted to thank kcobbva for his suggestion above about the Eposgear screamer, which is still available on Amazon at
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9R2LZ1/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
    I also considered the screamer recommended by Salvage-1, but it was a bit large and heavy for my needs, probably great for larger rockets.

    As kcobbva mentioned, the Eposgear is really loud, and I like the fact that there's a keychain is on the device itself, so it's easy to attach to a rocket. Most screamers only have a cord on the pin, so it's necessary to tape something on the screamer to attach it to the rocket. The screamer saved me yesterday, easily found a rocket that otherwise would likely have been lost. It's also cool to hear the sound as the rocket descends -- you don't hear the sound at all until the rocket gets below 800 feet or so, then it slowly gets louder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2018
  3. Aug 6, 2017 #33

    Ted Cochran

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    In future, if you don't have a lot of friends to help you do a grid search walking line abreast, you can use a cell phone app for runners or cyclists that is zoomed way in to the area you're searching in. Pick out a landmark on the horizon and walk straight towards it as far as you think you need to. Then take some steps sideways and walk back in the other direction. Use the map on the app to make sure you're staying parallel to the track you made. Be thorough and systematic in your tracks, expanding the search area in likely directions if the initial search fails.

    -------------------------------------->
    <--------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------>
    <--------------------------------------------

    etc.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2017 #34

    Zeus-cat

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    Ted has some great advice, but I would change one thing for the grid search. Walk further than you think the rocket went. I have searched for many rockets and most times people say after finding it that it was further away than they thought.
     
  5. Aug 7, 2017 #35

    swatkat

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    I use the little piezo buzzers and a coin battery. they emit a VERY ANNOYING buzzer beep that can be heard for 100+m. the battery will power them for tons of flights and they are very light.
     
  6. Aug 7, 2017 #36

    EXPjawa

    EXPjawa

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    I recently spent sometime looking for a rocket in a species of tall grass known locally as "corn". This particular field of corn was on the order of 2 feet taller than me (I'm not tall). It didn't help that my rocket was olive drab, though had a 36" bright orange chute attached.

    I know my experience is far from unique, but its the first time I've had to do it. I had a Pratt Hobbies screamer attached, but I've found that it seems to vary considerably in effectiveness. My theory was that if I walked in the right direction, I'd get close enough to be able to hear it. I spent 45 minutes out there, only to find that one's sense of direction is wonky when you have to sort of move in X-Y directions that run counter to your bearing, and you can't see any landmarks particularly well (or at all). I eventually came in, realized I'd gone off about 15 degrees to far to one side, and tried again on an adjusted bearing (relying only on internal guidance for direction). That time, I got within a few rows of the rocket, or at least the nose cone where the screamer was, close enough to hear it. I popped over through the rows and found the cone, chute, screamer (and my JLCR) all hanging about head height in the corn in front of me. The body was about 15', with the shock cord all stretched out.

    Anyway, the lesson learned here was that screamers have limitations, or at least the one I have does. One has to be a lot closer than I'd imagined in order to hear it. In a corn field, its possible to walk past fairly close without hearing it, though I wonder if the corn itself dampened the sound transmission. Time to try a different device, I think. The Pratt Hobbies screamer was inexpensive, but not that loud. I think the results wound be better in grass, for corn, I think I need one that is considerably louder.
     
  7. Aug 7, 2017 #37

    neil_w

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    How true that is. Last launch I thought I had lost 2 rockets: even after I had gone considerably further than I thought they could *possibly* have gone, both were found quite a bit beyond that.

    If I saw one of my rockets go down in a 7-8' corn field I don't even think I'd go after it. Of course, that's for LPR models that would presumably disappear in there completely. I've found that even low crops (1' soybeans, full-grown melon or squash) can completely swallow decent-sized rockets.

    I really need to try a screamer in the future. Any small thing to improve my chances seems worth a try; in my LPR stuff more advanced trackers don't seem worth it.
     
  8. Aug 7, 2017 #38

    billdz

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    The Pratt Hobbies mini- screamer is not that loud. The Eposgear screamer mentioned above is the loudest I've seen, 140db. The little piezo buzzers mentioned by swatcat sell on eBay for less than $1 and have 95db, maybe use two and get 190db? That would be so loud you might need earplugs to get close to it. On my flights last Saturday, we did not hear the screamer at all until the rocket got below around 800', then it got louder and louder until the rocket hit the grassy ground, then it went silent until we got within about 400'. Definitely saved at least one rocket, or at least made the recovery much easier.
     
  9. Aug 7, 2017 #39

    neil_w

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    dBs don't add like that. You probably couldn't fit enough 96dB buzzers in your rocket to make them add up to 140 dB. :)
     
  10. Aug 7, 2017 #40

    cerving

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    Decibels are 10 log10, so two 95dB buzzers would be 98 dB (10 x log10(2) is about 3, 95 dB + 3 dB = 98 dB). 95 dB is still pretty loud, you should easily be able to hear it within 100', but those buzzers are rated at full voltage and current (typically 12V at about 30 mA). The Pratt buzzers run on a 12V A23 battery, they're only good for about 60 mAH so 30 mAH could drain one of them in just a few hours.
     
  11. Aug 7, 2017 #41

    rharshberger

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    Every 3dB doubles the sound volume ie a dB of 99 is twice as loud as a dB of 96 iirc.
     
  12. Aug 7, 2017 #42

    EXPjawa

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    Well, the rocket in this case was a 54mm MAC Performance kit. Aside from the screamer, it was carrying with it my JL Chute Release, Altimeter2, and a 3-grain motor case. I didn't want to write all that stuff off. Not to mention that it was the rocket's maiden flight...
     
  13. Aug 7, 2017 #43

    neil_w

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    Yes, so if you figure out how many 95 dB noisemakers it would take to add up to 140 dB, the answer is... a lot. :)
     
  14. Aug 7, 2017 #44

    Rex R

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    after searching for rockets in tall grass (over 3') I can think of one item that might help...herbicide :).
    Rex
     
  15. Aug 8, 2017 #45

    Titan II

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    It takes a 10 dB difference to "perceive" a sound as being twice as loud.
     
  16. Aug 8, 2017 #46

    dhbarr

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    Has anyone ever used a mylar helium baloon as a streamer? Floating piezo / strobe sounds fun.
     
  17. Aug 8, 2017 #47

    RickGr4

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    Sorry but every 10dB increase is a double of the perceived volume. That is how the dB scale was designed.

    However it takes double the amplifier power to achieve a 3dB increase in volume. All things being equal, it takes 10 times the amplifier power to double the perceived volume.


    In regards to the OP's original post, I fly on a small field and I have lost at least a dozen rockets to the tree Gods. Not to sound unsympathetic but my advice is to:

    • Do your best (within reason), to find them. That being said, I have come home with wood ticks attached because I searched for rockets.
    • Don't become too attached to any particular rocket.
    • If you feel a change in the wind, change your launch position. I have lost rockets simply because I was too lazy to move.
    • Always have spares, especially of any rockets that matter to you.
    Screamers sound like a great idea but I am totally deaf in my left ear so I doubt they would help me. Spotters sound like the correct answer.
     
  18. Aug 8, 2017 #48

    fyrwrxz

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    FWIW- a couple of years ago I flew an insane motor in a Wild Child. It had a full chrome body tube wrap with bright orange cone and fins. It had a neon pink chute-orange tracking powder and at the very last minute I strapped an old adept beeper on it with a battery of unknown life left in it. Short story, never saw it come down. I searched 270 degrees based on what I thot was above ground wind and never found it. I went out the next day and the son of a German offroad racer heard it in an arroyo directly opposite of where i thought it could land. Young ears and an adventurous spirit brought my lost rocket back. Totally random events BUT I DID go back the next day (2 hours over the mountains one way), so persistence pays off. Search again and good luck to you with future launches (and recoveries).
     
  19. Aug 8, 2017 #49

    Titan II

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    One can also look into buying or building a parabolic mike to complement their screamer.
     
  20. Aug 8, 2017 #50

    ksaves2

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    Upper air winds will do it to you time and again. Of course that rocket is too small for a GPS tracker but if anyone monitors a high flying flight on a live map
    via a tracker, they will see upper air winds to weird things to rockets and push them someplace that has nothing to do with the prevailing ground winds.
    I've seen a rocket go in circles at altitude and checked the GPS logfile and it shows a solid satellite lock so it likely wasn't a spurious result.
    I have called out a rocket near the expected main deployment and noticed the crowd was looking 180 degrees from where I knew the rocket was at and pointed
    them in the right direction. Still no one saw the main but the rocket was perfectly fine when the flier picked it up. You'd be surprised how the < 48" parachutes
    disappear at a distance. Kurt
     
  21. Aug 8, 2017 #51

    Wayco

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    How about a lawnmower...
     
  22. Aug 9, 2017 #52

    snrkl

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    Not so much a "rocket recovery" device as as "rocket component minification" device...
     
  23. Aug 9, 2017 #53

    Rex R

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    depends on the size of the rocket. I know of one rocket that was found by a person cutting a path through the 'grass' (using a tractor equipped w/ cutting deck). the mdrm had a scrape that was easily repaired and flew at the next launch. the flyer had found the screamer readily enough...however it had separated from the rocket.
    Rex
     
  24. Aug 9, 2017 #54

    OverTheTop

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    One of our guys lost a rocket at a launch. Can't remember if it was fiberglass or phenolic or whatever. It turned up about six months later when the farmer presented the remains to him after having run over it with a combine harvester in the wheat field.

    The rocket was subsequently shortened and repaired, and renamed to "Recombined" :)
     
  25. Aug 9, 2017 #55

    snrkl

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    Nice... ;-p
     
  26. Aug 9, 2017 #56

    Rex R

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    when life breaks your sword, reforge the sword.
    Rex
     
  27. Aug 9, 2017 #57

    Charles_McG

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    Ah yes. 'The Flame of the West'.

    Anduril would a great name for a rocket reborn.
     
  28. Aug 9, 2017 #58

    Wayco

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    Remind me to never let you get into a discussion with my wife. Sharon has read the "Lord of the Rings" so many times, her original copy needs to be rebound. Anyone who can remember the name of "Strider's" sword has to be a LOTR buff.
     
  29. Aug 10, 2017 #59

    RCgothic

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    Forged from the shards of Narsil! Didn't even have to check!
     
  30. Aug 21, 2017 #60

    Stan

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    Super easy way to find your rocket in deep grass:
    1. Go to middle of field where you think the rocket may be.
    2. Throw gold coins, rings, jewelry or loose diamonds in all directions.
    3. Look for previously thrown items, at least you will find your rocket.
     

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