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Marco Polo Tracker - Great Bang for the Buck

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RobertH3

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RE: Marco Polo - not too much room in the Magg (nose has weight in it) but my 250.00 75mm Nike XII from Mach 1 WILL HAVE ONE! I'll make room somewhere - probably nose cone. Magg will have a chute release next time and/or a piece of rubber hose and zip tie for a little reefing on the chute. On the GPS/RDF units, I are a cheapie and may go for the Polo due to cost entirely. Still stewing...

Cheers / Robert
 

ksaves2

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RDF vs. GPS the thing to remember is how long one’s project is going to remain out of sight. If the rocket is going to remain out of sight for the entire flight. The risk that one might lose the rocket goes up if RDF is the sole device used for tracking. If one can get a visual on a descending rocket, then they’re in great shape for recovery no matter what Rf tracker is used. RDF or GPS, doesn’t matter in that case.
The problem is with a totally sight unseen flight. That can be with something as small as a Wildman Jr. Rocket with a baby J motor. Mine landed 1.6 miles away and nobody saw it coming down. I knew where is was with the mapping GPS program I was using with a 70cm/400Mhz ham band Beeline GPS tracker. My handheld Garmin 60Cs was wired to my radio and navigated me directly to the last known position and by golly, when I got within range, I got a final lay as the GPS had a shot at the sky with the rocket on the ground. If it was in a really bad, tall vegetation area, I could have switched on the attenuation, used the Yagi antenna and homed in, in that fashion. Nonetheless if one has to fly a tracker in their rocket, try to get a noisemaker on the harness as RDF and/or GPS can get one in the vicinity of the downed rocket but one’s ears are the BEST terminal tracking device one can use. Oh, the Wildman Jr. had a nominal flight as the main was stretched out over the ground very nicely and not a nick in the paint job!

I had a flight where I got into the general location of the rocket, valid GPS positions where coming in and I had a fantastic signal strength on the radio. Still no rocket! I didn’t have a noisemaker on the harness. I was right on top of the rocket icon according to the map................... Except stupidhead didn’t have the map zoomed down appropriately! I zoomed the map in finally and shoot, I was still 20 to 30 feet away. Went in the right direction and found the rocket. It was in a harvested, no till cornfield with stubble still standing. If I would have had a noisemaker on the harness that would have cued me in to the position by ear even with the map zoomed out. I did learn a lesson though. As one gets closer to a downed rocket on a mapping program, zoom in the map! Still found the rocket. Kurt Savegnago
 

RocketTree

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I also bought this tracking system. It works great and has excellent range. It easily reaches 1/4 mile range with obstacles, and significantly more in an open line of sight. The tracker tag is very lightweight and fits inside most AV bays. Even with the antenna not exposed (internal), the range was excellent.

Just don't lose the tracker tag module - they're over $100 each to replace! Keep away from trees ;)

Best system I could find without using GPS/Cell network.
 

BSNW

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Well I finally did my L3 flight at Tripoli-Mid Ohio last Saturday. Successful flight to 8970 feet and it also went supersonic. My Marco Polo kept a lock on it for 99% of the flight. It walked me right up to it after landing about a mile away. Other guy at the launch used his Marco Polo in neck snapping L1000 flight. He also was directed right to his rocket. Looks like this tracker is really catching on! What a great product!
 

ksaves2

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Compared to other RDF trackers out there the Marco Polo looks unique and idiot proof. Gone are the days of $1000.00 tracking systems. I still like GPS on the 2 meter and 70cm bands (though Ham ticket required). There is an edge on Rf propagation but I don't think a sport flyer will miss much flying the 900 Mhz units.
With MP don't have to depend on GPS satellites. Remember one thing though: No matter what type of tracking used, it pays to put a noise maker on the harness if possible. I realize that is sometimes hard to do on smaller projects. I've walked up close to RDF and GPS tracked rockets and couldn't see them! Took a long time to find. Amazingly, one's ears are great at tracking as long as one is within the noisemakers range. It extends the ground footprint of recovery and I always try to fly with one now in addition to an RDF or GPS tracker. Kurt
 
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