# New to tracking

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### dford

I plan to get an eggfinder like a lot of people. I have zero experience in this platform. I've been finding bits and pieces of threads to amplifying antaneas and how exactly to use a tracking device. But nothing super solid. I feel like I find something promising and all the sudden a bunch people talking a bunch of jargon I don't understand.
Frequency. Sure. Bandwidth sure. What do the numbers mean:bangpan:
I get the numbers. 1+1=2
The only numbers I understand are coordinates on a gps locator. Sure I get that but how is something like an eggfinder telling me that?

When I want to amplify an antenna, rp sma what is that?
I've looked, it's a connector. How does the connector connect to an eggfinder circuit board?
How is an eggfinder Rx going to tell his buddy TX hey friend I'm over here. How do I make it so they can talk to each other further apart? What language are they speaking. Binary code? I get that. On off. Sure. Beyond that WTH? Airwaves, and airwave hardware I'm clueless.
Without going to an actual class, is there a thread run down of the jargon I'm missing and how n why it works?
Is this something I need to learn beyond TRF or ??

:confused2::tongue::roll::bang::bang:

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TRF Supporter

#### Worsaer

##### Amateur Propulsionist
If you are going with an EggFinder, and have willingness and skill to assemble the kits, there's a certain amount of "it just works". Once assembled, when you turn on both the transmitter and the accompanying receiver, you will receive GPS coordinates on the receiver. It's basically saying "this is where I am". You do have a choice between a fixed wire antenna and a removable antenna, and you order it that way.

Once you have the coordinates, you can simply plug them into google maps, or one of many,many tool that help you get from where you are to where the rockets is.

It doesn't need to be hard. There are many choices out there, but Chris' EggFinder is making tracking easy and affordable for many of us.

#### ben

##### Well-Known Member
You should check out the Missile Works RTx system. Easy to use and doesn't require any knowledge of radios or additional equipment. Plug and play.

Ben

#### ksaves2

"Amplify the antenna" You have three flight choices on the receive side and one ground choice for the receiver.
A patch antenna for the receive side only if you're going super high. You sport flying? Just stick with the RP-SMA stuff. I'm afraid I'll poke my eye out with plain wires!

This is a patch antenna on a stick. You likely won't need one.
A Yagi for 900 mhz is good if you have a rocket that's on the ground a few miles away. Cannot be used to track a moving rocket in flight due to the fact it can't be accurately aimed due to the narrow beamwidth. It will increase the relative ground footprint receiving range though and if the rocket is relatively stationary it can be aimed with ease. http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-STOCK-80...739942?hash=item41993c4c26:g:fgsAAOSwHnFVmedQ
There are some vertical receive antennas with a magnetic base that may get you some range but you can't carry them with you for recovery easily.

There are screw on RP-SMA tracker antennas you can look up. If you can find one usually on 916Mhz close to 915Mhz that will give you the best efficiency but a few Mhz on either side is fine.

If you're sport flying not routinely going above 10k all the time you'll be fine with stock. If you can fit a longer, higher gain antenna on your transmitter that's about the easiest way to increase some of the
performance. If going crazy high, use a patch for the initial phase of the flight and keep it pointed in the general direction as your rocket is going up past 20k'! Once the rocket is down and is now out of range, unscrew the patch cable and plug a Yagi into it and point it towards where your map tells you to and start walking or driving. Again, all this stuff is to tweak all the performance out of these 100mW 900Mhz band trackers as you can.

Get an Android device, Bluetooth enable the LCD receiver and get the free GPS Rocket Locator app. This program has made tracking on a photomap simple. I know that for a fact as one can see by my many posts on doing it with
Ham Radio apps. It can be done but is simply a real PITA. I can get some better data presentation but again was a real pain to get working. Kurt
Kurt

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#### ksaves2

You should check out the Missile Works RTx system. Easy to use and doesn't require any knowledge of radios or additional equipment. Plug and play.

Ben
Yeah, if you don't want to build or have it built for you, can be a turnkey setup along with the 900Mhz Beeline GPS as another choice. The Missileworks device has a size thing going for it but the features are extremely attractive along with the excellent
telemetry available. I'd get one if I didn't have so many trackers already both ISM and APRS on the Ham bands already. Mr. Amos has tested it extensively and fliers love 'em. Kurt

#### cerving

##### Owner, Eggtimer Rocketry
TRF Supporter
Spend a few minutes on the web site, check out the FAQ's, and read the User's Guides. I recommend for almost all users (especially new ones) that you get the LCD display receiver, it's MUCH easier to use in the field than the RX "dongle" receiver (which requires a connection to some device to decode the data... typically a laptop). With the LCD, you get the coordinates, and you can simply enter them into the handheld navigation device of your choice (Garmin, Magellan, or iPhone/Android running a navigation program like MotionX). You don't need to mess around with Bluetooth or anything else if you don't want to; when I track my rockets, I just plug the coordinates into MotionX and casually walk right up to the rocket.

If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to info@EggtimerRocketry.com. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I'm very chatty...

Cris Erving
Eggtimer Rocketry

#### DavidMcCann

##### Well-Known Member
Tracking is easy.... look for bent branches, folded branches/bushes, leaves facing the obvious wrong direction, blood trails help if you have one.... but can be hard to spot in dusky conditions

huh? ooooohhhhhhh.......

#### BDB

##### Absent Minded Professor
I recommend for almost all users (especially new ones) that you get the LCD display receiver, it's MUCH easier to use in the field than the RX "dongle" receiver (which requires a connection to some device to decode the data... typically a laptop).
+1...

#### RocketRob

##### Well-Known Member
I am picking up my Eggfinder from a buddy that built it today!

I did have some trouble entering the coordinates from the box (from a pic) that said put these numbers in google maps and you will see my backyard.

Well... after 6-7 attempts I got it !

Its pretty easy now and hope to do some tests this weekend!

#### cerving

##### Owner, Eggtimer Rocketry
TRF Supporter
One caution on Google Maps is that it requires Internet access, so if you don't have it at your flying field you're not going to be able to use it. Most of the handheld navigation apps designed for hikers will work without Internet, so you can just plug in the LCD's coordinates and tell the app to "take me there". Most flying sites don't have a lot of defining topological features, so not having a map isn't necessarily an impediment.

#### dford

welp. sounds like i just need to buy the LCD starter kit and get used to it from there. i've gone into a lot of sites for tracking and really, hands on will probably be the best way to learn. i fly in the desert where it is mostly dirt lake beds and I get signal.
so the LCD screen puts out coordinates...and i am able to look on my phone where to go...
electronics aren't exactly my strong suit.
i suppose i shouldnt worry about why and how it works so much right now? just kind of go with it and it works so let it work type attitude..

#### John Beans

##### Founder, Jolly Logic
TRF Supporter
One caution on Google Maps is that it requires Internet access, so if you don't have it at your flying field you're not going to be able to use it. Most of the handheld navigation apps designed for hikers will work without Internet, so you can just plug in the LCD's coordinates and tell the app to "take me there". Most flying sites don't have a lot of defining topological features, so not having a map isn't necessarily an impediment.
You can also cache Google maps, so that they are stored on your phone. Google it to find out how for your particular device.

#### scsager

##### Slightly burned-out old guy
welp. sounds like i just need to buy the LCD starter kit and get used to it from there. i've gone into a lot of sites for tracking and really, hands on will probably be the best way to learn. i fly in the desert where it is mostly dirt lake beds and I get signal.
so the LCD screen puts out coordinates...and i am able to look on my phone where to go...
electronics aren't exactly my strong suit.
i suppose i shouldnt worry about why and how it works so much right now? just kind of go with it and it works so let it work type attitude..
The Eggfinder kits are a nice place to start due to the low cost. Assembly is not as difficult as you might think. The written instructions are excellent!! Having patience and taking your time with the assembly will help. A fine-tip soldering iron, and a magnifier will also be helpful. I picked up a really nice temp-controlled iron for $30 on ebay. You really dont need to spend a lot. Another option is to pay someone to build the kits for you. The kits come with almost everything needed. You will have to pick-up a lipo battery for the transmitter. If you want you can supply your own case, and antennas if you want something different than what the kit comes with. You can add a Bluetooth module ($5 on ebay) so that the rocket location is displayed automatically on your smartphone. The module just plugs right into the LCD receiver.

All things considered, the Eggfinder is an exceptional value, and the lowest cost option to get started with GPS rocket-finding.

#### smapdiage9

##### Well-Known Member
"Amplify the antenna" You have three flight choices on the receive side and one ground choice for the receiver.
If you're sport flying not routinely going above 10k all the time you'll be fine with stock. If you can fit a longer, higher gain antenna on your transmitter that's about the easiest way to increase some of the
performance. If going crazy high, use a patch for the initial phase of the flight and keep it pointed in the general direction as your rocket is going up past 20k'!
Kurt
As an anecdote, my 75mm MD at airfest flew an Eggtimer TRS as tracker and backup altimeter to 32k last weekend. I used a 1/4 wave rubber duck antenna (\$8 or so from mouser?) on the Tx side and a 1/2 wave (IIRC) similar antenna on the Rx side. Though I stopped receiving GPS updates during the speed lockout under power, I regained them somewhere in the high 20k/low 30k range and had perfect reception all the way down until less than 100'. It landed about 2 miles from the pad, and I started receiving position updates when I got within 1/4-1/2 mi of the rocket, I don't remember exactly because I was driving and excited. Very impressed by the performance without resorting to more exotic antenna setups.

#### jimdanforth

##### Active Member
I just got my kit in the other night, and built it in about 2 hours. Had to figure out frequency since it was not on the default, but I pretty quickly had it working. I designed a smaller box that meets my needs for the RX, and am completely satisfied with my purchase.

#### dford

The last few posts are encouraging. I have read the manual online now and looked into soldering techniques. I can't honestly say I have soldered anything before. BUT I'm pretty good with my hands. (Even have a pottery wheel....)(no it isn't like the movie ghost)
I'll solder this thing myself. I was wondering about 10k plus flights but 32k pretty much sums it up to it still works with small upgrades. 10k I should be fine as long as I size the chutes right not to drift real far.
I'll utilize the LCD also. Along with caching the maps even though I get reception as a just in case I think I should be fine after a bit of ground testing.

I'm thinking I'll go out to the desert, drop it off and just see how far away I can still get some sort of location so I have an idea, at the least, of what I'm in for once it takes off.
I'll check around for adjustable soldering irons. Pretty cool eggfinder sends thin solder with the order. (At least that is what I read)
It'll be interesting to compare all the data between A3, SLCF and my OR file which I'm certainly putting in correct values for any step taken during the build.

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#### ksaves2

Just read the instructions and the User Guide and you'll be fine. Many folks get by with the wire antennas. The SMA or RP-SMA antennas are a bit more robust but if going to be mounting and securing the tracker to a sled so it's restrained you can use the
provided brasswire. I've used SMA connectors because I have a pile of them and I was able to get these antennas for a reasonable cost: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antenna-SMA...539311?hash=item465463d46f:g:oscAAOSw0QFXBnsM The RP-SMA antenna is different as the socket on the device is "male" whereas the SMA antenna is "male" and the socket is "female".
Cris Cerving has advice in the user guide also. Like James wrote above one can get pretty good range with the 1/4 wave on transmit and 1/2 wave on receive end. If you have the room in the rocket use the 1/2 wave if you "really" want to maximize
the reception range in the air.

On the ground like James wrote 1/4 mile, maybe 1/2 is all that can be expected from 900Mhz for the ground foot print. It will be worse if there are obstructions or difference in field elevation between the tracker and receiver. If it lands in a hole or
depression, the ground range will be even shorter.

The kicker here is you get a position while the rocket is still 50 to 100 feet up and the final lie is not likely to be much farther away. If you don't see the rocket, you'll be in the ground footprint to get a new position and you can pick it up.

I've had the misfortune to have a flight go ballistic and received one position while the rocket was 40 feet up in the air, I proceeded to the spot on the map and since it was a fiberglass rocket in farmland, the fincan was seen and the rocket dug out
to fly another day with a new nosecone and new EF. (I cracked the original digging it out of the clay!) The flight was entirely unseen so I wouldn't have had any idea where to look. Kurt