Of rocket tracking and ham radio

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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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You probably remember my Adept tracking transmitter thread, I decided if I get a amateur license I will want one of these. Anyways, I was wondering what a good receiver for this would be. I would want general communication purposes, dual band (2m/70cm) and capability to use a Yagi antenna. I would prefer something handheld if not for my general communication requirement. I saw an opportunity to get a Kenwood TM-732A radio for $20 or so, and I was wondering if this would be a good choice. It would have to be carried in a backpack during rocket recovery due to its size.

I dunno if it covers the 70cm band. I have inquired about this.

One problem I noted about this receiver was that to operate it, I can't just stick it in a backpack and hook up an antenna. I need a battery, which would weigh about 10lbs for a small one. Not much of a problem there as I lug around at least that much every day at school :rolleyes: . Still, I wouldn't want do go walking with a 20lb load on my back. So, I would need some kind of support vehicle.

Go-Kart anyone?
Just need a decent little hiking pack that takes the weight off your shoulders. I've carried decent loads in a good daypack. I just used the hip harness and it felt pretty light.

I should try Ebay.
Yeah, I found this on ebay. Don't know if it covers 443mhz tho, i believe that's 70cm. I have asked the seller about this issue and have not received a reply yet.
Yeah, it does receive/transmit on the 70cm band.

One tng that worries me though is there are a couple questions on the auction asking if the seller can test this with a 12v battery, and he refused. Sounds possibly bogus to me.
Any dual band HT (Handi Talki) will work just fine. No need for lugging anything bigger than that. I have a 2m (144 Mhz) tracker for my rocket, I purchased from Ramsey Electronics. As for the antenna you don't need a big Yagi to do the job just a simple dipole made out of 2 collapsable FM radio antennas. There is alot of information on antenna's on the web.
I might also suggest if you have never done radio tracking before, you find a local amateur radio club that does "Fox Hunt's" that will help you greatly not only with the direction finding but exactly what you need in Equip.
You want an ht with a signal strenght meter. using the directional antenna, you can tell the general direction by when the signal strength pegs to the top ;).

In PA, our ham radio club used to go "fox hunting" where someone would take a 2m tansmitter somewhere in a 20 mile radius, transmitting a morse code message every 2 minutes, and each team was timed how long it took for them to find the transmitter. I went a couple of these excursions ;).
HI! I have been a ham over 20 years. I find the "YAESU" brand to be the best as far as ease of use. I am talking about the one made with in the las few years. Yaesu rig-hand hels are now under the VERTEX brand. I love my VX-150!
I would get a handheld, but I want something bigger for a home station. I'll keep watch on this auction for now.
You can also try the classifides on eham.com or at qrz.com, I know there are some deals there sometimes.
Woohoo. Passed the Amateur Radio Element 2 exam last night, means I can finally use one of these Xmtrs. Can anyone plug the Adept transmitter or is it too good to be true?


It may be a while till you get your call. There was a SNAFU and the FCC stopped handing out call signs untill they get it fixed.

Welcome to another wonderful hobby, the people in this hobby are every bit as polite and helpful as they are in rocketry.

Typical government agencies.

FCC Suspends Amateur Service License Grants to Unsnarl System Snafu (Nov 8,2004) -- The FCC has stopped issuing Amateur Service license grants while it attempts to unravel an apparent computer programming glitch. The FCC posted
a public alert on the Universal Licensing System (ULS) site on November 5.

At this point, no one seems to know when the problem will be fixed.
Joy. The ULS seems to be down and they said it'll be back up tomorrow, dunno if that's all related.
Congrats on passing the ham test. I was first licensed in 1972. That's right, 32 years ago.

I'm not entirely sold on the Adept transmitter for serious tracking, athough my dissatisfaction might be due more to the receiver I use. I have a Yaesu VX2R transceiver and it just doesn't track the Adept transmitter more than about 1/4 mile. Also, the antenna on the Adept unit is poorly designed and breaks off easily.

Don't expect miracles from a general coverage receive.

Well, a guy I know from town is giving me a old Radio Shack transceiver.... It won't do 70cm but at least it's a start.
Well, I got a callsign :D

Won't post it here for privacy reasons tho. (you'll have to meet me on the air)

Anyways, the General license is looking better and better. I have my eye on the Kenwood TS-830S, may be old and use tubes, but heck it looks nice :)]