Agreed: It would be very nice to be able to get some kind of "I'm working" output while waiting for launch. As it stands now (as you noted), there's no telemetry output at all until the MAWD goes into "flight mode", which happens after it rises 160 feet AGL. Ideally it would output the measured altitude while in "Ready" mode sitting on the pad, maybe just once per second, or even once every 5 seconds, just to let you know it's working.
I flew mine again on Saturday, again using a standard 2.4 GHz XBee Pro to send the telemetry data down to my laptop. This time I had an LCD display attached to my receiver unit, so I was able to read off the altitudes as the rocket flew. It works quite well, though I learned that there is about a 1 second delay - the rocket landed while the altitude still read about 20 feet. Not bad at all, though. I'm 2-for-2 with it.
I've only flown it to 1641 feet so far. I'm setting up a rocket with dual deployment to fly the thing higher so I can do some range testing next month.