Rocket Locating Beacons

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Mike

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I've been looking at rocket locators that send out a morse message that's picked up on an antenna. TRAXA sell suitable ones, but it says on their wesbite you need a suitable receiver. Having never done this before I have no idea what one of these is, could anyone enlighten me?
 

n1lul

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That is a nice looking unit. Since it transmits on 433 Mhz you will need what we call a scanner over here. Basically it is a all-band communications reciever. Your best bet would be to print out the specs for the tracking unit and take them to your local electronics place(Radio Shack/Tandy?) and ask them to help.

You can get a good hand held scanner for about $100 to $300 USD and the Yagi antenna will be 30-80 USD depending on how "good" you want it to be

Not sure about the UK regulations but depending on the power output you may need to be licenced to operate this tracking unit.

Hope this helps

Ray
N1LUL
 

Mike

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Ouch, thats quite a lot, the antenna I was expecting but spending $100 on a scanner is painful, thanks all the same.

Anyone know how effective those really loud alarms things are? Would I be able to recover a model quite reliably if I had no idea where it landed?
 

BlueNinja

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I've heard the beacons before, and at NARAM there were several flown, and there was a very high recovery rate. They are somewhat annoying when the rocket is on the pad though.
 

Stymye

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the personel alarms work very well!

for a very small price- a great investment

heres a pic from my 2.6 V2...I could hear it from quite a distance
Especially from the top of that "#$*&" rocket eating tree!
 

BlueNinja

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I gotta try that... What are those things, 130 decibels?
 

sandman

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Blue_Ninja,

At least 130 decibels.

Do not...repeat...do not pull that sting in the house!

Especially if you have a dog!

OUCH!...poor puppy!

sandman
 

Vance in AK

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Hmmmmm.....
Picture this.
A non rocket type person is sitting in their dining room having their morning coffee. They just happen to live downwind from the high school football field.
As they are enjoying their coffee and the sound of the birdies, they begin to hear a rather shrill whine, & it seems to be getting louder! Now it seems to be in their very own back yard!!!
As they go outside to see what that horrible noise is, they find a (say, a 4" V2, not that they would recognize the model mind you) rocket, or is it a missle, sitting on top of their shrub bush, with an alarm going off & white powder (I'm thinking their first guess might not be baby powder) scattered all over it's parachute!!
I can just see the guys in the plastic suits showing up now. Neighborhood evacuated...
Probably wouldn't happen here in Alaska, but in the "Big City"??
I can see Heraldo now...
Vance in AK.
 

arthur dent

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Mike....have you checked out the pratt hobbies microbeacon that deepsky sell,they might just do the job:)
 

sandman

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I have a Pratt becon but I havn't tried it yet.

I have to buy an "N" cell battery.

sandman
 

Mike

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Neat, I think I'll get one of them next time I order from Deepsky, thanks guys.
 

Stymye

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pratt sells a good product but
the pratt beacon I used ,squalls as soon as you install the battery
very annoying to me
on the other hand the pratt beacon fits in almost any rocket

For me I like the "squeal after ejection" personel alarm much better and the price

Pratt beacon (I paid) $10+shipping(plus you have to buy a battery)

personel alarm $5-$7 at most local drugstores(comes ready to use)
 

cydermaster

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The Police give out personal attack alarms to people who are scared of being attacked. Ask them nicely, and they may let you have one!
 

astrowolf67

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Originally posted by stymye
the personel alarms work very well!

for a very small price- a great investment

heres a pic from my 2.6 V2...I could hear it from quite a distance
Especially from the top of that "#$*&" rocket eating tree!
And we got to listen to it for quite a while too!! :)

I had a chance to fly one in my Fat Boy over the weekend (another F21 flight), and it worked great! Good thing I used it to, as it landed on the other side of a hill, and my line of sight was off by a good 50 feet. I got mine from a local K Mart for just under 6 bucks. It was in the same department as the smoke alarms.
 

Stones

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Originally posted by astrowolf67
... I got mine from a local K Mart for just under 6 bucks. It was in the same department as the smoke alarms.
Dave...
Can you give me a ballpark figure on the weight w/ battery of the unit you're using? Possibly a pic?

btw...have you tried out your rail pad yet?

tia...
 

mkmilion

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That Transroc beacon. I believe Estes made it. I don't exactly remember, but I know you put it in you rocket and then you have a receiver and it beeps louder the closer you get. If someone could help me fill in the blanks on this that'd be great.
 

RocketboyG80

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I have one of Pratt's beacon and the only thing I didn't like about it was that it sits in the rocket making noise even before it is launched. I changed that by soldering a little light sensor thingy maybe 1/8" around and 1/16" thick to it. now it only comes on when it pops out of the rocket. But you could do it the easy way and just buy one of Transolve's beepers that have light sensors or mercury swithes in them. www.transolve.com

mkmilion- I owned one of those Estes Transroc things; for about five minutes before I sent it back. Talk about a piece of crap! Mind you it cost me at least $30. It has a little beeper like Pratt's that beeps as soon as the battery is connected. It wasn't as loud as Pratt's which isn't very helpful for finding it, even if it is less annoying. It also includes a set of headphones that connects to what looks like a cheap ray gun toy. Estes claimes this thing works like a mircrophone and amplifies the sound of the beeper. I find that it doesn't applify it until you are close enough to pick up the beeper. A lot of people already think rocketry is dangerous, carrying around a ray gun kinda makes it seem worse. Just my opinion. :kill:
 

mkmilion

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I'm glad you made the mistake for me. I definately keep that in mind.
 

firemanup

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I set mine up the same way as stymye, these will fit inside a big bertha body tube and bigger, very loud and cheap priced, started using them last summer.

At 4 bucks a piece and free shipping they're not bad either, take two double a batteries and work great, no noise till ejections.

check the link if you'd like

https://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3204&item=2968090688
 

firemanup

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Forgot, weight is 1.7 ounces with batteries in it, i remove the outer cover which makes it louder and just use masking tape to keep the batteries in, has been working great, so good i bought 5 more just in case i lost mine.

At that price a can't beat em
 

astrowolf67

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Stones, I'll toss mine on the scale tomorrow, and snap a quick pic. The ones that fireman linked to look smaller than the ones I found. Instead of taping mine to the shock cord as Stymye did, I drilled a small hole in the corner of the alarm case, and tied a kevlar cord to it, then tied that to the shock cord.

I launched one from the rail pad last Saturday. My LOC Onyx, on an F20. Not much weight for testing, but it worked great. Hopefully in a couple or three weeks, I'll get to test it with some larger stuff on some G motors, and maybe let some guys send some L1 stuff up off of it. I've got confidence in it. It feels rock solid when loading it up, and adjusting it.
 

LampertRocketry

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Originally posted by Mike
Ouch, thats quite a lot, the antenna I was expecting but spending $100 on a scanner is painful, thanks all the same.

Anyone know how effective those really loud alarms things are? Would I be able to recover a model quite reliably if I had no idea where it landed?
This is all really a question of range. Try www.pratthobbies.com and have a look at their microbeacon. If you know roughly where your rocket came down in the grass you will be able to locate it from perhaps a couple hundred feet.

The bigger beepers make more noise - more weight - more expensive - longer range.

The RF beacons are going to be expensive, no way around it. You need the Transmitter (don't be cheap, you'll regret it), a yagi antenna of some sort to RDF the transmitter, and a suitable receiver. A scanner receiver may NOT be suitable. What you want is something like an ICOM R-1 or R-10, depending on the mode of transmission. I intend to use a UHF handy-talky with general coverage receiver - but may opt for a used ICOM/Yaesu/Kenwood handheld general coverage receiver as it will offer better performance.

Good tracking!

P.S. You could go with smoke as well.

Murray
 
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