Setting up the VX-8GR and TH-D72 for BeeLine GPS

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WillMarchant

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter

OK, I just found another Yaesu with built in GPS, the FT-1DR. Has anyone used this model for downloading APRS packets from the BRB?
Yes, there's a relatively recent posting about that, if memory serves...

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xenon

Well-Known Member

OK, I just found another Yaesu with built in GPS, the FT-1DR. Has anyone used this model for downloading APRS packets from the BRB?
Yes, I used to own an 8GR and now own an FT1DR. FT1DR works just as well as the 8GR with either of the 70cm BPS's. I haven't used it on the 2m, but have picked up other stations on 144.390 with it. Setup on the FT1DR is slightly (ie, looking through the manual for 15 minutes) different than the 8GR, but if you've never used the 8GR, it'll probably be simpler.

keithp

Well-Known Member
I just found another Yaesu with built in GPS, the FT-1DR. Has anyone used this model for downloading APRS packets from the BRB?
I've got the FT1DR and it's working great with my TeleMega and TeleMetrum flight computers for receiving APRS. I haven't tried a BRB, but I'm sure it'd work fabulously. You can safely ignore the crazy digital modes and treat it as a regular old dual-band HT.

ksaves2

I've got the FT1DR and it's working great with my TeleMega and TeleMetrum flight computers for receiving APRS. I haven't tried a BRB, but I'm sure it'd work fabulously. You can safely ignore the crazy digital modes and treat it as a regular old dual-band HT.

I believe the FT1DR is priced about the same as what the -8GR went or is pretty close. The VX-8GR did have a serial output of $GPWPL words so one could take a round serial cable and interface it with a Garmin mapping GPS like a 60Cs or CsX both of which are out of production. The 78sc has the round serial port and one could use it to take the waypoint words off and get them displayed. I think the 78 is the only thing in production that can do it. I've seen where the Oregon or Montana can do it with a "special" cable one has to add an external battery to. Not worth the trouble. If one can get a used monochrome Legend GPS it has a different cable available but will get the job done without a fancy map. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000058BCQ/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 I sure as heck would go for a cheaper used one. I've tested one and it works. Now, according to another thread, http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?61804-Yaesu-FT1DR, the FT1DR can do the same trick with the output. It can be interfaced with a compatible Garmin unit. What cable to buy? One simply buys the same round plug cable as used to interface an external mapping GPS to a Kenwood D7A(g) or D72A http://www.gilsson.com/garmin_gps/cables/rk.htm The input waypoint data gets displayed on the map. You can tell the Garmin GPS to "Navigate to" the rocket and it will take you to the last known position. Usually that is very close to the touchdown so when one gets close, a new packet will come in and take you right to the rocket. This is the way to go. The cost of a commercial RDF setup if very close to an APRS tracking systems. The costs have come down. If one does a lot of outta-sight flights, it is essential to use GPS to bring the rockets home and reassuring too. Now, I'm one of the few that doesn't use one of those fancy dancy cell phones. I strongly recommend if one wants to do GPS tracking, have a solution you can carry in your hands easily. I leave a laptop locked in the car to record flights with a mag mount antenna. Xastir can save the datapoints for re-plotting later and the old UI-View program is the only thing that can playback a flight in realtime. It will be great when someone gets a mapping aprs app that can receive and display packets. I'll envy the folks with the phones. Now for the absolute cheapest APRS receiving station. Get one of those Noo-elec SDR dongles. http://www.nooelec.com/store/software-defined-radio.html?cat=6 Get Gnu-radio installed and build Gqrx: http://gqrx.dk/ It has an AFSK decoder in it. Fire up the laptop and the program and one can tune and decode the position packets for the cost of a the$18.00 dongle, some cables and an antenna. One gets a text display on the screen.

Weeellllllll, I don't think it is that sensitive and it would be a PITA to have to try to get to run reliably in the field.

Direwolf on Windows or Linux will decode packets with an audio cord off the earphone jack.

http://home.comcast.net/~wb2osz/site/

One could use a receive only handheld scanner that can receive the frequency they are using. Combine that with YAAC as a mapping solution

http://www.ka2ddo.org/ka2ddo/YAAC.html

and one can have a low cost tracking/mapping receive station. (Only thing that costs in the radio and the cable if one has a laptop.)

Kurt

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dixontj93060

Well-Known Member
Wanted to post another thanks to Troj for this thread. I used GPS tracking for the first time Saturday and Sunday at LDRS 33. The set up here was invaluable and certainly time-saving. Just needed a bit of help in smart frequency selection from Greg Clark at BRB and I was off to the races! I am now officially spoiled!!!

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent

You can thank Will Marchant for the original idea of these threads; he posted it for the Kenwood radios, so I did the same for Yaesu.

It's a bit fiddly to try to figure out on your own, unless your a HAM/APRS geek. Needless to say, it took me a while!

-Kevin

ksaves2

Weeeeeeeeeeellllllllll, I stumbled into an FT1DR manual and it unfortunately isn't simple to interface to a Garmin 60Cs/CsX or 78 series GPS.
Apparently it has a small usb connector and a stock cable that will work for the VX-8GR will not be compatible.

http://www.manualslib.com/manual/632656/Yaesu-Ft1dr.html?page=144

This is the cable that will work with a GR,D7 series and D72A: http://www.gilsson.com/garmin_gps/cables/rk.htm

One could cobble a cable together that could work by following the pinouts. Too bad because the FT1DR is cheaper at $309.00 as opposed to$449.00 for a D72A.
Of course with the availability of the EggFinder and EggTimer TRS with the LCD receiver and their associated economy of cost, will render APRS tracking impotent except for the more extreme projects. Kurt

ksaves2

Nice article at http://wiki.argentdata.com/index.php?title=GTRANS_Kenwood_TH-D72A about using the Argent protocol converter cable to use some Garmin models as a moving map with the TH-D72a.
Will, the Nuvi 350 is a car GPS that has been out of production for years. I have one and it works with the cable but I don't use the USB port on the D72 or D7A(g). I tried with an Etrex Vista HCX and no joy. If you get it to work with any other unit besides the Nuvi 350 or other mobile GPS, please post your experiences. I was hoping the Etrex Vista would have worked because of the compact size but darn,
no.

Some of the newer Garmin Mobile GPS units can use the cable but the bread crumbing effect is distorted and I really think the utility of a car GPS for tracking is very limited. If one were to go that route they could save the money on the cable and setup a laptop tracking station they stash in their vehicle for recording of a flight. Triapsing around with a car GPS is difficult.

A cheaper hand held pedestrian APRS mobile setup would be any H/T, a Mobilinkd TNC at about $75.00 and an Android device running APRSDroid with the free OSM maps. APRSDroid can bond to the KISS B/T TNC Mobilinkd and one can get a sense of their position in respect to their rocket. It doesn't do navigation but it doesn't take much skill to figure out the orientation and make "your icon" get closer to your "rocket icon". A Sainsonic AP510 could be substituted for the Mobilinkd BUT it will only do 2 meter tracking. One would have to use another 2 meter tracker in the rocket. It costs$125.00 but is a KISS B/T TNC transceiver so one would just need their APRSDroid device and the AP510. The Mobilinkd method is about the most economical openended method one could consider.

Of course, a D72 plugged into a Garmin 60Cs, CsX or 78 Cs is a very pricey way to get full featured navigation. It used to be the only game in town but I see it will likely rapidly fade except for those who invested in the equipment already or are going for really aggressive high altitude flights or records.. The unlicensed options have dropped in price and are great for sport fliers.

Kurt

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V2rocketeer

Well-Known Member
A cheaper hand held pedestrian APRS mobile setup would be any H/T, a Mobilinkd TNC at about $75.00 and an Android device running APRSDroid with the free OSM maps. APRSDroid can bond to the KISS B/T TNC Mobilinkd and one can get a sense of their position in respect to their rocket. It doesn't do navigation but it doesn't take much skill to figure out the orientation and make "your icon" get closer to your "rocket icon". A Sainsonic AP510 could be substituted for the Mobilinkd BUT it will only do 2 meter tracking. One would have to use another 2 meter tracker in the rocket. It costs$125.00 but is a KISS B/T TNC transceiver so one would just need their APRSDroid device and the AP510. The Mobilinkd method is about the most economical openended method one could consider.

Kurt
I have the mobilinked and it works well with my Kenwood THf6. For the poster who inquired about the cheaper Chinese radios earlier in the thread the mobilinked works well with Baofeng so you could concieveably have an APRS station for under $100 73 Chris vk2icj Last edited: ksaves2 Lifetime Supporter TRF Lifetime Supporter I have the mobilinked and it works well with my Kenwood THf6. For the poster who inquired about the cheaper Chinese radios earlier in the thread the mobilinked works well with Baofeng so you could concieveably have an APRS station for under$100

73

Chris vk2icj
One added comment Chris. The THF6A has the potential to be able to tune into the 1.25m frequencies and modes the Walston/Com-spec trackers reside and with a cheap attenuator and Yagi cut for that band could do some successful RDF work.
Also the signal strength meter on the F6A is a true signal strength meter. With most of the cheap Chinese radios it's full deflection if a signal is present and "0" if no signal is present. Not good for RDF work but is acceptable if being used as a GPS tracker

Another caveat when using a D72A over any "rig" with a Mobilinkd. With the 72A one can open the squelch and can perhaps "hear" a distant signal after the rocket is down even before the packets are decipherable. One then knows the tracker survived the flight and that new packets are to be expected soon as one gets closer to the rocket. Sure one can yank the cable out of the radio if using a Mobilinkd to achieve the same task but one would need to be careful not to hit the volume knob in the process.
The volume control of the radio sets the signal gain for the Mobilinkd to decode the packet. It it's too high or too low, the packets might not be decoded so one must be careful not to disrupt the setting. That's the price one has to pay to avoid having to fork
out the  for a D72. Kurt

V2rocketeer

Well-Known Member
One added comment Chris. The THF6A has the potential to be able to tune into the 1.25m frequencies and modes the Walston/Com-spec trackers reside and with a cheap attenuator and Yagi cut for that band could do some successful RDF work.
Also the signal strength meter on the F6A is a true signal strength meter. With most of the cheap Chinese radios it's full deflection if a signal is present and "0" if no signal is present. Not good for RDF work but is acceptable if being used as a GPS tracker

Another caveat when using a D72A over any "rig" with a Mobilinkd. With the 72A one can open the squelch and can perhaps "hear" a distant signal after the rocket is down even before the packets are decipherable. One then knows the tracker survived the flight and that new packets are to be expected soon as one gets closer to the rocket. Sure one can yank the cable out of the radio if using a Mobilinkd to achieve the same task but one would need to be careful not to hit the volume knob in the process.
The volume control of the radio sets the signal gain for the Mobilinkd to decode the packet. It it's too high or too low, the packets might not be decoded so one must be careful not to disrupt the setting. That's the price one has to pay to avoid having to fork
out the  for a D72. Kurt

Hi Kurt

I'm going to buy one of these 3 radios THD72 or VX8GR or FT1D in the next couple of days. I'm looking at as many reviews as possible. I have the mobilink setup but I want an all in one solution for the long walk lol. At the moment here in Oz I can get the 8gr for $100 less than the 72 and the FT1D even cheaper at$140 cheaper. Funny that. Money isn't really a problem though. Tough decisions.

Do you know if the FT1Dr GPS is better than the 8gr's???

I think they will all work with the Big Red Bee

73

Chris

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ksaves2

Hi Kurt

I'm going to buy one of these 3 radios THD72 or VX8GR or FT1D in the next couple of days. I'm looking at as many reviews as possible. I have the mobilink setup but I want an all in one solution for the long walk lol. At the moment here in Oz I can get the 8gr for $100 less than the 72 and the FT1D even cheaper at$140 cheaper. Funny that. Money isn't really a problem though. Tough decisions.

Do you know if the FT1Dr GPS is better than the 8gr's???

I think they will all work with the Big Red Bee

73

Chris
I don't know the answer to that question as to which GPS is "better". If one is going to be out in the open, most receivers work fine. If you simply want to track the rocket with the arrow on the radio, go with the cheapest rig you can get. I believe Yaesu is underpricing their "System Fusion" rigs to get the hardware into the field. That's fine but you'll only be using the APRS side.

The D72A can be run in KISS TNC mode so one could interface it to a laptop to track on a map. It's not easy to lug a laptop around to a recovery site. There's programs like Xastir, UI-View, YAAC, APRSIS32 that can be used. The D72A can be used by itself in APRS mode too. If you don't want or need that feature don't consider it. The -8GR has a serial out port so you could interface it to a laptop or a handheld mapping GPS if you desire. (The 72A can be interfaced to handheld mapping GPS units also) That trick is not easily performed with an FT1DR as I believe is just has a USB connection and not a plain serial one that the -GR has available.

So, if you simply want an all-in-one device and have no concern about mapping options you should do fine with the most economical FT1DR.
Even without an interface, you could input coordinates by hand into a mapping GPS device and get a point on a map if you desire.
Folks say if one is flying on a featureless landscape, a map is really not that helpful and I would tend to agree. All that is basically needed is a compass rose arrow and a distance reading. Two points and a line that is constantly updated even on a grey screen gives one a little more idea of distance but is not absolutely necessary to find a rocket.

Full navigation is available with a D72A interfaced serially with a Garmin Legend, 60Cs, 60CsX or 78Sc. Costs a fortune but will show one a map and shoot a datum line to the last known position and will give one all sorts of information about ETA to the rocket at the current speed.
Nice? Well O.K. Necessary? Heck no. Expensive? Yes, very, very much.

Look at it this way. You can count how many times where a GPS tracking setup has helped you find your pricey rockets and hardware when you have no idea where they went after pushing the launch button. Can then figure out the price point where your setup has paid for itself by "saving" your investment in rocket "stuff" Kurt

cls

Well-Known Member
We have both the yaesu vx8gr and the kenwood d72. The vx8gr is not sold any more, thank goodness, and the kenwood is so vastly superior there's no other choice. The kenwood tmd710 is excellent, too. I do not have experience with the new ft1d but I doubt would work as well for Aprs as kenwood.

Yes you can cobble cheaper parts together but then you have a pile of boxes and wires that never work right and then break completely, in usual field conditions. Been there, done that.

At this time I am disappointed with aprs for many reasons and I think the future lies with things like telemetry and real flight systems, using real rf radios and error correcting coding.

V2rocketeer

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the heads up cls and ksaves2

The Yaesu was local which made it seem like a good choice especially since I got scammed on my last internet transaction ,, BUT I have all Kenwood gear here save a VX7r so I ordered a TH D72

Thanks again

Chris

ksaves2

Thanks for the heads up cls and ksaves2

The Yaesu was local which made it seem like a good choice especially since I got scammed on my last internet transaction ,, BUT I have all Kenwood gear here save a VX7r so I ordered a TH D72

Thanks again

Chris
Yes, cls raises a very valid concern but I've come to the conclusion that two small devices connected by a wire or Bluetooth is manageable.
Laptop monitoring for a base station is o.k. but its purpose should only be to record flight parameters in realtime for later use. Even that is
arguable because once a rocket is found, the data can be downloaded from the onboard electronics anyways.

It's very hard to triapse out to a recovery site with a radio receiver connected to a laptop and a portable solution should be the "go to" to actually
pickup the downed rocket for a variety of reasons.

The D72a is a very nice unit that can be used for other tasks in Ham radio. I use one wired to a Garmin 60Cs and it was the only game in town
7 years ago (or the D7A series was used back then). Yes, there were unlicensed 900Mhz options then but the costs were just as pricey as APRS.

The observation cls makes about dedicated telemetry systems is the wave of the future especially since the costs are finally coming down.
Altus Metrum devices are very capable but have a premium price that is deserved. The EggTimer Rocketry devices albeit are kits are very economical options with quite a feature list. The major advantage to GPS is precision in the vast majorities of recovery. One at least has a valid last fix of where to go to try to pick up a new signal. RDF? If one doesn't have a good line when the rocket goes out of range, nor a good general idea of the direction, they are out of luck. Plus now good RDF equipment costs as much if not more then the newer GPS solutions.

I want to find the rocket, get back and do more flying. More time spent looking for rockets is less time flying. If one lives in a geographically and weather handicapped area, it's important be to able to fly when conditions are good 'cause you might not be able to get at it again for awhile.

I don't take as dim a view as cls on APRS. Sure, the earlier Beeline GPS trackers could be a drag. Especially the ones with a G-switch. Jiggle the rocket just right and the thing started recording the positions to memory which likely ran out before the stupid thing was launched!
The newer units have a larger memory capability. Other complaints are "It's too hard to program!" Yeah it takes a bit of a knack to get them to connect but it's not that bad. I do see quite a few "flying house" icons tracking other folks Beeline GPS trackers. Means they just want to find the danged thing and not interested in programming or downloading .kml (position files). Nothing wrong with that!

Oh, one comment on the VX-8GR for users who have them already. \$GPWPL words (NMEA waypoint data) is available at a data out jack.
So, a cable can be used to connect to a Garmin 60Cs, 60CsX or a 78Cs GPS mapping unit. It's the same cable used with Kenwood D7's and D72's. The one really big plus with APRS used in this manner is one can "tell" the Garmin unit to "navigate to" the rocket waypoint and the device can be scrolled to an HSI (horizontal situation indicator) that gives a datum line to follow to get to the rocket along with info like how much time it is going to take you at your walking pace to get to the rocket or the last known fix! Sure one could input the information by hand
but ya hafta' make sure you gots your units correct! With the wired connection the Garmin gets the information automatically and will track the rocket in realtime. I "lock" the rocket in the Garmin while it's on the pad. Once valid packets start streaming in, the Garmin maintains the navigation lock auto-magically. Nothing else to input or screw up. When doing manual waypoints, type one number wrong or get the units wrong and one will be off to "Outer Mongolia". Not the kind of Nav error you want to make if you are trying to find your rocket.

ONE MORE APRS CAUTION: Beware about anyone selling a used Kenwood D7A or D7A(g). You might think you are getting a bargain.
You might not. I have two old D7A(g) rigs that served me well for a couple of years but are no longer any good. The oscillator ages and the receive frequencies are off in both units especially on the 70cm side. It's like 4khz off. They will read Beeline packets at 1/2 block but not any farther than that. It's best to by a newer rig than something that old. The TNC's in the D7's also die and they are not replaceable anymore. The chip went out of production. Kurt

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TRF Supporter

ksaves2

Flew 5/2 and tracked a WmJr with an AMW J440 BB. Used a D72A interfaced to a Garmin 60Cs with a cable. Selected "navigate to" the rocket waypoint and it locked it in for the entire flight while still sitting on the pad. BLGPS said 6122' MSL after the download of the .kml file. Didn't jostle the G-switch this time with this older BLGPS unit. Can scroll from the map to the navigation screen on the 60Cs and back again. Man, I gotta tell ya, this is the lazy man's way to find a rocket. This is the 5th flight where none of the events were witnessed. Found the rocket in between rows of knee-high corn stubble with both drogue and main out. I couldn't see the rocket when walking up to it and when the GPS said I was "there" I looked right and then left. Twenty feet to my left, there it was.

I had a Nexus 7 with a Mobilinkd TNC1 back with the LSO and that system tracked it with APRSDroid but doesn't have the navigation options. Did that as a test. One can get 60Cs and 60CsX's used on Ebay, one wire to a D72A or a VX8GR and one is in business. The same cable that is used with a D72A can be used with success with the VX8GR. The GR has a jack for waypoints out the FT1DR I believe doesn't have a simple jack. Kurt

P.S. Prefecture flies under Research rules so the fact it was an old AMW motor isn't an issue.

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k3td

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I have the newer VX8-DR, which does not have GPS built in. How can it be configured to receive GPS packets from the BeeLine 70 cm transmitter?

Thanks!

WillMarchant

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I have the newer VX8-DR, which does not have GPS built in. How can it be configured to receive GPS packets from the BeeLine 70 cm transmitter?

Thanks!
That radio knows about APRS, so I'd try following Kevin's configuration notes.

Unless you add the optional GPS module, your handheld won't be able to give you bearing and distance to the Beeline unit.

Well, you can probably manually enter your position into the radio, but that's usually a pain...

ksaves2

The 8DR will be able to decode the packets without the GPS receiver attached but like Will mentioned won't be able to navigate. You can input the incoming lat/long to a handheld mapping GPS and navigate that way. Using the last received packet should get you close to the rocket. Kurt Savegnago

k3td

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
That radio knows about APRS, so I'd try following Kevin's configuration notes.

Unless you add the optional GPS module, your handheld won't be able to give you bearing and distance to the Beeline unit.

Well, you can probably manually enter your position into the radio, but that's usually a pain...
Thanks for the clarification. I just ordered the FGPS-2 module to use with my VX-8DR and spkr-mic.

ksaves2

Thanks for the clarification. I just ordered the FGPS-2 module to use with my VX-8DR and spkr-mic.
Yeah,

That's the easiest way to do it, stick the GPS receiver on the rig so you can get a modicum of navigation information. Once you GPS track a rocket, you'll likely not want to do it any other way. Kurt Savegnago

John Kemker

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Anybody tried with the Anytone D868UV or D878UV radios?

ksaves2

Anybody tried with the Anytone D868UV or D878UV radios?
I have one. They won't work as a tracking receiver They can send out an analog APRS signal like a dumb tracker but they don't have the ability to decode or catalog incoming positions. Only get one if you want to make the jump into DMR. Programming is a witch and I had to get a code plug that an area Ham sent me to get the radio to work. Has the highest learning curve I've ever seen. Again, it can only send out your analog APRS position that of course can be gated to the internet through a Digipeater. It will receive but NOT decode positions from other trackers. In otherwords you'll hear the "BRRRRRRRAAAAAAPPP" but nothing comes up on the screen. Kurt KC9LDH

John Kemker

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I have one. They won't work as a tracking receiver They can send out an analog APRS signal like a dumb tracker but they don't have the ability to decode or catalog incoming positions. Only get one if you want to make the jump into DMR. Programming is a witch and I had to get a code plug that an area Ham sent me to get the radio to work. Has the highest learning curve I've ever seen. Again, it can only send out your analog APRS position that of course can be gated to the internet through a Digipeater. It will receive but NOT decode positions from other trackers. In otherwords you'll hear the "BRRRRRRRAAAAAAPPP" but nothing comes up on the screen. Kurt KC9LDH
I ask because I have one. Putting together a codeplug wasn't that bad. Most DMR radios are that way, including the MD390, etc. Good to know they won't decode. Hopefully, a future firmware update will fix that.

ksaves2

Good to know they won't decode. Hopefully, a future firmware update will fix that.
Don't hold your breath on that one. People thought a firmware update would fix the VX8R.

John Kemker

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Don't hold your breath on that one. People thought a firmware update would fix the VX8R.
True.

ksaves2

Yeah I remember as I was considered a pariah on the VX8R user group for having the audacity to suggest the rig was useless for tracking because the incoming packets couldn't be ported outside the radio to a mapping program
or a handheld GPS like the Kenwood D6A(g). I picked up two of the Kenwoods used and used them for a short period of time. The receiver oscillators went out of calibration on both of them and they're off frequency. Worthless for tracking as they don't have any range and not worth fixing because they're too old. I was ecstatic when the Kenwood D72a came out as all it takes is one cable from the 72 to my Garmin 60Cs and CsX and I have a live mapping solution in my hand. For my money, that is the best handheld solution for an APRS tracker. The 900Mhz systems are good too as they are designed off the bat to be portable though for range can't beat 70cm or 2 meter band.
The Sainsonic AP510 https://www.richardmudhar.com/blog/2018/10/sainsonic-ap510-aprs-tracker-experiments/ could be mounted in the nosecone of a 4 inch rocket and use a long antenna with a long VonKarman nosecone.
There is also this full featured APRS transceiver that could be used for rocketry in VHF and UHF flavors: https://www.venus-itech.com/product/x1c5-plus-aprs-tracker/
Then of course there are the fine Beeline GPS trackers of which I own 4.
I wished Cris Cerving would come out with an EggFinder tracker on 70cm. Has a TRS. I like the prospect of 1/sec positions as it would lead to better recovery rate of positions. With the 100mW units I haven't been able to get high frequency positions
to be posted on my APRSISCE/32 program. I have a remedy I'd like to try but haven't been able to fly for awhile. Tracking on a photomap is the ultimate because one can assess any obstructions, obstales

John Kemker

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Yeah I remember as I was considered a pariah on the VX8R user group for having the audacity to suggest the rig was useless for tracking because the incoming packets couldn't be ported outside the radio to a mapping program
or a handheld GPS like the Kenwood D6A(g). I picked up two of the Kenwoods used and used them for a short period of time. The receiver oscillators went out of calibration on both of them and they're off frequency. Worthless for tracking as they don't have any range and not worth fixing because they're too old. I was ecstatic when the Kenwood D72a came out as all it takes is one cable from the 72 to my Garmin 60Cs and CsX and I have a live mapping solution in my hand. For my money, that is the best handheld solution for an APRS tracker. The 900Mhz systems are good too as they are designed off the bat to be portable though for range can't beat 70cm or 2 meter band.
The Sainsonic AP510 https://www.richardmudhar.com/blog/2018/10/sainsonic-ap510-aprs-tracker-experiments/ could be mounted in the nosecone of a 4 inch rocket and use a long antenna with a long VonKarman nosecone.
There is also this full featured APRS transceiver that could be used for rocketry in VHF and UHF flavors: https://www.venus-itech.com/product/x1c5-plus-aprs-tracker/
Then of course there are the fine Beeline GPS trackers of which I own 4.
I wished Cris Cerving would come out with an EggFinder tracker on 70cm. Has a TRS. I like the prospect of 1/sec positions as it would lead to better recovery rate of positions. With the 100mW units I haven't been able to get high frequency positions
to be posted on my APRSISCE/32 program. I have a remedy I'd like to try but haven't been able to fly for awhile. Tracking on a photomap is the ultimate because one can assess any obstructions, obstales
You talking about just the tracking transmitter? I've got a TRS w/LCD RX and it's pretty cool!