The only deal on 2 meters is an optimum antenna is longer than a 70cm (~400Mhz) tracker. The low powered 70cm Beeline stuff is perfectly adequate for a sport flier. In a big long nosecone mounted tracker, 2 meters is not a problem though one has to be able to have a reliable removable bulkhead that won't rip out on the harness.
I've had flights go out of sight for a long time and due to the prevailing ground winds everyone assumes the rocket is going to appear in the downwind direction based on the ground windspeed. Well, winds aloft can be different and with live tracking on a map, I was able to yell and tell everyone to look 180 degrees from where they were looking. Sometimes we'd see it coming in under the main, sometimes not. This occurred many times with me as I would track other folks APRS tracked rockets as I had the ground equipment and simply would just have to change frequencies on my radio.
Also with APRS, with the altitude reporting one can easily tell the main chute has successfully deployed due to the slowing of the descent rate of the altitude readout. The NMEA trackers (example Eggfinders) have this same benefit also. This is true even if the rocket can't be seen due to the distance. Hence, if I fly at a large venue I try to blow the main up high, 1000' or higher because altitude is one's friend as far as radio propagation is concerned with the low power and short antennas. In a high speed flight state, GPS may not work so well but once the rocket is in the recovery phase, things settle down and positions stream in more reliably. With a mapping program, one can establish a drift pattern of the descending rocket. There will eventually be a loss of signal as the rocket gets lower to the ground. If there is a relatively higher wind blowing, the final resting place may be a distance away from where the last position was reported. If one gets to the "last known position" they will likely reacquire a new position as the rocket will be pretty close. If the GPS is facing the dirt, they might still receive a signal but know which direction to proceed even though a valid position is not being transmitted. After flying several GPS tracked rockets, I've never had this scenario occur. Once I got close enough to pick the signal in the ground footprint of the tracker, I got an accurate final position.
I've never lost a GPS tracked rocket. Even one that was a lawn dart. With the lawn dart there was one position packet that came in when the rocket was about 75 to 100 feet in the air. I half heartedly proceeded to that position and there was the fincan sticking out of the ground. It was a fiberglass rocket so a new nosecone, new tracker and the rocket still flies.
Smallish DD rockets even with sizable main chutes disappear quite easily even with a nominal recovery.
Yeah, following an arrow on a radio will achieve the same recovery but if one can real time plot a rocket's trajectory on a map, it's nice to know that the rocket likely didn't land in a lake, pond, drainage ditch on a roof or what have you. That is not so much of a problem for our brethren that launch in the wide open spaces out West but us Midwesties have a lot of ground "stuff" to deal with.
Hi Kurt, I had 2 440 Bee systems , both now lost to bad issues with the flight plans...
When I got my last one , I wanted it to be on 2 meters so I could use it for other purposes.. plus I had several Big Red Bee 440 RDF tracker beacons...
I still like Big Red Bee Products