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Using a ham HT for tracking

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billdz

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Hi,
I'm a ham and was wondering if my Yaesu FT-60R or my Baofeng UV-5R could be useful for rocket tracking. I've seen the thread about the VX-8GR but my HTs don't have built in GPS.
73, Bill
 

FredA

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If it has a signal strength meter, it will work fine for RDF locating using something like a BRB Beacon.
Not exactly tracking, but often good enough...and way cheaper....
 

RocketDestroyer

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Sure it will work but you will need a small beam antenna. You can make one yourself using these plans, http://www.wa5vjb.com/yagi-pdf/cheapyagi.pdf
Most everyone will tell you that you have to have an S-Meter to do RDF. Personally I prefer to un-squelch the radio and use the speaker. That way I can keep my eyes on where I'm walking and not fall in any badger holes or step on a rattle snake. It's a matter of personal preference. Try it both ways and see what works for you.
[h=3][/h]
 

rms

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I have used rdf trackers but now have a couple telemetrums and a couple BRB gps/aprs trackers and the gps variants are the bees knees:headbang: I have had a few flights beyond 20 K with no visual after burn out with the furtherest one landing 2.8 miles away. Have been able to walk to within 50 feet of them for recovery. Certainly a lot easier than RDF them at those distances!
Greg
 

billdz

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The gps/aprs trackers sound nice. Would I need to buy a VX-8GR, TH-D72, FT1-DR, etc, or is there something I can add to my current HT?
 

rms

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That I can't help you with what is needed for your current HT. I'm sure others that have used non aprs HT setups will chime in. I use a kenwood TH-D72 and it works great with the BRB and telemetrum V2. I also have it connected to a garmin gps that provides a visual track to the downed rocket.

Greg
 

ksaves2

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The adage you get what you pay for is so very true with H/T's. The Baofeng stuff can have issues with less sensitive receivers and they do not have a "true" signal strength meter. It's full scale if there is a signal, full off if none.
A D72A would be a good investment as would be a good used VX-8GR. You have the potential to get the station positions off with a cable if you would want to track on a mapping GPS.
The FM Beeline RDF trackers would be usable with an outboard attenuator ($30.00) and a hand held Yagi.

A Mobilinkd B/T TNC could work with any H/T and Android device for APRS mapping tracking but again, if one needs to depend on the best performance the cheap Chinese rigs may give spotty performance.

A TH-F6A has potential to work with some of the more esoteric Com-spec stuff on the B band and Adepts 70cm RDF trackers on AM I hear better on an old ICOM T90A. Kurt
 

RocketDestroyer

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The gps/aprs trackers sound nice. Would I need to buy a VX-8GR, TH-D72, FT1-DR, etc, or is there something I can add to my current HT?
The Yaesu VX-8GR would work with an APRS transmitter. Or you could add a Mobilinkd APRS decoder to use with your current radios. The Mobilinkd unit connects to an app on your cell phone.

Personally I really like the Altus Metrum TeleGPS unit that I have. I use mine with the TeleDongle and phone app. It has walked me right to rockets that have landed unseen a mile and a half away. Can't beat that.

Terry
 

ksaves2

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The Yaesu VX-8GR would work with an APRS transmitter. Or you could add a Mobilinkd APRS decoder to use with your current radios. The Mobilinkd unit connects to an app on your cell phone.

Personally I really like the Altus Metrum TeleGPS unit that I have. I use mine with the TeleDongle and phone app. It has walked me right to rockets that have landed unseen a mile and a half away. Can't beat that.

Terry
Shoot, Am hoping to fly my Tele-GPS sometime in the future. Ground station has a 7 element Arrow Yagi I can velcro the TeleDongle on the beam for the Tele-GPS or velcro an electronic attenuator for RDF work. Kurt
 

billdz

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Thanks, sounds like the Mobilinkd TNC may be a viable option for me.
 

billdz

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Thanks to all for this helpful info. To sum up, I now own an FT-60R xcvr, an Arrow antenna, and a Samsung Galaxy android phone. To be able to track my rocket via GPA/APRS, I'll need to buy a Mobilinkd TNC and an onboard device such as the BeeLine GPS or the Altus Metrum TeleGPS.

Anything else? [FONT=&quot]BeeLine GPS[/FONT]
 

billdz

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Thanks Terry. Yes, I saw the John Coker article after my last post. It is excellent, I would not have had to post had I seen it earlier. It answers every question.
 

Faroutspacenut

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I'm in the same boat with you billdz - also have a Yaesu 60R and would rather not have to spend a lot of $$$ on a new HT. This Mobiinkd device sounds very promising. I'm not an Android user, but as near as I can tell, a $50 kindle fire should do the trick (which the kids can use when I'm not looking for rockets). Please keep us updated if you go for this setup and how it works for you. I'm a ways away from having to put tracking in my rockets, but definitely interested down the road.
 

OverTheTop

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I have thought about tracking with the Baofeng UV5R and a Yagi, but the sig strength meter is sub-optimal. It could be done with a switched attenuator in line quite easily though. I have yet to get enough enthusiasm to try it. I just use the GPS telemetry.
 

billdz

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I ended up not using the FT-60R. Instead, I got a TeleMetrum and TeleBT. More expensive but worth it. I love the audio reports on my Android: "Altitude 1,200 feet, distance 0.4 miles." TeleMetrum also has APRS, so I can use it with the FT-60R if I wish, although TeleBT provides more info.
 

OverTheTop

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+1 for the TeleWhatever. I use TeleMegas and they are great. It is worth buying it just for the software :). Very professional.
 

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