Using a ham HT for tracking

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billdz

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
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.
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rms

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
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

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.

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
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

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
+1 for the TeleWhatever. I use TeleMegas and they are great. It is worth buying it just for the software . Very professional.