GPS tracking for model rocketry

Discussion in 'General GPS' started by MLM, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. MLM

    MLM Guest

    I am a novice when it comes to GPS so hopefully some of you gurus can't
    point me in the right direction. I am researching GPS tracking for high
    power model rockets for recovery purposes. The ideal set up would have a
    small transmitter to be placed in the rocket that will communicate to a
    handheld unit that will provide distance and direction to the rocket. The
    transmitter may be subjected to high Gs on launch so it needs to be tough.
    Upon landing, there may not be a clear line of site so the signal strength
    would need to fairly strong.

    There is a product called the BeeLine GPS that would fit this bill but that
    requires a ham license which I'm not really wanting to do if there are
    alternatives.

    Some have used the Garmin Astro which looks great except for the drawback of
    the large transmitter which is 3.5" wide, limiting use to a 4" or bigger
    rocket. Would it be possible to replace the antenna with one at a 90 degree
    angle or even a whip antenna of some type?

    Thanks for your assistance.
     
    MLM, Mar 13, 2008
    #1
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  2. MLM

    zydecogary Guest

    Until you get a better answer .....

    This isn't GPS but have you investigated 'LOC8TOR'

    http://www.loc8tor.com/

    They can be purchased in the UK or the USA -- maybe elsewhere.

    I use one for locating my car sometimes when it is parked in a massive
    parking lot.



    On Mar 13, 12:16 pm, "MLM" <> wrote:
    > I am a novice when it comes to GPS so hopefully some of you gurus can't
    > point me in the right direction. I am researching GPS tracking for high
    > power model rockets for recovery purposes. The ideal set up would have a
    > small transmitter to be placed in the rocket that will communicate to a
    > handheld unit that will provide distance and direction to the rocket. The
    > transmitter may be subjected to high Gs on launch so it needs to be tough.
    > Upon landing, there may not be a clear line of site so the signal strength
    > would need to fairly strong.
    >
    > There is a product called the BeeLine GPS that would fit this bill but that
    > requires a ham license which I'm not really wanting to do if there are
    > alternatives.
    >
    > Some have used the Garmin Astro which looks great except for the drawback of
    > the large transmitter which is 3.5" wide, limiting use to a 4" or bigger
    > rocket. Would it be possible to replace the antenna with one at a 90 degree
    > angle or even a whip antenna of some type?
    >
    > Thanks for your assistance.
     
    zydecogary, Mar 13, 2008
    #2
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  3. MLM

    Bert Hyman Guest

    (MLM) wrote in
    news:HrcCj.19557$er2.9145@trnddc08:

    > There is a product called the BeeLine GPS that would fit this bill
    > but that requires a ham license which I'm not really wanting to do
    > if there are alternatives.


    The BeeLine transmitter is available on custom frequencies in the range
    of 300 to 900MHz.

    http://bigredbee.com/BeeLine.htm

    The advantage of going with one that operates in the ham bands is that
    equipment for those frequencies is easy to come by.

    The Morse code requirement for ham licenses is gone, so getting a
    license suitable for your application is pretty easy.

    http://www.hello-radio.org/doityourself.html

    --
    Bert Hyman | St. Paul, MN |
     
    Bert Hyman, Mar 13, 2008
    #3
  4. MLM

    Simon Slavin Guest

    On 13/03/2008, MLM wrote in message <HrcCj.19557$er2.9145@trnddc08>:

    > I am researching GPS tracking for high
    > power model rockets for recovery purposes. The ideal set up would have a
    > small transmitter to be placed in the rocket that will communicate to a
    > handheld unit that will provide distance and direction to the rocket.
    > The transmitter may be subjected to high Gs on launch so it needs to be
    > tough.


    High Gs would not be a problem apart from the consideration what part of
    the rocket could act as antennae: it would have to last through the
    landing impact. I'm trying to figure out what 'high power' means in this
    context -- how long a flight would last and how far from the launch site it might land.

    > Upon landing, there may not be a clear line of site so the
    > signal strength would need to fairly strong.


    How far ?

    The thing I'm thinking of right now is Garmin's Astro:

    <https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&pID=8576>

    which seems to be ideal.

    Simon.
    --
    http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk
     
    Simon Slavin, Mar 15, 2008
    #4
  5. MLM

    MLM Guest

    The largest rocket I have so far will fly to about 6800' with a peak speed
    of about 840' per sec, a little of mach for a short period of time. Ofcourse
    who knows what the future holds... it depends on the rocket, motor, and
    pocket book but flights to 10k' or 15k' aren't uncommon. How far? It could
    be 100' it could be several miles dependent on the stability of the flight,
    altitude, and the windspeed so with that said... a mile would not be
    uncommon but 5 miles or greater is not unheard of. I'd say a minimum range
    of 2 miles would be acceptable. Even if it goes further you should have the
    line of sight and can follow that line.

    I looked at the Garmin Astro and it is promising, I know of one rocketeer
    that has used it. The only drawback is the size of the transmitter. which is
    3.25" wide. 2.6" diameter high power rockets are common so the ideal
    solution would be a width of about 2.5"s. If that antenna can be replaced
    with one that is turned 90 degrees to the box, that looks as if it would
    work or of a whip antenna could be connected. I haven't found out
    defintively how well that would work. Also the transmitter is 6oz which is
    ok but a bit lighter would be best. You're certainly on the right track.



    "Simon Slavin" <> wrote
    in message news:frhkrh$khl$1$...
    > On 13/03/2008, MLM wrote in message <HrcCj.19557$er2.9145@trnddc08>:
    >
    >> I am researching GPS tracking for high
    >> power model rockets for recovery purposes. The ideal set up would have a
    >> small transmitter to be placed in the rocket that will communicate to a
    >> handheld unit that will provide distance and direction to the rocket.
    >> The transmitter may be subjected to high Gs on launch so it needs to be
    >> tough.

    >
    > High Gs would not be a problem apart from the consideration what part of
    > the rocket could act as antennae: it would have to last through the
    > landing impact. I'm trying to figure out what 'high power' means in this
    > context -- how long a flight would last and how far from the launch site
    > it might land.
    >
    >> Upon landing, there may not be a clear line of site so the
    >> signal strength would need to fairly strong.

    >
    > How far ?
    >
    > The thing I'm thinking of right now is Garmin's Astro:
    >
    > <https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&pID=8576>
    >
    > which seems to be ideal.
    >
    > Simon.
    > --
    > http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk
     
    MLM, Mar 15, 2008
    #5
  6. MLM

    Simon Slavin Guest

    On 15/03/2008, MLM wrote in message <R5ZCj.648$i54.51@trnddc05>:

    > I looked at the Garmin Astro and it is promising, I know of one
    > rocketeer that has used it. The only drawback is the size of the
    > transmitter. which is 3.25" wide. 2.6" diameter high power rockets are
    > common so the ideal solution would be a width of about 2.5"s. If that
    > antenna can be replaced with one that is turned 90 degrees to the box,
    > that looks as if it would work or of a whip antenna could be connected.


    The transmitter electronics is about as small and light as it can get.
    But two other components -- antenna and batteries -- can definitely be fiddled with. You can do what you want with the power, as long as you don't weaken the connection so much that you run the risk of the power being disconnected. In fact, for your application you might have to beef up the PSU. The antenna can also be changed in various ways, up to and including trying to make the entire body of the rocket act as antenna. But Garmin has had years of optimizing its designs for size and weight so don't think you can beat them: expect your design to be bigger and heavier, in exchange for being able to fit in the cubbyhole where you want it.

    Simon.
    --
    http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk
     
    Simon Slavin, Mar 18, 2008
    #6
  7. MLM

    starfire Guest

    "MLM" <> wrote in message
    news:R5ZCj.648$i54.51@trnddc05...
    > The largest rocket I have so far will fly to about 6800' with a peak speed
    > of about 840' per sec, a little of mach for a short period of time.
    > Ofcourse who knows what the future holds... it depends on the rocket,
    > motor, and pocket book but flights to 10k' or 15k' aren't uncommon. How
    > far? It could be 100' it could be several miles dependent on the stability
    > of the flight, altitude, and the windspeed so with that said... a mile
    > would not be uncommon but 5 miles or greater is not unheard of. I'd say a
    > minimum range of 2 miles would be acceptable. Even if it goes further you
    > should have the line of sight and can follow that line.
    >
    > I looked at the Garmin Astro and it is promising, I know of one rocketeer
    > that has used it. The only drawback is the size of the transmitter. which
    > is 3.25" wide. 2.6" diameter high power rockets are common so the ideal
    > solution would be a width of about 2.5"s. If that antenna can be replaced
    > with one that is turned 90 degrees to the box, that looks as if it would
    > work or of a whip antenna could be connected. I haven't found out
    > defintively how well that would work. Also the transmitter is 6oz which is
    > ok but a bit lighter would be best. You're certainly on the right track.
    >
    >
    >
    > "Simon Slavin" <> wrote
    > in message news:frhkrh$khl$1$...
    >> On 13/03/2008, MLM wrote in message <HrcCj.19557$er2.9145@trnddc08>:
    >>
    >>> I am researching GPS tracking for high
    >>> power model rockets for recovery purposes. The ideal set up would have a
    >>> small transmitter to be placed in the rocket that will communicate to a
    >>> handheld unit that will provide distance and direction to the rocket.
    >>> The transmitter may be subjected to high Gs on launch so it needs to be
    >>> tough.

    >>
    >> High Gs would not be a problem apart from the consideration what part of
    >> the rocket could act as antennae: it would have to last through the
    >> landing impact. I'm trying to figure out what 'high power' means in this
    >> context -- how long a flight would last and how far from the launch site
    >> it might land.
    >>
    >>> Upon landing, there may not be a clear line of site so the
    >>> signal strength would need to fairly strong.

    >>
    >> How far ?
    >>
    >> The thing I'm thinking of right now is Garmin's Astro:
    >>
    >> <https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&pID=8576>
    >>
    >> which seems to be ideal.
    >>
    >> Simon.
    >> --
    >> http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk

    >


    Hi -

    I'm new to this group but I read, with interest, this posting and threads...
    We're just starting a model rocket club and want to start working into
    higher power rocketry with associated larger payloads. We already have one
    club member certified for Level 1. One of the payloads would be GPS and a
    tracking system. Have you considered using one of the small ZigBee
    transceivers, such as the Digi/Maxstream XBee Pro? According to their spec
    sheet, the line of sight distance on the Pro model is supposed to be around
    a mile. I'm not sure that would be enough but it may be something to
    consider... we are.

    Dave
     
    starfire, Mar 22, 2008
    #7
  8. MLM

    MLM Guest

    For GPS as of right now, BeeLine seems to be the way to go. Maybe I'll have
    to sit down and get some ecukation for the ham license but I was hoping
    there was an alternative not to have to do that. The other questions I have
    is what exaclty are you seeing with the BeeLine? I haven't seen one in
    action and the description at Red Bee is limited. It does state you need ot
    get a receiver such as the Th7P or something..... So I take it the GPS
    module will transmit to the receiver, the receiver needs a TNS? to decode it
    and then the coordinates will be displayed, from there you could enter them
    into a handheld GPS to map it? I'd like to see one in action one of these
    days. So two negatives for the BeeLine as I see it, the amateur icense and
    all of the required componants are not in one box.

    At the moment I'm leaning towards a tracking system offered by
    http://www.radiotracking.com/ , a bit more pricy than I was hoping for, but
    those trackers would fit jst about in anything.


    "Bert Hyman" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9A60807AA9B7EVeebleFetzer@127.0.0.1...
    > (MLM) wrote in
    > news:HrcCj.19557$er2.9145@trnddc08:
    >
    >> There is a product called the BeeLine GPS that would fit this bill
    >> but that requires a ham license which I'm not really wanting to do
    >> if there are alternatives.

    >
    > The BeeLine transmitter is available on custom frequencies in the range
    > of 300 to 900MHz.
    >
    > http://bigredbee.com/BeeLine.htm
    >
    > The advantage of going with one that operates in the ham bands is that
    > equipment for those frequencies is easy to come by.
    >
    > The Morse code requirement for ham licenses is gone, so getting a
    > license suitable for your application is pretty easy.
    >
    > http://www.hello-radio.org/doityourself.html
    >
    > --
    > Bert Hyman | St. Paul, MN |
     
    MLM, Mar 23, 2008
    #8
  9. MLM

    MLM Guest

    Line of sight one mile is probably not enough. Remember when the rocket
    lands, it will probably not be line of sight, it may land in high grass, in
    a ditch, or who knows. Level 1 rockets would probably be ok as most will
    only go to 3k to 4k in altitude, recovery drift may take them a mile or two.
    When you get to bigger motors and smaller rockets, then you're going to 10k
    or 15k and the drift may be several miles. If it's transmitting GPS
    coordinates, then you can always lock the last known location, get close to
    it, and then probably pick it up again. But I didn't see any mention on that
    website about GPS, just RF modules.

    I am leaning towards http://www.radiotracking.com/ at the moment, subject to
    change. The XLF 6v transmitter and the MNS20 receiver. It's directional
    tracking, not GPS, but those lil transmitters will fit into just about
    anything with a range of 20 to 30 miles line of sight. They are also tough
    from comments I have read, apart from a ballistic impact, they should hold
    up.



    "starfire" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "MLM" <> wrote in message
    > news:R5ZCj.648$i54.51@trnddc05...
    >> The largest rocket I have so far will fly to about 6800' with a peak
    >> speed of about 840' per sec, a little of mach for a short period of time.
    >> Ofcourse who knows what the future holds... it depends on the rocket,
    >> motor, and pocket book but flights to 10k' or 15k' aren't uncommon. How
    >> far? It could be 100' it could be several miles dependent on the
    >> stability of the flight, altitude, and the windspeed so with that said...
    >> a mile would not be uncommon but 5 miles or greater is not unheard of.
    >> I'd say a minimum range of 2 miles would be acceptable. Even if it goes
    >> further you should have the line of sight and can follow that line.
    >>
    >> I looked at the Garmin Astro and it is promising, I know of one rocketeer
    >> that has used it. The only drawback is the size of the transmitter. which
    >> is 3.25" wide. 2.6" diameter high power rockets are common so the ideal
    >> solution would be a width of about 2.5"s. If that antenna can be replaced
    >> with one that is turned 90 degrees to the box, that looks as if it would
    >> work or of a whip antenna could be connected. I haven't found out
    >> defintively how well that would work. Also the transmitter is 6oz which
    >> is ok but a bit lighter would be best. You're certainly on the right
    >> track.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> "Simon Slavin" <>
    >> wrote in message news:frhkrh$khl$1$...
    >>> On 13/03/2008, MLM wrote in message <HrcCj.19557$er2.9145@trnddc08>:
    >>>
    >>>> I am researching GPS tracking for high
    >>>> power model rockets for recovery purposes. The ideal set up would have
    >>>> a
    >>>> small transmitter to be placed in the rocket that will communicate to a
    >>>> handheld unit that will provide distance and direction to the rocket.
    >>>> The transmitter may be subjected to high Gs on launch so it needs to
    >>>> be
    >>>> tough.
    >>>
    >>> High Gs would not be a problem apart from the consideration what part of
    >>> the rocket could act as antennae: it would have to last through the
    >>> landing impact. I'm trying to figure out what 'high power' means in
    >>> this
    >>> context -- how long a flight would last and how far from the launch site
    >>> it might land.
    >>>
    >>>> Upon landing, there may not be a clear line of site so the
    >>>> signal strength would need to fairly strong.
    >>>
    >>> How far ?
    >>>
    >>> The thing I'm thinking of right now is Garmin's Astro:
    >>>
    >>> <https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&pID=8576>
    >>>
    >>> which seems to be ideal.
    >>>
    >>> Simon.
    >>> --
    >>> http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk

    >>

    >
    > Hi -
    >
    > I'm new to this group but I read, with interest, this posting and
    > threads... We're just starting a model rocket club and want to start
    > working into higher power rocketry with associated larger payloads. We
    > already have one club member certified for Level 1. One of the payloads
    > would be GPS and a tracking system. Have you considered using one of the
    > small ZigBee transceivers, such as the Digi/Maxstream XBee Pro? According
    > to their spec sheet, the line of sight distance on the Pro model is
    > supposed to be around a mile. I'm not sure that would be enough but it
    > may be something to consider... we are.
    >
    > Dave
    >
    >
     
    MLM, Mar 23, 2008
    #9
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