I'm working with a group at the University of Saskatchewan who want to start flying balloons as part of one of their grad student programs. One of the items on their to-do list is to build up a dedicated tracking station. They've had a Kenwood TM-D710G suggested to them as an option. As much as I like these, there are some caveats like needing a 12v power source, limited funtionality if only using the front panel display, sheer complexity for non hams, and not least of all, needing to disable transmit so it can be used by non-hams. Rather than sink that much money into a single dedicated piece of gear, my thought are they could get a lot more functionality for less. I'm throwing the door open for suggestions of good solutions or crazy ideas.
To start with, what do you use for tracking? I use:
TM-D710 in the car.
Garming GPS Map 60CX for both a gps source and plotting positions.
Windows laptop connected to the D710 via serial
I could run with Dire Wolf for sound card decoding like I do at home
My own Balloon Telemetry program (it announces balloon position via pc speaker or the car radio via AUX input)
TH-D72 for tracking on foot.
Doppler RDF antenna and receiver for homing in on a CW beacon if necessary.
73, Bruce - VE5BNC
SABRE - http://ve5aa.dyndns.org/balloon