LYNQ Personal Trackers for HAB use

Clif Brown

I received my order for LYNQ trackers that I placed on Idegogo sometime in the last couple of years.

I had a chance to play with the devices, and I gotta say, I'm fairly impressed.

The use case for the device is a group of friends or family an outdoor event, ski trip, amusement park, etc.  The devices are paired with each other, and then you can use your device to find the distance and direction to any other paired device.

My thought was that this might be good for the "last mile" HAB recovery where APRS didn't work well after landing.

I put one device about three feet above the ground in my yeard and drove around the neighborhood with the paired device in my car.  Even inside the vehicle, I got reliable fixes up to a mile away.  I got intermittent fixes up to two and a half miles away.  This is in a North Atlanta suburb withs lots of trees and hills.  The devices themselves are small with internal omni-directional antennas.  

The UI on the device is very simple, it shows a distance and a direction (the devices have internal compasses).  If connectivity is lost, it says something like "Last seen x minutes ago" but will continue to give the distance and direction based on the most recent fix.

I think you probably could include a Lynq Tracker in a HAB payload and use it for recovery (disclaimer:  I've not tried that, so I can't comment if units will have issues with temperature or the GPS will become confused above a certain altitude, etc.)

The downside is the UI is clearly designed for the use case described above and not obviously "hackable."

I think the main takeaway is that this type of technology could be very helpful for HAB enthusiasts.

I've been playing around with LORA devices (which I think is technology the Lynq trackers use) and combined with my test with the Lynq trackers, I believe a telemetry and control system based on LORA could be very useful, even in the recovery phase.

I did send up a LORA transceiver on my last flight but the prototype was not as robust as needed and stopped working once the HAB was on the ground.   I think I'll beef up my prototypes and experiment some more on the next flight.

Cliff Brown

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