Topics

Cheap tracker for possible one-way mission

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.

I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.

Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.

73 de Mark N9XTN

Bruce Coates
 

Hi Mark

It's probably not feasible given the time frame but I'm working on an Arduino (Trackuino) based tracker for a floater.  It's definitely a DIY project as it's assembled from individual parts.  The assembled weight should be around 35-40 grams and will run for about 5 hours with a 1 minute beacon rate on a 150mah lipo and up to 2 days if the beacon rate is reduced.  I can post the details and code if anyone is interested.

The parts required are:
Arduino 3.3v 8Mhz
NEO6M GPS module
SR-FRS-1W radio by Sunrise Electronics
DS1820 temperature sensor(s) (Optional)
Solar cells and charge controller (Optional)
3 resistors, 3 capacitors (Some are optional)
150 mAh (or larger) Lipo pack

73, Bruce - VE5BNC

On 2018-07-05 2:59 PM, Mark Conner N9XTN wrote:
Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.

I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.

Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.

73 de Mark N9XTN


L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

To add to Mark's request...

If you find yourself in the Valentine area of Nebraska around August 9th, we could always use your help chasing after two balloons.

Thanks

On Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 6:03 PM Bruce Coates <bruce.coates@...> wrote:
Hi Mark

It's probably not feasible given the time frame but I'm working on an Arduino (Trackuino) based tracker for a floater.  It's definitely a DIY project as it's assembled from individual parts.  The assembled weight should be around 35-40 grams and will run for about 5 hours with a 1 minute beacon rate on a 150mah lipo and up to 2 days if the beacon rate is reduced.  I can post the details and code if anyone is interested.

The parts required are:
Arduino 3.3v 8Mhz
NEO6M GPS module
SR-FRS-1W radio by Sunrise Electronics
DS1820 temperature sensor(s) (Optional)
Solar cells and charge controller (Optional)
3 resistors, 3 capacitors (Some are optional)
150 mAh (or larger) Lipo pack

73, Bruce - VE5BNC

On 2018-07-05 2:59 PM, Mark Conner N9XTN wrote:
Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.

I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.

Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.

73 de Mark N9XTN


Mark Garrett
 

I know this is a tad late but maybe you might have something in your collective junk boxes.  
When I first read this it might be suitable for a small signal source oscillator keyed or switched on and off that it is obvious to the tracker and using standard tracking equipment.  I recently flew a clock oscillator as a backup to APRS transmitters on a balloon.  Had no problem hearing it all the way up and down on both the two meter harmonic and the fundamental 28.322 MHZ.  I know that several of these trackers have flown on balloons in the past with pretty decent results for what they were for keeping things light and long term operation. 

So, what do you have?

Mark
KA9SZX

On Thursday, July 5, 2018, 7:10:50 PM CDT, L. Paul Verhage KD4STH <nearsys@...> wrote:





To add to Mark's request...

If you find yourself in the Valentine area of Nebraska around August 9th, we could always use your help chasing after two balloons.

Thanks

On Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 6:03 PM Bruce Coates <@VE5BNC> wrote:
  
  Hi Mark

It's probably not feasible given the time frame but I'm working on an Arduino (Trackuino) based tracker for a floater.  It's definitely a DIY project as it's assembled from individual parts.  The assembled weight should be around 35-40 grams and will run for about 5 hours with a 1 minute beacon rate on a 150mah lipo and up to 2 days if the beacon rate is reduced.  I can post the details and code if anyone is interested.

The parts required are:
Arduino 3.3v 8Mhz
NEO6M GPS module
SR-FRS-1W radio by Sunrise Electronics
DS1820 temperature sensor(s) (Optional)
Solar cells and charge controller (Optional)
3 resistors, 3 capacitors (Some are optional)
150 mAh (or larger) Lipo pack

73, Bruce - VE5BNC


On 2018-07-05 2:59 PM, Mark Conner N9XTN wrote:


  
  
Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.




I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.




Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.




Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.




73 de Mark N9XTN