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Re: Rocket Tracking

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  • ajmitchell91
    Thanks for the recommendation, Big Red Bee is actually a brand of trackers we have been using for several years now. We have had the best luck with the 70cm
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 9, 2013
      Thanks for the recommendation, Big Red Bee is actually a brand of trackers we have been using for several years now. We have had the best luck with the 70cm BRB unit but we use the 2m APRS unit as well. The internal logging is useful, but some of our rockets can land up to 10 miles away so we need to have active telemetry, otherwise we may never find the rocket to get to the BRB log.


      --- In aprsisce@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Daniels" <steve@...> wrote:
      >
      > You might want to look at some of the big red bee trackers, I have a high
      > power 2M on that not only outputs APRS but also has a built in data logged
      > with 1000 entry storage, you can set the APRS and data logger times
      > separately
      >
      > Greg's trackers are designed for use on Rockets
      >
      >
      >
      > Steve Daniels
      >
      > Amateur Radio Callsign G6UIM
      >
      > Torbay Freecycle Owner
      >
      > http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/torbay_freecycle
      >
      > APRSISCE/32 Beta tester and WIKI editor http://aprsisce.wikidot.com
      >
      >
      >
      > _____
      >
      > From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      > Of Greg Depew
      > Sent: 09 April 2013 01:03
      > To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com ; ajmitche@...
      > Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Rocket Tracking
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Hi Aaron, the best method of tracking a station is to multitrack it. This is
      > done by either clicking on the station and then multitrack or up in the menu
      > under follow. Once that's done it will "record" the track and you can then
      > save as a gpx file for exporting. KB3KBR Greg Sent from my Droid Charge on
      > Verizon 4G LTE
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: ajmitchell91
      > Sent: 4/8/2013 11:47:32 PM
      > To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [aprsisce] Rocket Tracking
      >
      >
      > Hello,
      >
      > I am new to this group so I apologize if I am not posting in the right
      > format. I have a pretty open-ended question about tracking a single station.
      >
      > First let me explain the problem. The student group I am a part of, the USC
      > Rocket Lab (uscrpl.com) builds and launches medium to large amateur rockets.
      > We track the rockets with GPS transmitters specifically designed for rockets
      > or air-balloons. I receive the beacons on my Kenwood TH-D72A (since I'm the
      > one that's licensed) and as long as we receive a few pings it makes finding
      > the rocket much easier. The problem is that the Kenwood only holds one ping
      > in memory for each of the last 30 stations it has received from. Since we
      > receive pings about once ever 15 seconds during flight, it can be difficult
      > to copy all of the relevant information down on paper fast enough before the
      > next ping comes in and replaces it. No to mention it all then has to be
      > input into Google Earth manually before we can begin looking for the rocket,
      > which usually burns valuable daylight at our launch site in the desert. Also
      > I should mention I am aware of the PC software that comes with the Kenwood
      > (MCP-4A) but as far as I can tell it does not have the capability we need.
      >
      > What I know about APRSISCE so far. From playing around with it and reading
      > the wiki I've gotten my Kenwood talking to APRSISCE no problem. I've also
      > received pings and know I can click on them in the list on the left to show
      > the relevant GPS information. This is already a huge improvement since these
      > appear to be saved until memory is cleared. I tried the record feature but
      > what it recorded seemed like mostly gibberish to me.
      >
      > My question is what would be the best way to isolate the station I would
      > like to track, and then subsequently record the GPS information in a file?
      > Preferably one that can be input into a program like Google Earth. It helps
      > a lot to see the trajectory in 3D when trying to figure out where it landed.
      >
      > Thank you very much in advance! I promise I don't always make gigantic
      > posts!
      >
      > -Aaron
      > KF7RJL
      >
    • ajmitchell91
      I have done some more testing and come back with more questions. I am currently testing with a 2m Beeline transmitter from BigRedBee. My radio is a TH-D72A.
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 24, 2013
        I have done some more testing and come back with more questions. I am currently testing with a 2m Beeline transmitter from BigRedBee. My radio is a TH-D72A.

        APRSIS seems to only pick up the packets received by the Kenwood when I have the Kenwood TNC in PACKET12 mode rather than APRS12 mode. However in PACKET12 mode the packets are no saved at all on the Kenwood which makes me a little worried.

        I have managed to receive a few packets from the BigRedBee, which are plotted on the map perfectly. I then used MultiTrack on the BRB station, which opened another window, but despite more pings coming in no GPX file has been saved. Also in the sidebar not "Save Track" option is available for these packets. Is they in a format that does not allow them to be saved? Is there anywhere I can go to get this data (Lon. Lat. and Alt.).

        Any help would be greatly appreciated.

        Thank you,
        -Aaron
        KF7RJL

        PS: Bonus question, I also have a 70m BRB unit, is it possible to receive packets from that unit on my radio and have them processed by APRSIS?


        --- In aprsisce@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Daniels" <steve@...> wrote:
        >
        > You might want to look at some of the big red bee trackers, I have a high
        > power 2M on that not only outputs APRS but also has a built in data logged
        > with 1000 entry storage, you can set the APRS and data logger times
        > separately
        >
        > Greg's trackers are designed for use on Rockets
        >
        >
        >
        > Steve Daniels
        >
        > Amateur Radio Callsign G6UIM
        >
        > Torbay Freecycle Owner
        >
        > http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/torbay_freecycle
        >
        > APRSISCE/32 Beta tester and WIKI editor http://aprsisce.wikidot.com
        >
        >
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        > Of Greg Depew
        > Sent: 09 April 2013 01:03
        > To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com ; ajmitche@...
        > Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Rocket Tracking
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Hi Aaron, the best method of tracking a station is to multitrack it. This is
        > done by either clicking on the station and then multitrack or up in the menu
        > under follow. Once that's done it will "record" the track and you can then
        > save as a gpx file for exporting. KB3KBR Greg Sent from my Droid Charge on
        > Verizon 4G LTE
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: ajmitchell91
        > Sent: 4/8/2013 11:47:32 PM
        > To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [aprsisce] Rocket Tracking
        >
        >
        > Hello,
        >
        > I am new to this group so I apologize if I am not posting in the right
        > format. I have a pretty open-ended question about tracking a single station.
        >
        > First let me explain the problem. The student group I am a part of, the USC
        > Rocket Lab (uscrpl.com) builds and launches medium to large amateur rockets.
        > We track the rockets with GPS transmitters specifically designed for rockets
        > or air-balloons. I receive the beacons on my Kenwood TH-D72A (since I'm the
        > one that's licensed) and as long as we receive a few pings it makes finding
        > the rocket much easier. The problem is that the Kenwood only holds one ping
        > in memory for each of the last 30 stations it has received from. Since we
        > receive pings about once ever 15 seconds during flight, it can be difficult
        > to copy all of the relevant information down on paper fast enough before the
        > next ping comes in and replaces it. No to mention it all then has to be
        > input into Google Earth manually before we can begin looking for the rocket,
        > which usually burns valuable daylight at our launch site in the desert. Also
        > I should mention I am aware of the PC software that comes with the Kenwood
        > (MCP-4A) but as far as I can tell it does not have the capability we need.
        >
        > What I know about APRSISCE so far. From playing around with it and reading
        > the wiki I've gotten my Kenwood talking to APRSISCE no problem. I've also
        > received pings and know I can click on them in the list on the left to show
        > the relevant GPS information. This is already a huge improvement since these
        > appear to be saved until memory is cleared. I tried the record feature but
        > what it recorded seemed like mostly gibberish to me.
        >
        > My question is what would be the best way to isolate the station I would
        > like to track, and then subsequently record the GPS information in a file?
        > Preferably one that can be input into a program like Google Earth. It helps
        > a lot to see the trajectory in 3D when trying to figure out where it landed.
        >
        > Thank you very much in advance! I promise I don't always make gigantic
        > posts!
        >
        > -Aaron
        > KF7RJL
        >
      • James Ewen
        ... That would be because you have APRSISCE/32 configured to use PACKET mode on the Kenwood. When the Kenwood is in PACKET mode, the internal APRS software is
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 25, 2013
          On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 11:09 PM, ajmitchell91 <ajmitche@...> wrote:

          > APRSIS seems to only pick up the packets received by the Kenwood when
          > I have the Kenwood TNC in PACKET12 mode rather than APRS12 mode.

          That would be because you have APRSISCE/32 configured to use PACKET
          mode on the Kenwood. When the Kenwood is in PACKET mode, the internal
          APRS software is removed from the chain, and the raw serial data is
          presented to the computer. You need to configure APRSISCE/32 in APRS
          mode (which Lynn really doesn't like) in order to allow the radio to
          still operate in APRS mode, and then shove the packets out the port to
          the computer as well. This is my preferred mode of operation on the
          D710, but I have not configured the TH-D72 to do the same. I think
          others have on here though. Check the archives.

          > However in PACKET12 mode the packets are no saved at all on the Kenwood
          > which makes me a little worried.

          Don't be worried, the radio is operating perfectly.

          > I have managed to receive a few packets from the BigRedBee, which are plotted on
          > the map perfectly. I then used MultiTrack on the BRB station, which opened another
          > window, but despite more pings coming in no GPX file has been saved.

          That would be position reports... there are no ICMP ping packets in APRS.

          > Also in the sidebar not "Save Track" option is available for these packets. Is they in
          > a format that does not allow them to be saved? Is there anywhere I can go to get
          > this data (Lon. Lat. and Alt.).

          You should be able to save the information. Again others have played
          with that much more that I, and the archives will probably have lots
          of information.

          You can press CTRL-G and then put in a budlist filter parameter for
          your rocket. Another window will open and any packet from your rocket
          will be recorded there. You can copy the data and save it to a text
          file from there.


          The wiki describe the APRS-IS filter parameters.

          http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/aprs-is-filters

          You would use something like:

          b/MYROCKET

          where MYROCKET would be the callsign of your rocket.

          --
          James
          VE6SRV
        • ajmitchell91
          Thank you James, this clears up a lot of questions we were wondering about. I didn t know exactly what the differences were between the PACKET and APRS TNC s
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 25, 2013
            Thank you James, this clears up a lot of questions we were wondering about. I didn't know exactly what the differences were between the PACKET and APRS TNC's on the Kenwood, but the way you explained it makes a lot of sense.

            We got it up and running yesterday after I submitted my post by opening the packet log to view the raw packets and then parsing those using a script. We will try out the CTRL-G utility you mentioned which sounds like it would allow us to filter out the other stations while looking at the raw packets.

            I'd never heard of ICMP packets before, are those the only types which have tracks that can be saved? What kind of devices send that ping? I guess the confusion we were running into was the difference between a series of waypoints (which is what we are sending right?) and a track. It seemed like to us that since the waypoint packets appear to contain all the relevant positional information, saving to a GPX file was just a matter of formatting. Is there some extra information sent in a ICMP packet that allows GPX files to be created?

            I apologize if these questions are silly. We're just a bunch of college kids and somehow it feels like unless you know someone from the previous generation who is a big ham, it's hard to pick this stuff up.

            Thank you,
            -Aaron
            KF7RJL


            --- In aprsisce@yahoogroups.com, James Ewen <ve6srv@...> wrote:
            >
            > On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 11:09 PM, ajmitchell91 <ajmitche@...> wrote:
            >
            > > APRSIS seems to only pick up the packets received by the Kenwood when
            > > I have the Kenwood TNC in PACKET12 mode rather than APRS12 mode.
            >
            > That would be because you have APRSISCE/32 configured to use PACKET
            > mode on the Kenwood. When the Kenwood is in PACKET mode, the internal
            > APRS software is removed from the chain, and the raw serial data is
            > presented to the computer. You need to configure APRSISCE/32 in APRS
            > mode (which Lynn really doesn't like) in order to allow the radio to
            > still operate in APRS mode, and then shove the packets out the port to
            > the computer as well. This is my preferred mode of operation on the
            > D710, but I have not configured the TH-D72 to do the same. I think
            > others have on here though. Check the archives.
            >
            > > However in PACKET12 mode the packets are no saved at all on the Kenwood
            > > which makes me a little worried.
            >
            > Don't be worried, the radio is operating perfectly.
            >
            > > I have managed to receive a few packets from the BigRedBee, which are plotted on
            > > the map perfectly. I then used MultiTrack on the BRB station, which opened another
            > > window, but despite more pings coming in no GPX file has been saved.
            >
            > That would be position reports... there are no ICMP ping packets in APRS.
            >
            > > Also in the sidebar not "Save Track" option is available for these packets. Is they in
            > > a format that does not allow them to be saved? Is there anywhere I can go to get
            > > this data (Lon. Lat. and Alt.).
            >
            > You should be able to save the information. Again others have played
            > with that much more that I, and the archives will probably have lots
            > of information.
            >
            > You can press CTRL-G and then put in a budlist filter parameter for
            > your rocket. Another window will open and any packet from your rocket
            > will be recorded there. You can copy the data and save it to a text
            > file from there.
            >
            >
            > The wiki describe the APRS-IS filter parameters.
            >
            > http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/aprs-is-filters
            >
            > You would use something like:
            >
            > b/MYROCKET
            >
            > where MYROCKET would be the callsign of your rocket.
            >
            > --
            > James
            > VE6SRV
            >
          • James Ewen
            ... Sounds like you still need a bit of clarification... think of it this way, the Kenwood radios have 3 distinct units inside them. There is a radio, a TNC,
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 25, 2013
              On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 4:15 PM, ajmitchell91 <ajmitche@...> wrote:

              > Thank you James, this clears up a lot of questions we were wondering about.
              > I didn't know exactly what the differences were between the PACKET and APRS
              > TNC's on the Kenwood, but the way you explained it makes a lot of sense.

              Sounds like you still need a bit of clarification... think of it this
              way, the Kenwood radios have 3 distinct units inside them. There is a
              radio, a TNC, and an APRS User Interface. Compare this to one of the
              older traditional packet configurations where you had three boxes, a
              radio, a TNC, and a computer. The radio looked after sending and
              receiving audio over the airwaves. The TNC converted serial data to
              audio, or audio to serial data (modem). The computer ran a program
              that took the serial data from the TNC and displayed on screen, or
              took your keypresses and sent them out to the TNC.

              When in packet mode, the Kenwood radio receives the audio, passes that
              to the internal TNC, and then the serial data is passed out the port
              to an attached computer, plus the opposite direction sending data from
              the computer to the TNC, which is passed on to the radio and sent out
              over the air.

              When in APRS mode, instead of sending the data out the com port, the
              data is passed along to the built in computer, the APRS user
              interface. The packets are decoded and shown to you on the screen. The
              APRS user interface also gathers information from the built in GPS,
              and sends position reports on your behalf as per your settings.

              So generally, you either present the data from the TNC to a computer
              built into the radio, or out a port to an outboard computer. The
              newest generation Kenwood radios however have another special trick
              where you can not only let the APRS user interface parse and display
              the data, but you can also share that data with an external computer.

              The problem here is kind of like having multiple personality disorder.
              There's a bit of a tug-of-war between the built in APRS user interface
              and the external APRS program. Who's in charge? Most APRS program
              assume they are in charge, and you can end up with a bit of a war. You
              have to really understand what's going on to try and ensure that when
              attempting to use this mode, you get stuff set up right.

              > We got it up and running yesterday after I submitted my post by opening the
              > packet log to view the raw packets and then parsing those using a script.
              > We will try out the CTRL-G utility you mentioned which sounds like it would
              > allow us to filter out the other stations while looking at the raw packets.

              The CTRL-G filter test mode will grab just the packets that match the
              filter parameter. You will have to decipher what the packets are
              telling you, and if the packets are mic-e or compressed, you've got
              some work cut out for you unless you have an APRS parsing script like
              the APRS FAP from Hessu and friends.

              > I'd never heard of ICMP packets before, are those the only types which have
              > tracks that can be saved? What kind of devices send that ping?

              I'm guessing you have because you are using the term ping. A ping is a
              specific type of packet used on an IP network. If you go to a command
              prompt and type in PING 64.56.129.2, your computer will send a number
              of ping packets out to that IP address. The server at 64.56.129.2 will
              send responses back, and you will be able to tell how long it took for
              the packet to get to the remote server, and a response to come back.
              There is no ping facility in APRS at all.

              In the APRS world we send UI packets. Those packets are one way only
              packets. There is no response coming back at all. The only time you
              will get an acknowledgement in APRS is when you send a message packet,
              and the recipient station hears that packet. The receiving station
              will send an ack back to let your station know the message was
              received.

              > I guess the confusion we were running into was the difference between a
              > series of waypoints (which is what we are sending right?) and a track.

              Nope, waypoints are specific sentences that get sent from an APRS
              device to an attached GPS. They are usually defined by the NMEA 0183
              $GPWPL string, but there are some proprietary sentences of similar
              ilk.

              The best term to use to describe the packets that get sent from an
              APRS station containing location information is position reports. If
              you use this term, we all know exactly what you are talking about the
              term ping does not apply to APRS (although there are some people that
              use the term erroneously), and a waypoint is a position report that
              has been received by an APRS station, and then translated into the
              NMEA sentence, and is being passed on to a connected GPS device.

              It may sound like semantics, but using the proper terminology can
              ensure that everyone is talking about the same specific bit of
              information.

              > It seemed like to us that since the waypoint packets appear to contain all
              > the relevant positional information, saving to a GPX file was just a matter of
              > formatting. Is there some extra information sent in a ICMP packet that allows
              > GPX files to be created?

              So after all the definitions, we know the above is a little erroneous.

              The BRB device sends a series of position reports which should be
              heard and decoded by the TH-D72, and the serial data passed to the
              computer running APRSISCE/32. APRSISCE/32 will then plot those
              positions on the map for you. How exactly APRSISCE/32 takes those
              position reports and saves them in a GPX file (using the appropriate
              format), I'm not sure of. Lynn might be able to explain.

              There's no black magic in the type of position report being sent, just
              setting up APRSISCE/32 to save the information in a GPX file. I don't
              play with that much though, so I'm not too much help there.


              > I apologize if these questions are silly. We're just a bunch of college kids and
              > somehow it feels like unless you know someone from the previous generation
              > who is a big ham, it's hard to pick this stuff up.

              The questions aren't silly, and I hope that these definitions help
              clear things up a bit and allow us to communicate clearly in the
              future. We can hopefully ensure that we are all talking about the same
              thing at least. It can be intimidating, and appear as if APRS is a
              black art, but it is all simple data communications and computers...
              they only do what we ask, and exactly that. We just have to understand
              what we are asking sometimes.


              James
              VE6SRV
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