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Tech Class Newbie

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  • Dave
    Hello. I m new to the group as well as ham radio. My interest is flying hobby rockets and would like to upgrade from RF beacons to GPS. I have a Yaesu VX-2R
    Message 1 of 4 , May 29, 2013
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      Hello. I'm new to the group as well as ham radio. My interest is flying hobby rockets and would like to upgrade from RF beacons to GPS. I have a Yaesu VX-2R and would like to find a tutorial or step by step guide to put together an APRS package using some of the available GPS and TNC modules (Big Red Bee, Byonics, Argent, etc.) I have limited electronics/Ham experience so some type of step-by-step would be helpful. Thanks.
      Dave
    • Jason KG4WSV
      ... I don t know of a step by step for rockets, or balloons (which are kinda similar to rockets as far as tracking goes) or even general APRS. You ve got two
      Message 2 of 4 , May 29, 2013
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        On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 12:22 PM, Dave <druss50@...> wrote:
        > Hello. I'm new to the group as well as ham radio. My interest is flying hobby rockets and would like to upgrade from RF beacons to GPS. I have a Yaesu VX-2R and would like to find a tutorial or step by step guide to put together an APRS package using some of the available GPS and TNC modules (Big Red Bee, Byonics, Argent, etc.)


        I don't know of a step by step for rockets, or balloons (which are
        kinda similar to rockets as far as tracking goes) or even general
        APRS.

        You've got two components, the tracker and the ground station. The
        Big Red Bee is a complete rocket tracker; i you're not into building
        your own electronics I would suggest that one (I don't have one
        myself, but it's on my list). One of our student groups had some
        trouble with the Byonics all-in-one tracker - I'd look carefully
        before purchasing that one.

        If you've got space in your airframe and don't mind hacking, you can
        use pretty much anything - I've got a 4" Patriot that has an Alinco
        DJ-C7, an Arduino with a radioshield, and a Garmin GPS18. It just
        has to handle the forces involved in launch/recovery
        deployment/landing.

        Since your Yaesu VX-2R doesn't speak APRS, you'll have to add some
        APRS decode capability to make a ground station out of it. You'll
        need a tracker, power source for the tracker, cable between the
        tracker and radio, and a mapping GPS that the tracker knows how to
        speak to. The OpenTracker USB is probably a good choice if you have a
        GPS receiver that can accept and plot waypoints over the serial port.
        If you happen to own a Garmin Nuvi 350 the go for the T3 as you can
        get some extra functionality that isn't available for many rigs.


        -Jason
        kg4wsv
        TRA/NAR L2
      • RJ Stiles
        Dave, Make Magazine Volume 24 has a bit of information that you may find useful (http://makezine.com/24/weatherballoons/). Rob KD0FTJ
        Message 3 of 4 , May 29, 2013
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          Dave,

          Make Magazine Volume 24 has a bit of information that you may find useful (http://makezine.com/24/weatherballoons/).

          Rob
          KD0FTJ


          --- In tracker2@yahoogroups.com, "Dave" <druss50@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello. I'm new to the group as well as ham radio. My interest is flying hobby rockets and would like to upgrade from RF beacons to GPS. I have a Yaesu VX-2R and would like to find a tutorial or step by step guide to put together an APRS package using some of the available GPS and TNC modules (Big Red Bee, Byonics, Argent, etc.) I have limited electronics/Ham experience so some type of step-by-step would be helpful. Thanks.
          > Dave
          >
        • James Ewen
          ... Just going by your lack of knowledge of even the terminology, it sounds like you re extremely new to the APRS part of the hobby. The easiest entry route
          Message 4 of 4 , May 29, 2013
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            On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:22 AM, Dave <druss50@...> wrote:

            > My interest is flying hobby rockets and would like to upgrade from RF beacons to GPS.
            > I have a Yaesu VX-2R and would like to find a tutorial or step by step guide to put together
            > an APRS package using some of the available GPS and TNC modules (Big Red Bee,
            > Byonics, Argent, etc.) I have limited electronics/Ham experience so some type of
            > step-by-step would be helpful. Thanks.

            Just going by your lack of knowledge of even the terminology, it
            sounds like you're extremely new to the APRS part of the hobby.

            The easiest entry route would be to buy a ready to fly Big Red Bee
            unit to toss in the rocket, and buy a Kenwood TH-D72 for ground
            tracking. Stay away from the Yaesu line as it is very limited on the
            ability to connect into a computer. (A future expansion that you will
            most likely want) Buy Yaesu and you'll need to buy more parts in the
            future to get what you want, buy Kenwood, and you'll be able to build
            upon what you have.

            Obviously this is the tracker2 group, and I would be remiss in not
            telling you that you can build what you need out of your VX-2R and
            some of Scott's toys, but if you need a step-by-step guide, and have
            limited electronics/ham experience, it may be far more beneficial to
            just shell out the money and get something that just works first, and
            then as you gain knowledge and understanding, you can start building
            up home brewed setups that match your needs.

            The extra money for the built and ready to go stuff is worth the
            hundreds of hours of frustration you find yourself dealing with to
            just save a few bucks.

            If you had a firm grasp on APRS, and were very comfortable with
            electronics, and had a strong ham radio background, we could look at
            all sorts of custom built from bits and pieces options, but I want to
            get you something that will just do what you want it to do.

            There is a satisfaction with building things from bits and pieces, but
            not everyone builds the car they use to get to work every day from
            parts... some of us just buy the car ready made from the dealership.

            It's truly up to you though... are you up for the challenge, or do you
            just want play with your rockets, and use the APRS tracking to support
            that hobby?

            Personally I'd buy the rocket ready to fly and home build the tracker,
            but you're probably the opposite, building the rocket, and just
            wanting a tracking solution to get the rocket back, and the telemetry
            too!

            --
            James
            VE6SRV
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