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Old 02-13-2008, 02:56 PM
rv9aviator rv9aviator is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 1,505

I'll have to dig out my ham license and see if it has lapsed. Looks like a fun project.

Edit: Found it and am good until 2012

Jim Wright
RV-9A N9JW 90919 SoldArkansas
"It's a brutal struggle for the biscuit."

Last edited by rv9aviator : 02-13-2008 at 02:59 PM.
Old 02-13-2008, 06:54 PM
mannanj's Avatar
mannanj mannanj is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Mtns of N.E. Georgia
Posts: 1,322
Default Antenna

Would zig-zagging the antenna up and down on roughly 45 deg. angles in the wingtip help get more vertical polarization, or is it fine the way it is?????
Mannan J.Thomason, MSGT. USAF (RET)
"Bucket List" checkoff in progress!
Old 02-13-2008, 07:14 PM
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petehowell petehowell is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 2,252
Default Don't Know....

Hi Mannan,

I was worried about polarization, but I was hitting digis 100 mi + out with 300mw. I don't think I'll mess with it just yet, but it might be a good idea.

I'll fly a bit with it and if I have coverage issues, I'll make some changes.

Amateur Plane - RV-9A N789PH - 2300+ Hrs
Amateur Radio - KD0CVN
Doggies Delivered - 25+
St. Paul, MN
Old 02-14-2008, 08:55 AM
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Noah Noah is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 937
Default Current Draw

Originally Posted by petehowell View Post
Here is my install. The thing weighs about 6 oz and is darn close to the CG. All it needs it a few amps of 14V when transmitting. I pirated power from the LED Nav lights.
Pete, I think what you meant to say was that it needs a few MILLIAMPS when transmitting, not AMPS. It's a 300 milliwatt transmitter (often powered by a 9V battery), so at 14.5V ship's power, you're talking 21 milliamps of current, and this is only when transmitting. The transmit interval can be set to send a packet burst containing your position every 10 seconds, every 30 seconds, every minute, every ten minutes, whatever you want. Every minute or two works well enough to identify your location while not monopolizing the frequency. Bottom line: battery draw is pretty much nil.

Pete, since you connected the transmitter to your LED nav lights, do you leave these on all the time? That's a simple, interesting approach, especially since the LED current draw is also very low. GOOD IDEA

On a non thread-related issue, how do you like the luminance of your wingtip landing lights? I'm just now debating whether they are sufficient for unlit strips at night.
Highest Regards,

Noah F, RV-7A

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous menů for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. -T.E. Lawrence
Old 02-14-2008, 09:05 AM
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petehowell petehowell is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 2,252
Default Thanks Noah

Yes, I did mean Milliamps - this thing will run for a few days off a 9v battery.

I just added nav lights/tracker to my startup checklist -the LED draw very little and more lights on is never a bad thing.

I have a homebrew HID in the leading edge for a landing light, the wingtips are MR-16 taxi and wig wag identification lights. It is a nice light show when they are all on.

Noah, I joined aero_APRS and posted a link to this thread. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Amateur Plane - RV-9A N789PH - 2300+ Hrs
Amateur Radio - KD0CVN
Doggies Delivered - 25+
St. Paul, MN
Old 02-14-2008, 10:03 AM
G Swartley's Avatar
G Swartley G Swartley is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 117
Default When??

Hey Pete or anybody with this tracker how about you let us know when your going flying so we can track your flight.

Also great idea I'm not ready to fly yet, but I will be building one and using it in my car till the plane is ready.

Thanks for the tip.
Gregg Swartley
Bowmansville, PA
Wings (Done for now),
Working on the Finish Kit
Old 02-14-2008, 04:32 PM
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boom3 boom3 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Sumner, WA
Posts: 722

Would this make a good alternative to ADS-B? Just kidding!
Jeff Bloomquist
Sumner, WA

1150 Hours
Old 02-14-2008, 05:30 PM
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bigbill25 bigbill25 is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Bend, OR
Posts: 223

On the tracking page, there's a link on the lower left for "Google Earth KML". Click that and you get all of the elevation info:

Very cool Pete! I'm going to have to look into this...

Old 02-14-2008, 06:05 PM
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AlexPeterson AlexPeterson is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Maple Grove, MN
Posts: 2,276

Pete, that is waaaay coooool!

Hope you have a disconnect switch for that thing - that is quite an evidence trail!
Alex Peterson
RV6A N66AP 1600+ hours
Maple Grove, MN
Old 02-14-2008, 07:43 PM
Sam Buchanan's Avatar
Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
been here awhile
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 4,265

Originally Posted by petehowell View Post
I have always wanted a gizmo that would allow people to track me realtime while flying. The Spot gizmo that dr has is really cool, but those of you who know me, know that I am homebrew kinda guy. That, and I hate subscription fees. (I am a wee bit on the frugal side - Thanks Mom!)

So I looked into something called APRS Automatic Position(or Packet) Reporting System. In its basic form, it uses a small transmitter to send your location (from GPS) to the internet using radio repeaters and eventually an internet connection. The information shows up on a Google maps interface on the web in near real time. And the best part - it is free! Using this system requires a Ham radio license, but I found that easy to obtain by passing a 35 question multiple guess test and paying $14.

Here is how I equipped N789PH for APRS.
This is beyond cool!! I just returned from buying the study guide for the Tech license. I'm gonna build one of these rigs. I already have a Garmin GPS35 in the plane that isn't currently being used for anything. This will be just the ticket for letting the family keep up with where I am while I'm out roaming.

Thanks for sharing, Pete!
Sam Buchanan
Fokker D.VII replica
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