Over recent years a number of off the shelf APRS trackers have been designed, built and sold as an off the shelf solution to HAB tracking in countries that permit it’s use. Now there seem rash of APRS tracker development projects. Last year we reported on the Eagle flight computer that now has an APRS attachment. This month we can report of another APRS project, Tracksoar, billed as an open source APRS tracker under 2 ounces.
This is what Tracksoar say about themselves.
“We at the Santa barbara Hackerspace have been involved in around a dozen weather balloon launches. We have had a lot of fun with these launches and learned a lot, but found some issues. Most of the commercially available APRS trackers are closed source, large, and heavy, all of which add to the complexity of launching a balloon. So we decided to do something about it, and the Tracksoar was born. The tracksoar is designed to be flown under anything capable of lifting 60 grams, including balloons, RC planes, quad copters, or anything else that flies. The Tracksoar uses the 2 meter radio band (144.390mhz) which requires an amateur radio license to operate.
Tracksoar has been developed and prototyped for nearly a year now and is finally ready for its debut. We have gone through several dozen iterations and almost a dozen prototypes. We have several prototypes of the version 1 board, which we have flown successfully. Tracksoar is an open source project, and all source code, schematic and board files will be published with the kickstarter launch.”
We fielded a couple of questions to Tracksoar and they were ind enough to come up with some clear answers.
- Will it come with a case?
“Yes, but I haven’t announced it yet, waiting on test units which should arrive shortly.”
- What is the expected price?
“$200 USD “
- Will you ship internationally?
“Yes, but without a transmitter so that you can purchase an appropriate one for your region from radiometrix. They sell a number of pin compatible transmitters in various frequencies.”
- When may you have it available to buy?
“I am shooting for end of January if the kickstartet succeeds”
- Will it come ‘ready to go’?
“The international version will require through hole soldering of 7 pins to add the correct transmitter. Additionally all boards will have to have a call sign programmed in. It’s a very quick and simple process, which I document in a brief video on the kickstarter. “
- Will it be simple to use for technically illiterate HAB operators (myself included)?
“yes, once the call sign is programmed in add batteries and connect a pair of jumpers and you’re ready to go. “
Tracksoar is looking for kickstarter funding to go to market and details of their campaign can be founds at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1250163085/tracksoar-aprs