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RE: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders

To: "'Jim Lux'" <>, <>
Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders
From: "Dave Bernstein" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 16:57:21 -0400
List-post: <>
Well, I've never written an autopilot, but one based around an on-board
GPS sounds like a fun project. My hands are a bit full with DXLab right
now, but I will give it some serious thought.


      Dave, AA6YQ

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Lux [] 
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 16:44
Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders

At 04:15 PM 6/28/2004 -0400, Dave Bernstein wrote:
>A model helicopter with a GPS receiver, a UHF link for the NMEA data, 
>and software for navigation and position/signal-strength recording -- 
>what a cool idea! Are there off-the-shelf model helicopter controllers 
>with RS-232 or USB interfaces?
>     73,
>         Dave, AA6YQ
>-----Original Message-----
>[] On Behalf Of Michael Tope
>Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 15:43
>To: Larry Phipps;; Jim Lux
>Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Actual LP Performance vs Tribanders
>One of my colleagues at work fly's model Helicopters. Seems like a 
>model helicopter with a small beacon transmitter might be the way to 
>make a poor man's HF antenna range. Alternatively, a tethered helium 
>balloon with a small beacon might be another way to build a cheap HF 
>antenna range.
>Mike, W4EF........................

I've been looking into this very approach, except using a powered 
paraglider model: much, much easier to fly than a helicopter, and a lot 
less metal, and mechanically much simpler.  The idea is to fly a GPS, a 
PCR1000, and a small computer. You also need three short antennas and a 
switch (GaAs MMIC will work just fine, it's low power), because you
know the orientation of the antenna.

I have a 1/3 scale paraglider with a modified weedwhacker motor that can

carry 5-6 pounds of payload.  The only real problem with the PPG is that

it's not all that fast (about 11 mi/hr) (which is good for making the 
measurements, but a real pain if there's any wind).

Essentially a poor man's RELEDOP (google for it).

I looked into the whole autopilot thing and it's really, really
(read several kilobucks) for anything that would work in this sort of 
application (that is, suitably automated).  You're really better off
flying the thing with some telemetry coming back to help you drive it

If you teamed up with someone with a helicopter who's good at flying it,

then maybe all you'd need is a little instrument package that they could

carry.  I was looking for something I could fly myself and I am a
R/C helicopter pilot.  Blimps are another possibility.

The robotics group  at W4EFs work (mine too) have fairly fancy
helicopters that could easily run a pattern, and their payload is PC/104

based and integrating a beacon or a small radio wouldn't be all that 
tough.  Hmm, maybe we should propose it as a use for their devices. 


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