RC Tracker Basics

It can easily go wrong

A video clip provided by a customer back in March 2014 shows how it can go wrong.  This one was fitted with a tracker and FPV.  Luckily the terrain is not too difficult to search.

Smaller Fixed Wing Planes

For a model like the Ares 350 Decathlon we recommend what we call the “multi-rotor 15 minute tracker” beacon and the “mini-receiver“. Reason being, the smaller size and RTF radio installed. The multi-rotor beacon does not connect to the radio in the plane. It simply begins transmission about 15 minutes after the jumper is removed. Just put the jumper back after landing.

Smaller models tend not to get too far away, unless you are installing FPV or are quite adventurous. Tracking and finding the model shouldn’t be too difficult.

Tracker Beacon Installation

Tracker versionsThere is not much to installing the tracker in the model. Just keep the antenna wire as straight as possible and as far from other wiring, metal push-rods, batteries etc. Pretty much like all radio gear.

Tracking Receivers

There are several receiver options.

  1. Mini Receiver – a basic receiver – works well, external battery, low cost.
  2. Full-size Receiver – a more complete version of our mini receiver – battery internal, auto-power-off etc.
  3. Radio Scanner – some of these work, some are not so good with the beacons.

Tracking Receiver Antennas

Antennas for the receiver make up most of the complexity. We offer the “Yagi kit” for longer range tracking, but simple smaller, DIY antennas work for shorter ranges.

The hardest part of tracking is the last 100 meters or so. The tracker beacon signal is quite strong at short range and the narrowing down the direction takes a bit of practice.

Receiver antennas is a big part of tracking and the bit many people like to build themselves. There are many simple designs on the internet and on Youtube for 433MHz or 70cm ham band antennas.