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Thread: What's going on in Colorado...

  1. #5931
    Lovin life... HFMan's Avatar
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    If you all are interested in a beacon, I have been testing what I think is the best UHF beacon out there. Check out the TBeacon: http://tbeacon.org/?page=2&language=en.

    I built two of these so far, have been testing them for a couple weeks. It's a very efficient 100mw beacon activated by a tone call from your radio (a UHF transceiver), has voice annunciation of RSSI, GPS Coordinates, voltage, etc, it charges a dedicated 1S battery from your 5V source, and has a ton of configuration options. It is tiny, only weighs 2.5 grams, it can run for weeks off a 300mah battery, and has excellent performance. I had it mounted to my Cinetank in my garage over in Village Seven, and was able to hit it with my 5W transceiver & my home made handheld yagi 7.5 miles away across urban clutter with hills in between. I actually put it to use this weekend- my Cinetank VTx shut down when I was about 2500 feet out. We walked right up to it thanks to the TBeacon on board. One of the nice things about it is it just plain works- it can 'sniff' your existing onboard GPS whether it be NMEA or UBX, doesn't matter what Baud rate- the tBeacon figures it out. I'm working with the inventor on supporting Vector- we've got code in the works for that.

    One of it's BEST features is the fact you can program it to annunciate the RSSI of the signal it gets from your HT if the RSSI gets over say 60%. Once it goes into this close proximity mode, you can keep pinging it after each signal report, and swing your yagi around getting a directional fix in mere seconds. This mode is extremely accurate- I can even tell where it is at within a few degrees if I am only 20 feet away from it (no attenuation or body blocking required). So you really don't need a GPS for it if you have a Yagi... the GPS is simply a luxury.

    Jon is building two of these, I'm building one more, Randy is getting one, and I have enough boards to build four more (all spoken for I believe). Cost to buy these is $50 from his web site. I can build them for about $20 (but I can't sell them). He offers a DIY option- but this is not easy to solder up unless you really know how to solder 805 size components (very very small). You'll also have to order up some boards- I got 9 of them made for $14.00 shipped. I'd be happy to put in another order of boards if any of you want to try building them- I also have a Digikey BOM and a link for the Radio board it uses.
    Last edited by HFMan; 19th May 2015 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #5932
    Young Skywalker Rfriedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HFMan View Post
    If you all are interested in a beacon, I have been testing what I think is the best UHF beacon out there. Check out the TBeacon: http://tbeacon.org/?page=2&language=en.

    I built two of these so far, have been testing them for a couple weeks. It's a very efficient 100mw beacon activated by a tone call from your radio (a UHF transceiver), has voice annunciation of RSSI, GPS Coordinates, voltage, etc, it charges a dedicated 1S battery from your 5V source, and has a ton of configuration options. It is tiny, only weighs 2.5 grams, it can run for weeks off a 300mah battery, and has excellent performance. I had it mounted to my Cinetank in my garage over in Village Seven, and was able to hit it with my 5W transceiver & my home made handheld yagi 7.5 miles away across urban clutter with hills in between. I actually put it to use this weekend- my Cinetank VTx shut down when I was about 2500 feet out. We walked right up to it thanks to the TBeacon on board. One of the nice things about it is it just plain works- it can 'sniff' your existing onboard GPS whether it be NMEA or UBX, doesn't matter what Baud rate- the tBeacon figures it out. I'm working with the inventor on supporting Vector- we've got code in the works for that.

    One of it's BEST features is the fact you can program it to annunciate the RSSI of the signal it gets from your HT if the RSSI gets over say 60%. Once it goes into this close proximity mode, you can keep pinging it after each signal report, and swing your yagi around getting a directional fix in mere seconds. This mode is extremely accurate- I can even tell where it is at within a few degrees if I am only 20 feet away from it (no attenuation or body blocking required). So you really don't need a GPS for it if you have a Yagi... the GPS is simply a luxury.

    Jon is building two of these, I'm building one more, Randy is getting one, and I have enough boards to build four more (all spoken for I believe). Cost to buy these is $50 from his web site. I can build them for about $20 (but I can't sell them). He offers a DIY option- but this is not easy to solder up unless you really know how to solder 805 size components (very very small). You'll also have to order up some boards- I got 9 of them made for $14.00 shipped. I'd be happy to put in another order of boards if any of you want to try building them- I also have a Digikey BOM and a link for the Radio board it uses.
    I like this one a lot. Would a moxon work as directional antenna? This is going on his quad without gps.

    This is also appealing because the baefung radio paragliders recommended is the same one tbeacon recommends Heck I can even build a audio vario to transmit on 136-150mhz for my sailplane.


    So it would be $20 to buy board from you and get components from digikey? I will be able to solder myself because Ira at Iftron manufactures his receivers in house and has the proper equipment for it, and has offered to teach me how to solder small stuff. He has both the magnification lens thing and a machine that does it for him.
    Last edited by Rfriedman; 19th May 2015 at 02:10 AM.

  3. #5933
    K0UAV Veeref's Avatar
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    What's going on in Colorado...

    I can attest to the tBeacon, as Reid and I put it to a real world test with his Cinetank. Aside from it broadcasting its last known GPs coordinates, the RSSI reply function is pretty neat. Reid used a homebuilt Yagi and we had no issue pinpointing his quad.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm sold on it. Konstantin even puts the DIY info on his website.

    http://tbeacon.org/?page=15&language=en

    I plan on ordering all the stuff from Digikey and might put an order in for a few PCBs so I can build a few more for my fleet.

  4. #5934
    Lovin life... HFMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfriedman View Post
    I like this one a lot. Would a moxon work as directional antenna? This is going on his quad without gps.
    The moxon would work, but not as well as a 5 element yagi- its front beam width is quite wide. So it would have decent gain, but not a lot of directionality (but it does have very good front to back ratio).

    So it would be $20 to buy board from you and get components from digikey?
    No, if I order up boards they will be less than 2$ each. Maybe just buy me a beer some time. You can also have the boards made via a link on the TBeacon site- I chose to use my preferred proto board manufacturer.

    I forgot one more thing- the cable. These use JST-SH connectors (1.0mm) which are a pain to make. I made up a couple, but it is really difficult. Jon and I were able to find pre-made ones on eBay, but it seems the only place to get them from is Hong Kong. Still, we got some shipped out and it took only about 10 days to get here.

  5. #5935

    What's going on in Colorado...

    HF, pm me about those 5.8 antennas... I'll buy 'em today if you are around.

  6. #5936
    Jason COFPV KD0ZEQ's Avatar
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    As far as beacons go.. do they make one that is submersible under water? If they did would have come into play today. Being new to the mini quad scene i was pretty excited about doing some of my very first flights after 3 weeks waiting for batteries and learning all the install setup of these things. Was doing speed runs back and forth pretty high up . I happened to be over the Roaring Fork river at the time i saw my battery dropped really fast and tried to save it. But it died dropped like a brick . Seeya narra!

  7. #5937
    Instructor Pilot ezikiel12's Avatar
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    Oh noooooooo!!!!! Welcome to the club!
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  8. #5938
    Jason COFPV KD0ZEQ's Avatar
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    Got a reply today from EagleTree about the Mountain Mode feature. What they said is this: Strictly for Multirotors at the moment. What up with dat? They may not even know how to explain? I asked for detailed description. Anyway yet to test.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon View Post
    It's only available in the OSD menus.
    Safety/RTH menu - Advanced - Home RTH Altitude Mode

    I can definitely see the utility of it, but only when RTH is engaged due to Rx failsafe. I don't need it climbing 200ft every time I manually engage RTH, but there's really no way for it to know the difference. Justin and I have flown out of LoS a few times where this mode would be useful, but so far have always maintained control so just pulled up or turned to regain LoS.

  9. #5939
    Lovin life... HFMan's Avatar
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    Ughh... sorry to hear that. You could certainly mount the beacon in a waterproof case, but the antenna could be a problem. It won't transmit far at all under water. It's a really sinking feeling to lose a mini (no pun intended) - I never found my Nemesis and hence my pursuit of a good beacon.
    Quote Originally Posted by KD0ZEQ View Post
    As far as beacons go.. do they make one that is submersible under water? If they did would have come into play today. Being new to the mini quad scene i was pretty excited about doing some of my very first flights after 3 weeks waiting for batteries and learning all the install setup of these things. Was doing speed runs back and forth pretty high up . I happened to be over the Roaring Fork river at the time i saw my battery dropped really fast and tried to save it. But it died dropped like a brick . Seeya narra!

  10. #5940
    Tinkerer Mochaboy's Avatar
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    HFMan - thanks for the heads up - me and TFM are going to build up a batch for the crew here. My desk is usually where all the crew's busted equipment goes to rest, so I have enough parts on hand to build at least 5 of them
    "Level grinding in FPV is the worst" - ziggy3935
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