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FMKit [Lost model locator]

DJI Phantom Quadcopter General Discussion

Moderators: Adam, OI Photography, gunslinger, ElGuano, LuvMyTJ, DeweyAXD

Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby discv » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:43 am

Dewey, brilliant write up- though I don't understand it yet- but I will !

Been gone and ordered a Baofeng UV-5R2. 5 watt/ £30- and even if my plan goes belly up- I can listen to LBC 97.3 on it 8-)
I will order an RFKit AFTER I have played with the radio, and IF I reckon I might be in with a chance.

So---this weekend you will be taking off from a metal barge- and over water :shock:

So---- you may have time spare to peruse this radio and give me your thoughts- but I sincerely hope not!

Again, many thanks
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby The Editor » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:07 pm

Guys,

I've been looking through this thread but fail to see how this system could be reasonably used to locate a 'lost model' without a very narrow beam yagi (or similar) and a great deal of skill !

You would only have the signal strength meter on any rx you purchased to give you an indication that you were 'getting' closer.

Without the proper equipment and knowledge you would only be aware of a 'beacon' being transmitted on a set frequency somewhere within it's transmitting radius.
Assuming you are at the center of the circle (home point) when you model is lost you will only have line of sight where it was last seen to start walking towards (this would not take into accounts wind, Naza funny business where it might have flown off at 90 degree after you last saw it etc).

I maybe missing something here but I do NOT see this as any solution to locating a lost Phantom!
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby DeweyAXD » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:25 pm

The Editor wrote:Guys,

I've been looking through this thread but fail to see how this system could be reasonably used to locate a 'lost model' without a very narrow beam yagi (or similar) and a great deal of skill !

You would only have the signal strength meter on any rx you purchased to give you an indication that you were 'getting' closer.

Without the proper equipment and knowledge you would only be aware of a 'beacon' being transmitted on a set frequency somewhere within it's transmitting radius.
Assuming you are at the center of the circle (home point) when you model is lost you will only have line of sight where it was last seen to start walking towards (this would not take into accounts wind, Naza funny business where it might have flown off at 90 degree after you last saw it etc).

I maybe missing something here but I do NOT see this as any solution to locating a lost Phantom!


Well I have to agree Editor.. personally as I've said I think it is a risky project and not one that should be relied on. The concept of the device as far as I can tell is to not rely on the signal strength indicator of the radio set itself, instead the device emits a tone which changes depending on its own strength. The use of a radio is purely to be able to hear that tone and the frequency used is key to how clear that signal is. How that actually works is beyond me technically (I'm going from the youtube vid). Seems to work right next to the device but what happens at range audioably I'm not sure.

I fear there could be a whole lot of walking around frustrated in the event of loss but I guess it 'might' lead to a find and is better than nothing at all.

It has advantages over something like the Tile in regards to a longer range with a good signal but unlike the Tile (or other bluetooth trackers) it won't tell you exactly where it is when you get within 100ft.

For me it is a flawed method of tracking and looks more like an ex-military guy finding a use for something he likely designed in the commercial world..... but hey it is a project and fair play to the OP for taking it on I say. I for one will look forward to hearing about how it goes.... I just hope the later posts don't come with a 'Lost Phantom - FMkit useless' title :o
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby discv » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:42 pm

Editor, your observations are valued- but not what I want to hear :(

I do not know the answers, but I intend to find out. The radio I have bought at a good price- and can resell on Ebay- if it all fails.
So now I'm into risking another £35 on the RFKit.

So on the plus side- I have already learnt a lot, and will learn a lot more.
The worst case is I'm £35 out of pocket.

Now a lot of guys on the RCgroup 'claim' success with this kit- surely they are not ALL dreamers.This I will let you know :roll:

My latest thought-- is if I can set this kit up to transmit on an illegal channel when/if lost, and if my ID is on the phantom, the authorities will track and find my lost model for me- and bring it to my door. Clever ehh.
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby GearLoose » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:13 pm

Interesting discussion... as it happens, I have the FMKit beacon and recently bought the older Baofeng UV-100 radio to locate the beacon. Previously I'd used a Motorola Talkabout 4600 radio but it doesn't have a removeable antenna or squelch, so I was having problems using it to locate the beacon.

Although I have no doubt that the FMKit can be used to locate my Phantom, focusing the search continues to be a challenge. You do this by intentionally blocking/attenuating the signal received from the beacon by your radio. Peter, the developer, told me to use my body and to spin in a circle with the radio held against my chest. Unfortunately I have a balance problem and can't do that without falling over :)

Other methods include wrapping the radio in aluminum foil, removing the antenna, adjusting squelch, and even putting the radio inside a tin can.

By the way... if you remove your radio's antenna DO NOT TRANSMIT or you'll fry it, just as I fried my FPV tx by forgetting to connect the antenna.

So... I was about 800 feet from the beacon in heavy forest and got a weak single tone signal, repeating every several seconds on my radio (I use channel 5). As I move closer to the beacon, I begin to get two tones... then three. To focus the search I need to identify the direction which gives the strongest, clearest tones and move toward the beacon.

It obviously takes practice.

Advantages -- I live far away from cell phone service and seldom fly in open areas, so this is my only realistic hope of finding a "Phantom in a haystack". Also, the beacon and its tiny battery are ridiculously small. I put it in a small pill bottle and fix it to the Phantom's landing gear with Scotch tape.

If I know that I will be flying where there's cell service, I'll be using the FiLiFi GPS locator with an AT&T sim card. Cheaper annual cost than the Garmin and similar GPS units.
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby DeweyAXD » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:47 pm

Interesting Gearloose - you highlight a situation where it certainly would be good as a back up solution (albeit a very long winded dizzing one!). You can get Attenuators on ebay like this that might work: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Microwave-Att ... 3f22613f07 depend on the antenna type i guess.
I guess one of these plus a Tile or other bluetooth device would be a good combo... draws you close enough to get withing Bluetooth range and then use the app to locate it (although that depends on how the app map works... offline would be ok, online a no go).

Discv - sounds like you will need to practice with it quite a bit on the ground before relying on it. Would be good to get some youtube vids up of these trials as I am sure people living way out in the sticks would appreciate seeing them.
I like your idea of using an illegal band to help find it ;) ... flawless until they find your phantom (drone) with some ex-israelly military developed bugging/homing device on it and you end up in a dark room at Mi5 - best put some KY jelly in the Phantom kit :lol:

Seriously though have fun with it... as you say its a learning curve and that is what hobbies are all about.
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby discv » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:54 pm

GearLoose, I was hoping you would jump in on this- I had noted previously that you were playing with this kit.

I have not had a chance to read your post in depth, but anything more you can throw in the mix- please do.
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby discv » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:57 pm

I like your idea of using an illegal band to help find it ;) ... flawless until they find your phantom (drone) with some ex-israelly military developed bugging/homing device on it and you end up in a dark room at Mi5 - best put some KY jelly in the Phantom kit :lol:


Oh I hadn't thought about that :!:
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby Driffill » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:03 pm

Ex military???
Israeli genius??
Russian spy???
Peter???

Lmao, really wanna know who developed this technology???

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/ ... raints.pdf

And I'm sure a search on alibaba or similar will yield hundreds of results for items like this. Being that they use frequencies that we shouldn't be transmitting on, they cannot be legally sold on shelf and there fore we don't see them, like radar detectors. Some place they are common, in Australia they are a black market item!
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Re: FMKit [Lost model locator]

Postby BruceTS » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:52 pm

Another way of narrowing down the search area is by triangulation, once you get a signal, try and pinpoint the best direction. then travel off to another location and do the same, the intersecting lines will get you in a more general location to start the hunt. That's how I used to do it, unless you already know it's nearby.

Hopefully the Tile works as intended, this could help locate it even quicker.
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