Originally Posted by peter.braswell
Yes, I know all too well the issues and care that must be taken to set up AP/RTH. This was extensively tested and working well under LOS mode. I'd rather not quit but I do feel defeated. I'm not sure what my next move is, but I do agree with you. If you're going to be flying out beyond anything but trivial distances, some means of tracking your plane is mandatory.
I ran into this link googling last night (while simultaneously crying into my beer). Is this better / more reliable than a GPS/GSM solution in your opinion? Do you have any first hand war stories of using this to find a downed plane? I guess theoretically if you had a last known lat / long position via your recorded video down link that would get you in the ball park and this thing would get you pin pointed. I guess the scenario that gives me pause is if you're high up and get a video failure. The search radius could be large. The GSM/GPS solution in theory would give your lat / long where you land as opposed to having to home in with the radio beacon.
Thanks for your thoughts!
GPS is ok except if your plane ends up where there is no cell service. This is becoming rare but still possible. Also as you well know by now, gps antenna can easily lose a signal. Finally, gps requires a cell contract or purchased minutes on a sim card, which run out and must be repurchased.
The beacon works really well, except once you get within about one hundred feet, and then there may be some false echoes if there is a lot rf reflectors (houses, trees etc). But it gets you close enough that at least you know the close vicinity and then you will find it with time by eye. The one wrinkle is you have to make sure the beacon tx doesn't lose power at impact, which means wrapping the case tightly closed and squeezing the button cell battery in place. Not a big deal, but one more step at launch time. Leaving the battery in place and adding a switch is convenient, but one more thing to fail at impact so it's a risk.
I've tried both and prefer the beacon over gps. In fact ironically, the time I lost a plane fpv was BECAUSE of the gps malfunctioning and steering the plane to some ficticious home spot. So why would I ever use gps to locate the plane? LOL!