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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: ELT Tracker
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NC Hokie
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 912
Unit: MER-NC-057

« on: January 05, 2018, 02:09:05 PM »

My squadron's venerable Little L-Per has given up the ghost and we're now in the market for a replacement.  What does CAP Talk recommend?  We're looking for something that is reliable, easy to use, and available with commercial antennas (packaged or purchased separately) since we lack the expertise and patience to make them ourselves.
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NC Hokie, Maj, CAP

Graduated Squadron Commander
All Around Good Guy
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,462

« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2018, 02:35:29 PM »

An MK4 Sniffer is really about the only choice you're going to have.

If you buy it direct from the manufacturer, you'll get a better price and more up to date firmware.

I recommend the BC-121.5 antenna / handle from http://www.rdfantennas.com/

Lots of discussion on this board about the MK4, we just bought one last year, very satisfied with performance.
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sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,184

« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 02:49:33 PM »

There aren't many choices. Keep watching eBay or get an Mk-4 Sniffer. You can buy commerical antennas that work with the Sniffer. Bob Miller, a CAP member, sells a package with an antenna here: http://www.rdfantennas.com/ or you can search online for an antenna. I believe Arrow or Diamond make a suitable antenna. Homepage for the Sniffer: http://www.foxhunt.com.au/

There have been many threads on here about the Sniffer and replacement for the L-Per. Here are the two most recent.

http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=22410.msg406543#msg406543

http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=5475.msg395422#msg395422

I've used a Sniffer, in fact last year I did a comparison between it, the L-Per Blue Box, L-Per Cheeseblock and the Seimac No-Find. For someone who has never used a DF, the Sniffer might be easier to master than an L-Per, once you figure out all the settings. I think the L-Per is more versatile. The Sniffer with a beam antenna is more difficult to maneuver in the brush. My comparison was not to determine the best DF, it was to see if the current DFs could find the intermittent 121.5 signal that is being proposed for the next generation Cospas-Sarsat distress beacons. All but the No-Find were successful, it even had difficulty locating the standard continuous signal practice beacon. I also used an aircraft in the testing and the Becker could find the intermittent signal.

My opinions only, and I'm not getting commissions on sales of anything.

Mike
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NC Hokie
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 912
Unit: MER-NC-057

« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 03:15:51 PM »

It looks like the MK-4 will work with our existing antennas.  Is that correct?

Never mind, I have already seen that it won't.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 04:04:32 PM by NC Hokie » Logged
NC Hokie, Maj, CAP

Graduated Squadron Commander
All Around Good Guy
Jester
Seasoned Member

Posts: 280

« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 05:41:42 PM »

Has anybody ever replaced the wooden handles/frame of the older DF gear (I can never keep the names of them all straight so I just call it the one on a stick)?
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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,036
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 06:09:10 PM »



Yeah. I've had a couple broken by people (whom we subsequently sold into slavery for their inattention).  :o

Don't worry, its not a hard job; just be sure to replicate the labeling (REC mode arrow), assuming you're talking about the L-PER.


V/r
Spam

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GZCP31
Recruit

Posts: 30
Unit: Somewhere

« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 06:32:31 PM »

My squadron's venerable Little L-Per has given up the ghost and we're now in the market for a replacement.  What does CAP Talk recommend?  We're looking for something that is reliable, easy to use, and available with commercial antennas (packaged or purchased separately) since we lack the expertise and patience to make them ourselves.
L-tronics is still around. http://www.ltronics.com/
Here is a link to a few different options from other Manufactures. http://www.cap-es.net/es%20electric%20technology/DF%20Unit%20Gallery.htm You can scroll down to see all the different items pictured. Only the VK3YNG (Viking) Sniffer 4 DF and the ACR Vecta 2 DF are still available new. You might be able to locate something used.
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Former OK Wing DCL/DCA Mid 90s, Rejoined after 17 years out.
1LT. Communications-Master
Squadron Deputy Commander, Emergency Services Training Officer,  Professional Development Officer,  Administration Officer, Personnel Officer, Communications Officer and Aerospace Education Officer
sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,184

« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 07:24:24 PM »

Quote
L-tronics is still around. http://www.ltronics.com/
Here is a link to a few different options from other Manufactures. http://www.cap-es.net/es%20electric%20technology/DF%20Unit%20Gallery.htm You can scroll down to see all the different items pictured. Only the VK3YNG (Viking) Sniffer 4 DF and the ACR Vecta 2 DF are still available new.
Please call L-Tronics about buying a new DF. Then call ACR about a Vecta2 or Vecta3. Let us know what you find out. The VK3YNG (Viking) Sniffer 4 DF is what we've talking about here.

Mike
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,299
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 10:18:26 PM »

Has anybody ever replaced the wooden handles/frame of the older DF gear (I can never keep the names of them all straight so I just call it the one on a stick)?

I have built a couple of new sets of masts. I went to Home Depot and found some hardwood trim that seemed suitable. I laminated 2 pieces to get the required thickness, and then drilled necessary holes for the various fasteners. The hardwood makes them much sturdier. I also changed the hinge arrangement by adding a second bolt, to prevent unwanted folding.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
CATM Larry
Newbie

Posts: 1

« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2018, 11:01:02 PM »


L-tronics is still around. http://www.ltronics.com/
Here is a link to a few different options from other Manufactures. http://www.cap-es.net/es%20electric%20technology/DF%20Unit%20Gallery.htm You can scroll down to see all the different items pictured. Only the VK3YNG (Viking) Sniffer 4 DF and the ACR Vecta 2 DF are still available new. You might be able to locate something used.

The site was last updated May 2015. The company is not making or selling any DF units, and may be officially closed by now.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,462

« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2018, 11:15:53 PM »


L-tronics is still around. http://www.ltronics.com/
Here is a link to a few different options from other Manufactures. http://www.cap-es.net/es%20electric%20technology/DF%20Unit%20Gallery.htm You can scroll down to see all the different items pictured. Only the VK3YNG (Viking) Sniffer 4 DF and the ACR Vecta 2 DF are still available new. You might be able to locate something used.

The site was last updated May 2015. The company is not making or selling any DF units, and may be officially closed by now.

+1 I called them and spoke to someone when we were shopping for the MK4 - no production scheduled and no
longer repairing old units.

We discussed here before that CAP, as an organization, still has a major mission of direction finding, and
no official source of the equipment required to prosecute that mission.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,101

« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2018, 11:33:35 PM »


We discussed here before that CAP, as an organization, still has a major mission of direction finding, and
no official source of the equipment required to prosecute that mission.

With all the CAP radio folks and HAM operators we have in this organization, it seems at least one would be able to scratch out the circuitry on a piece of paper so we could start building our own. Looking at the typical box, I'd guess less than $99 in parts to build one.

Make it like the Stratux kit and start selling them.

And before anyone says it, its just a receiver and doesn't transmit. No need for Hdqs to have to study the schematic for 5 years.

An interesting home brewed model that could be a basis:

http://www.three-peaks.net/handi-finder.pdf
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 12:08:22 AM by etodd » Logged
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,462

« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 12:28:46 AM »

With all the CAP radio folks and HAM operators we have in this organization, it seems at least one would be able to scratch out the circuitry on a piece of paper so we could start building our own.

There are less and less every year that have the expertise to scratch build something
that needs to be robust enough to save a life under "cadet-handling" conditions.

Today's HAM hams are increasingly like everyone else - sending in radios for repair, or
recycling them and buying new.

The days of the Heathkit are long gone.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,101

« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2018, 12:40:04 AM »


The days of the Heathkit are long gone.

So true. I built a few. And yes, I miss the days of discrete components. Where  you could actually trouble shoot a circuit board and replace parts. Keep a few assorted caps, resistors and ECG generic pnp and npn transistors in the toolbox ... and you could fix most anything. 

Of course I'm old enough to remember when the local drug store had a tube checking machine. LOL
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sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,184

« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2018, 01:39:36 AM »

L-Tronics was literally a mom and pop (though I'm not sure Lou and Bruce would like that title), workshop enterprise. Both were/are CAP members. The first L-Per was advertised and sold in 1974. Some of the very early models are still in service. Thousands have been built and owned over the years by CAP, SAR, LE, FAA, Coast Guard and others, with countless finds made, lives saved. I bought my first one in 1981 and I still use it.

If it such was a simple thing to do, there would have been competitors over the years. There weren't. The schematic, parts list and tune-up instructions even came with every blue-box unit. The simplicity was actually a benefit, as field expedient repairs, inside and out, were possible.

Attached is an L-Per ad from the summer 1975 issue of Search and Rescue Magazine. Price for the L-Per was $125. Somewhere I have the first ad that appeared in Civil Air Patrol News but I can't find it.

Mike
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Geber
Member

Posts: 68
Unit: NER-VT-009

« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2018, 09:37:23 AM »


With all the CAP radio folks and HAM operators we have in this organization, it seems at least one would be able to scratch out the circuitry on a piece of paper so we could start building our own. Looking at the typical box, I'd guess less than $99 in parts to build one....


ARRL (www.arrl.org) sells a text, Transmitter Hunting: Radio Direction Finding Simplified. If you have a qualified person in you unit, have them go to the ARRL web site and search on "Transmitter Hunting".

I've been wanting to build something myself, but haven't gotten to it yet. I have no plans to become a manufacturer or parts supplier.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,299
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2018, 04:02:24 PM »

I got that book a while back, and wasn't all that impressed with the content. It seemed to have more on technique than hardware, not saying that technique isn't important. Maybe I need to look at it again.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
Ozzy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 342
Unit: GA

« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2018, 08:32:43 PM »

I was able to acquire a *like-new* LL-16 that should be delivered on Wednesday. I'll be putting it through the paces over the next two weeks to make sure everything is up to snuff. Early indications seem to point I got a good buy for the unit.... now to track down the magnetic antennas... Does anyone have a source or willing to sell me a pair?
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Ozyilmaz, TSgt, CAP
C/Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

NYWG Encampment 07, 08, 09, 10, 17
CTWG Encampment 09, 11, 16
NER Cadet Leadership School 10
GAWG NCOA (18)
EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,853

« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2018, 11:12:14 PM »

If you're able to source antennas, try to get two pairs. With left/right and fore/aft antennas, the LL-16 will literally point the way from miles away.
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Ozzy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 342
Unit: GA

« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2018, 12:26:33 AM »

If you're able to source antennas, try to get two pairs. With left/right and fore/aft antennas, the LL-16 will literally point the way from miles away.

Oh I know, that's the plan. I've used the LL-16 a lot in my old group in New York quite a bit but down here in Georgia a lot of the units seem to have the old sticks.
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Ozyilmaz, TSgt, CAP
C/Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

NYWG Encampment 07, 08, 09, 10, 17
CTWG Encampment 09, 11, 16
NER Cadet Leadership School 10
GAWG NCOA (18)
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: ELT Tracker
 


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