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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: DF Equipment - whatís new?
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Author Topic: DF Equipment - whatís new?  (Read 1954 times)
Stonewall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 3,934

« on: October 26, 2018, 10:32:48 AM »

What are we using these days to track ELTs? Sniffers, Trackers, LíPers?

For close-in I use the old school $20 RadioShack JetStream, but Iím looking for whatís the go-to in 2018.

If there is something, please provide a link. Iím in the market.
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jeders
Global Moderator

Posts: 2,111

« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 11:27:56 AM »

What are we using these days to track ELTs? Sniffers, Trackers, L’Pers?

For close-in I use the old school $20 RadioShack JetStream, but I’m looking for what’s the go-to in 2018.

If there is something, please provide a link. I’m in the market.

I bought a Sniffer a year or so ago and love it. It works well and is, in my experience, very accurate. You can get the sniffer and an antenna from Bob Miller at https://www.rdfantennas.com/ or you can get just the antenna from him and get the Sniffer itself from the manufacturer in Australia at http://www.foxhunt.com.au/. You can also build your own homemade antenna if you are so inclined. I chose to buy the Sniffer from Australia and the antenna from RDF, the Sniffer came in about a week before the antenna did.
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If you are confident in you abilities and experience, whether someone else is impressed is irrelevant. - Eclipse
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 11:32:25 AM »

+1 works great and is within the reasonable budget of units.
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Fubar
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 737

« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2018, 04:05:36 PM »

I have no experience with these guys, but they're shaping RDF equipment on drones:

https://www.polarisrdf.com/

Also another one I've heard about but not used:

https://fsems.com/sar.html
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2018, 04:22:51 PM »

https://fsems.com/sar.html

$$$$!
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sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,212

« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2018, 07:53:02 PM »

I have no experience with these guys, but they're shaping RDF equipment on drones:

https://www.polarisrdf.com/

Also another one I've heard about but not used:

https://fsems.com/sar.html
Things are moving fast. I received this email:
**********
Good Afternoon,

On September 24, 2018, TrueNorth Rescue Inc. acquired the rights to the TigerStrike Lite product line from Firestorm UAV, Inc. The acquisition includes a rebrand from the product name TigerStrike Lite to Polaris RDF.

We are excited about the new research and development opportunities this acquisition will bring and already have several additional products and features in the development stage, including:

    Bluetooth integration
    iOS application (Apple smartphone))
    Revisions to the current product to make it more accurate

We are also planning to develop two 406MHz Polaris devices and a Hybrid 121 and 406 in the distant future.

Check out our new website for more information about advancements and improvements to our products and software. We appreciate your continued support throughout the transition process. We have included our new Polaris 121.5 brochure

Cheers,

TrueNorth Rescue, Inc.

32932 Pacific Coast Highway
14-376
Dana Point ,CA 92629
www.polarisrdf.com

***********
Our wing received an unsolicited quote for 2 unts. (DF, software, carrying case, smart phone mount, warranty, 2 extra software licenses) = $7,068.00 US Dollars (brochure attached)

We will continue to use L-Pers (two versions), handheld radios, and a few non-CAP owned Sniffers. There are still some No-Finds and Trackers floating around.

Mike
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2018, 08:04:19 PM »

They spammed that to anyone they talked to before over the course of the summer, including
calling people directly.

So far it's all "development" and "plans" just like the last round. The last time there was information on this, it appears these
were being hand built on an extremely short-run basis.

They were supposed to be at the last National Conference, or at least John Desmaris was
going to demo one, but not much info came out.

There's no real way to comment on their effectiveness either way, but even assuming these are
incredible devices, they are well out of reach of most units, and the idea that CAP would be spending
$3-4K each on an "artisanal L-Per" when robust and tested units are available for under $500 would seem an unwise choice.

At least easily accessible online, there are nothing but renderings available, no photos or videos.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 08:10:06 PM by Eclipse » Logged


husker
Forum Regular

Posts: 160
Unit: NHQ-007

« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2018, 08:46:58 PM »


They were supposed to be at the last National Conference, or at least John Desmaris was
going to demo one, but not much info came out.


We tested a working unit at NESA this year.  Plan is to keep working with it at WESS this cycle.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 08:52:06 PM by husker » Logged
Michael Long, Lt Col CAP
Deputy Director, National Emergency Services Academy
nesa.cap.gov
mlong (at) nesa.cap.gov
sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,212

« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2018, 02:07:28 AM »

When I talked to the company, they said they did a demo at the National Conference and NHQ bought one. That must be the unit at NESA and WESS.  A wing adjacent to ours bought a pair after using them at the demo. At the time I talked to their wing ES, the units were in the possession of wing logistics because the vendor name hadn't been entered into ORMS, so the units couldn't be issued.

Mike
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Stonewall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 3,934

« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2018, 08:23:42 AM »

Was out doing ELT search training this weekend for the first time in a few years. We broke out the original LíPer, a newer model one-handed (Orange) LíPer, a Tracker, and a Sniffer; and I pulled out my $19 RadioShack JetStream.  Iíve kept a hand-sized JetStream in my gear for nearly 3 decades now, and cannot get over how much faster and more accurate it is at walking you up onto the ELT than any other device others bring to the search.

Use whatever device you want to get you to the general area, i.e. an airport, but by the time youíve unfolded your antennas and hooked up your sniffer or LíPer, someone with a JetStream will be writing down the ELTís serial number and contacting the owner.

If you're not familiar with what a JetStream is, they were made by Realistic then Radio Shack (or vice versa) and are no longer produced. Last sold for $24.99, I have 3 or 4 of them and occasionally by them on eBay when I see them. I'm willing to spend $20 for them, but I rarely spend more than $15. Back in the mid-2000s I bought a bundle of 5 for $50 and gave them away to up and coming cadet ground team members as a "graduation gift" when they earned their GTM badge.

 

I was in the market for a Sniffer, but I canít convince myself that thereís anything more practical for personal use (and ownership) than a JetStream. Our squadron has 2 different LíPers and a Tracker, but I still canít figure out the Tracker. I thought having a Sniffer would bring the right tool to the table.

Having not used the Sniffer other than yesterday, can someone convince me why itís the right tool for ELT searches and worth buying?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 10:57:45 AM by Stonewall » Logged
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2018, 11:45:47 AM »

Having not used the Sniffer other than yesterday, can someone convince me why itís the right tool for ELT searches and worth buying?

It's accurate, easy to use, and really the only actual option available for purchase.
L-Tronics isn't a thing anymore (The king is dead, long live the king!) and the Other-Co's device
may or may not exist, may or may not work, and assuming #1 & 2, cost ~$4K fully equipped.

With that said, why waste the money?  You can just be "That old dude who keeps mumbling about body blocking..."

Otherwise, the Sniffer is really the only way you can do actual DF (vs. receiving) for longer-range searches,
especially w/o an aircraft.

I have an old Radio Shack Scanner, and recently got a AV-XCeiver that has 121.5 on it, which will suffice for my own
use as "Old dude mumbling about body blocking...".

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Stonewall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 3,934

« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2018, 12:11:19 PM »

Otherwise, the Sniffer is really the only way you can do actual DF (vs. receiving) for longer-range searches,
especially w/o an aircraft.

Define long range.

Iím ready to push the ďbuyĒ button because o donít want to lack a capability. But I have found 90% of ELTs/EPIRBs using my JetStream. But clearly Iíll need something to get me within a mile of the ELT so I can acquire the signal with my JerStream.  How far out will a Sniffer pick up the signal?
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2018, 01:05:52 PM »

Well, then getting you within a mile of the ELT.

You can't DF with a scanner or similar audio-only receiver in the way with a device designed for that purposed,
so sending bearings, etc., will be all the harder.

But seriously, does your unit / wing get enough ELTs anymore to justify owning one yourself?

I mean that's like 100 Ventis with extra shots!
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Stonewall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 3,934

« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2018, 06:09:11 PM »

You can just be "That old dude who keeps mumbling about body blocking...".

ďPeople may say Ďoh, itís just a JetStream,í but when I come out of the wood line and save your ass, you wonít know the difference, and neither will the victim.Ē -C/Maj M. McIntosh Circa 2002-ish while demonstrating DFíing at our CAP static display at Andrews AFB air show. My second favorite cadet quote of all times.
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NIN
Super Moderator

Posts: 4,980
Unit: of issue

« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2018, 06:19:25 PM »

You can just be "That old dude who keeps mumbling about body blocking...".

ďPeople may say Ďoh, itís just a JetStream,í but when I come out of the wood line and save your ass, you wonít know the difference, and neither will the victim.Ē -C/Maj M. McIntosh Circa 2002-ish while demonstrating DFíing at our CAP static display at Andrews AFB air show. My second favorite cadet quote of all times.

And since 2009, the 121.5mhz homing signal strength on 406mhz beacons is greatly reduced, to the point where DFing at less than a mile is probably all you're gonna get. Your Junkstream might work on the ramp...

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
GZCP31
Recruit

Posts: 40
Unit: Somewhere

« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2018, 06:33:02 PM »

Here is the system I am working on. It works quite well and is easy to use. http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=22838.msg413267#msg413267
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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
GZCP31
Recruit

Posts: 40
Unit: Somewhere

« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2018, 06:39:16 PM »

Having not used the Sniffer other than yesterday, can someone convince me why itís the right tool for ELT searches and worth buying?

It's accurate, easy to use, and really the only actual option available for purchase.
L-Tronics isn't a thing anymore (The king is dead, long live the king!) and the Other-Co's device
may or may not exist, may or may not work, and assuming #1 & 2, cost ~$4K fully equipped.

With that said, why waste the money?  You can just be "That old dude who keeps mumbling about body blocking..."

Otherwise, the Sniffer is really the only way you can do actual DF (vs. receiving) for longer-range searches,
especially w/o an aircraft.

I have an old Radio Shack Scanner, and recently got a AV-XCeiver that has 121.5 on it, which will suffice for my own
use as "Old dude mumbling about body blocking...".
[/quote]

The Sniffer is not the only way, The equipment that I am currently using and have assembled here works several miles out, It is accurate and is not that expensive. (Under 300 plus an android tablet or cell phone.) It works on any frequency from 35MHz to 1.2GHz as long as you have the proper antenna. With a rubber duck antenna or without an antenna you can do boxy blocking easily for close in on a strong signal.  http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=22838.msg413267#msg413267
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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
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2018, 07:01:49 PM »

If it works for you, great, but that is far too fiddly for the average members, especially cadets,
and isn't likely to stand up to being beaten around in the field.

The average member needs a bespoke commercial product that has full vendor support when it breaks.

Hams love this kind of thing, most members just want something that they turn on and works.
It's hard enough to learn to properly DF, especially teaching cadets, let alone having to worry if
the home-brew is working.

If time on the bench with an iron is desired then the Sniffer can be purchased as a kit (which frankly would be
an excellent STEM kit and should be sent to every unit).
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GZCP31
Recruit

Posts: 40
Unit: Somewhere

« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2018, 07:31:07 PM »

If it works for you, great, but that is far too fiddly for the average members, especially cadets,
and isn't likely to stand up to being beaten around in the field.

The average member needs a bespoke commercial product that has full vendor support when it breaks.

Hams love this kind of thing, most members just want something that they turn on and works.
It's hard enough to learn to properly DF, especially teaching cadets, let alone having to worry if
the home-brew is working.

If time on the bench with an iron is desired then the Sniffer can be purchased as a kit (which frankly would be
an excellent STEM kit and should be sent to every unit).

WIth the next version, we plan to do full support. The individual components of the system are already have full commercial support.

The equipment in the post I provided works well. Our cadets have been using it for almost a year now. They prefer it over the "Cheddar block".

One thing with the "Sniffer" is it does not do 406. My system does.
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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
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,246

« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2018, 07:56:16 PM »

"we"?
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: DF Equipment - whatís new?
 


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