[aprssig] APRS Antenna Rotator

Scott Miller scott at opentrac.org
Fri Nov 30 12:04:55 EST 2007

I've been planning to add an antenna tracking feature to the Tracker2, 
since it's already able to calculate range and bearing to another 
station.  I haven't done the same with elevation, though.  And it was 
intended to output absolute direction strings to an intelligent rotor 

If you get a smarter controller, I might be able to help out with the 
APRS part.


Adam Ploessl wrote:
> I'm working on a high altitude ballon project and am going to have 
> an ATV link from the payload.  Has anyone ever used APRS for antenna 
> control before?   What I have now is 2 rotators, one for vertical and 
> one for horizontal movement connected to a PC interface.  The system is 
> mounted in a cargo van that will be following the balloon.  I've seen 
> other ATV links before but the video quality usually breaks down quite a 
> bit a long distances so the idea is that the chase van will be nearby 
> bringing down live video and streaming it back to "mission control" via 
> wireless broadband link.
> The control software takes the APRS telemetry info from the balloon and 
> uses the van's GPS coordinates and altitude and calculates the vertical 
> angle and direction of the antenna.  It seems to work ok, but I need to 
> use an alternate APRS frequency and have a high rate of beacons to make 
> it work when the van is in motion and the balloon is almost overhead and 
> close to an urban area.
> Has anyone ever done something like this before?  The only other problem 
> I have is with the rotators, the movement is based on time.  Power is 
> applied for so many seconds for so many degrees of travel.  It seems 
> after it's been operating a few hours that needs to be recalibrated.  
> Anyone know of any other methods of controlling the rotators or maybe a 
> better type of rotator to use?  I figured someone might have an idea 
> that tracks satellites.
> Thanks,
> Adam
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