Tactical Tracking System

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This page describes a Tactical Tracking System for high altitude balloons – or any other object – based on the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS). The term Tactical Tracking here refers to real-time tracking and chasing, where the coordinates of the tracked object are received in real time and sent to a car navigation unit that is able to dynamically update the target coordinates.


In addition to position reporting, the system can also transmit telemetry read via analog and/or digital inputs.


System Overview

The tracking system is based on APRS. Therefore it has many years of heritage and can take advantage of an existing global APRS network. It does not require any R&D since all components are available off-the shelf and even complete turn-key solutions are available.

The tracking system consists of the following subsystems:

  1. The transmitter placed on-board the balloon. It transmits GPS coordinates and other telemetry at regular intervals.
  2. The global APRS network that receives the APRS packets from the balloon via digipeaters and publishes them on the global APRS network, see http://aprs.fi/
  3. A mobile APRS receiver station that is used for real time tactical navigation in the field where no Internet is available. This station also receives the APRS packets directly from the balloon.

Diagram


Functional Breakdown

Transmitter

GPS Receiver

APRS encoder

FM Transmitter

The Mobile Receiver Station

FM Receiver

Car Navigator

Telemetry Recorder

Budget

Risks Register