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  Flag APRS FLorida Florida  
The N4SCF-8 Tiny Trak Assembly AKA Wee-Trak

Back in 2004 Sean (N4SCF, formerly KG4YZZ) asked me to build him a tracker for when he was flying aeronautical mobile.  I decided to build him a portable tracker based on the Tiny Trak, but wanted it to have adequate run time for longer cross country flights. After looking at all the options that were available, I wanted to try and make something small, portable, and that would work in Sean's environment. Enter the "Wee-Trak".  I took this with me up to Dayton 04 to show Byon, the creator of the Tiny Trak, and it turned out to be a item many wanted to see. After so many asking and stopped by my companies booth to see it, this page was created.

Overview

This is a shot over the assembly. The battery pack is a 2ah 12 volt Yuasa battery in a nice package that Mic from NCG (the Comet/Maldol US distributor) puts together calling it a Power Pocket. Has a charger, the nice denim case, and the battery. All the electronics are in one small Hammond enclosure attached to the battery pack. This tracker will run with smart beaconing enabled for over 12 hours on a single charge at a full 3 watts transmit power.

Face

Here is the face of the unit. LED's are extended out the face, a manual beacon pushbutton and a sub mini toggle switch so that Sean could select the two configs in the Tiny Trak - one being a Car icon and one being a Plane icon with unproto paths reflecting the needs of each application.

Side View

The handheld transceiver is a Yaesu VX2. I wanted a small radio that when powered externally could push a reasonable amount of power (3 watts VHF) but still function as a regular radio should it be needed for emergency communication, something most dedicated purpose trackers cannot do. Put all that aside, the VX2 is a really cool radio anyway. The antenna is a Maldol 209SMA super small rubber duck on a home brew 90 degree SMA male - SMA female adapter (to get the antenna vertical). The antenna is unity gain, but it works incredibly well.

Back

Here's a back shot of the package. You can see the 90 degree angle antenna adaptor, the power pole connector (yes, we are power pole junkies) and the leads (power/audio) to the VX2.

Back Cover

The reason I went with the Hammond enclosure was a "battery cover" for a 9volt in the case.  It allowed me to put the Tiny Trak 3 in a location that I can access easily should I need to change the configuration, or tweak the deviation on the tracker without having to completely disassemble the unit. You'll notice the 4 pin header on the serial side of the TT, it's currently attached to a Evermore G3 Mouse GPS board, but can be seperated easily with a custom cable I made to allow configuration of the TT and of the GPS's settings.

Cover off

This is a overall shot of the inside. The Tiny Trak is on the left, the Evermore GPS is in the middle (about the same size as the TT board with no DB connectors on it), and a custom power regulation / protection board is on the far right. The Evermore GPS is offered here in the states as the Deluo serial GPS. I chose this unit as it's very small, and has many power saving options that you can set in the unit via serial commands. The power board has a 6 volt 2 amp switching regulator by Texas Instruments on it (no linear regulation here). It provides very tightly regulated 6 volts out, which is the optimum for the GPS and is the same voltage as the external DC power pack for the VX2 while producing only a fraction of the heat and loss a standard 7806 regulator would have. You'll also notice a 2.5 amp fuse, several filter caps, and PTC (auto resetable) fuses at 1/4 amp each for the GPS and the TT and a 2 amp PTC for the VX2 for safety, after all this unit is going to be on a aircraft.

This unit is not for sale, it was a home brew project for one use, and to spur some other creative designs.

Also check out our other tracker, the Microtrak

73 de Dave KG4YZY  06/04/2004, with an update on 10/21/06

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