Not many people know but we have an piece of open source software for controlling an Antenna Tracker.  It's been built by Tridge (Arduplane lead developer) for use in the outback challenge.

Sadly we have no documentation and, as far as I know, nobody except Tridge has used it.  Still given Tridge's track record on building great software I suspect it works well and if it doesn't, I'm sure we can fix it.  So to not let this piece of code go to waste, I'd like some help from people who are interested to give it a try and help me figure out how it works.

Here's the little that I know:

  • It runs on any of our supported board (APM1, APM2, PX4, Pixhawk, Flymaple and perhaps VRBrain)
  • For APM1/APM2 users building the code is as easy as opening our hacked ArduinoIDE and selecting File > SketchBook > Tools > AntennaTracker and then building in the normal way.  For PX4/Pixhawk, our autobuilder doesn't automatically build a binary but I can provide one if people are interested.
  • It can control a Pan and Tilt gimbal like this or this found on
  • It may or may not require a GPS
  • It must somehow receive vehicle position updates from the ground station which has the telemetry radio that is connected to the vehicle. Maybe through a USB cable.  Tridge probably uses the python ground station, MAVProxy, to passthrough the vehicle position data to the AT but perhaps we can get MichaelO to build out a similar feature in Mission Planner.
  • I imagine this antenna tracker could also be used to keep a camera focused on the vehicle which might be good for easing the burden on creating videos of our vehicles.

So if you want to give it a try please do and stick any findings, questions or issues below. Alternatively Issues can go into the issues list.

I'll start sticking things into the wiki as they become clear.

Views: 53105

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I had that problem. It was because of all the electronics and other metal parts. I put the mag and GPS up on a wood stick, now all is good.

@Mike, thanks for the tip.  

Hi All, we have built our tracker and it works fantastically. We have two telemetry modules on the tracker which is controlled by a pixhawk.

The Antenna Tracker Pixhawk is able to pick up the plane and point to it.

The problem we have is that when we connect the telem2 output to mission planner, the control is for the antenna tracker, not the plane. (i.e.what comes out of the antenna tracker telemetry is control of the tracker, not control of the plane.)

How do we relay the telemetry from the plane received by the antenna tracker pixhawk to Mission planner.

In the upper right corner of Mission Planner you can simply select which MavLINK COMM device you want to connect to. In the images below, you can see the change in COMM ports and GPS satellite count between my tracker and copter.

Well! WOuld you look at that.

Found it. Thanks. Works perfectly.


Reply to Discussion


© 2017   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service