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.

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By the way, don't wait longer before doing the release. I test when a release comes out, I don't test beta stuff... I think it was perfectly ok to do the release. I hope you can find what went wrong.

I am running1.0 on a RPi3/Navio+. I connect to MP via wifi and I can confirm that parameter download is really slow. It starts fast for the first few params then it slows down. I also get the "failed to update home position" in different intervals. During testing I noticed, that MP does not get any data from the tracker shortly before the error message appears. After clicking the message away, everything works again, till the next message.

The reverse checkboxes in MP do not work. I had to set servo direction in the full parameter list. 


Can you confirm which version of Mission Planner you're using?  I'm on (it's the beta version of MP).

I'm on 1.3.39. We're using the system a lot and I cannot take a risk with beta versions.

Yes, I am using too, because I thougt the pitch range setting might already be in the GUI. I am on vacation right now, so I can not test anything. I just wanted to confirm that I had some of the issues, too. I first thought the wifi connection might be the problem, but SSH etc is not affected.

Randy, I know hobby use is not a priority, but still, never hurts to aks: 

us fpv hobby flyers do not need a full bidirectional mavlink with our vehicles, but we would surely do like to use antenna trackers. 

I know AP sends frsky telemetry quite nicely, however, antenna tracker can't use it. It would be beneficial for FPV crowd if ATT would also take in frsky telemetry to lock position. it doesn't need to be inverted either. 

Hey guys, Randy,

I tested the latest antenna tracker version (V1) a few days ago. I first tried in baro mode and I get large pointing errors both in pitch and yaw, as shown in the video below. In GPS mode it appears there is a bit "more pointing recision" but the tracker is still not perfectly pointing to the copter, with deviation that can get to more than 10 degrees. The poiting error is not constant and I believe it is not due to the mechanical setup of the tracker itself.

I also join the log file for troubleshooting,

log file to download (available for a week max) :

Video showing the behaviour:

Is there a step-by-step guide, like copter and plane, for wiring up the tracker? 

 Not a full answer to your question, but I made recently a build video for the tracker hardware itself if you want to build one (cheaper than buying one):

Patrick Duffy said:

Is there a step-by-step guide, like copter and plane, for wiring up the tracker? 


Did you mean this?

Antenna Tracker Home

Patrick Duffy said:

Is there a step-by-step guide, like copter and plane, for wiring up the tracker? 

Would this work if I'm flying with the px4 flight stack as well? If it's just Mav required then I think so but was curious.

Yes, but your GCS has to support the Tracker too

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