Developer

figuring out the Antenna Tracker

3691139590?profile=originalNot 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 servocity.com.
  • 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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Replies

  • Hello Colleagues!

    APM 2 not compatible with Antenna tracker 1.0.0 firmware?

    When I flash my old APM 2.5.2 with Antenna tracker 1.0.0 firmware via Mission Planer and then open terminal I see 0.7.2 version :(

  • Sumerian eng. I cannot solve your problem but you really have a massive tracker there... are you intercepting NASA Curiosity Rover comm?

  • Hello Randy,

        I am interested on antenna tracker and I recently built a powerful antenna tracker and it is work perfect BUT there is some thing wrong I don't now if this is a bug or not..! what I want to say is sometime the tracker shifted a 90 degree to right or left specially when the airplane pass thru near the tracker with high speed and the tracker locked on the new direction (90 degree from its head) and still on this until reset.
    Could you please tell me what is this, I appreciate your help.

    3702293527?profile=original

  • Developer

    Edward,

    My guess is the tracker would work with px4 stack but I'm not sure.  The GCS does not really need to support the tracker .. I mean I sometimes test with no GCS at all just to be sure the tracker is pointing properly.  Of course, there's not really much point in the tracker if you're not viewing the telemetry data on the GCS but it doesn't technically need a GCS to operate.

    I totally agree with Craig's comment above that it would be best to move the discussion to the link he's provided.  I'll be answer questions there from now on.

    Edward Sellars said:

    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.
  • Developer

    Please move this discussion to http://discuss.ardupilot.org/c/antennatracker

    We're tying to move everything into one place.

    Thank you for your help

  • Developer

    Yes, but your GCS has to support the Tracker too

  • 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.
  • Patrick,

    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? 

    AntennaTracker Home — AntennaTracker documentation
  • MR60


     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? 

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

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