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
  • 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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          • ok, clarification: DTFUHF stuff is neither supported nor is going to be in the near future.


            and as far as I know flipflap never disclosed his source code, sharing only hex files so he doesn't comply with the GNU license while undoubtedly using a ton of arduino and original openlrs (flytron) libraries. 


            I't been a long time since I've been looking for this code. 

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          • Well than, as soon as version 2 goes public I'll try it out. 

            regarding HK Orange. its notoriously poor QC might be an issue with mine, but nothing beats DTF UHF in harmonics suppression and quality build (in the price range). Moreover, my DTFUHF gear is almost 2 years old and still works as new, I  had 2 HK 1w units which output only 400mw (why they say it is 1w???) and would still effectively kill my GPS reception. To make an orange 1w module to output in 700-800mw range one needs to power the rfm module with 5-5.5v effectively shortening its life span multi-fold. 

            I still wonder why rmrc never tested dtfuhf gear especially since HK never been known for good QC?  

            DTF UHF is being sold in USA by store with exceptional CS, such and

            Even if I'll ever get a dud unit I know I will get a replacement sent the next day I contact them. 

            p.s. I  wouldn't really like putting a 1w Tx unit on a tracker next to my video RX, if anything I would put it at least a meter or two away. 

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  • My antenna tracker mini APM works fine with firmware 0.5.  With the latest firmware 0.72 has a problem with the initialization.  Parameter altitude error starts as zero or minus infinity and pitch servo is not working.  I have to repeatedly many time switch on-off before it starts working.

    • I flew/drove circles around my tracker and it followed all the time. Both simulated and real vehicles.
      • Thanks, that is great! 

    • Just enter 360° for yaw and it will rotate unlimited.
      • If that's true than both wiki and MP description need some love :)  paedo for asking, but hiw do you know? Have you tested this? 

        • Developer

          I have added a "Tip" to the configuration section of the AntennaTracker wiki specifying how to do this (note I haven't tested as my tracker won't do this).  Please review here.  It will take a few minutes for the site to be updated.

          Any feedback greatly welcomed.

          Thanks, Grant.

          • Grant, could you advise if AT will be able to work while being able to "listen only"? 

            a simple way to test is to disconnect TX pin from the telemetry radio. 

    • Mine hasn't worked properly since .5 so I need to downgrade. I can't find the appropriate download for the file. Can you put a link where you got the file for the pixhawk. Thanks. This project seems to have. Den put on the back burner. I hope it gets some dev attention soon.
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