I live in a very forested area and have lost some planes and copters. More than I want to remember ;-) Not even far from my house but the forest is so thick that it could be 1 meter from you and you wouldn't' see it. I live on the edge of the largest urban forest in the world.
So I've been looking for a decent locator. There are so many options out there. Just not sure which is the most useful. What keeps popping to the top of my list is this one.
A bit expensive but I could have bought several already with the copters etc that I've lost.
Sometimes I think that something very simple that would just give a high pitch blast at certain intervals, getting further and further apart to conserve energy. Just an audible beacon. In most cases that would be enough.
I just need it to last at least a few days or a week. At first I thought the xbee giving telemetry was enough but soon realized that you only had some minutes to find it before it stopped getting power.
So is anyone using one of these methods or know of another?
Check out the Marco Polo pet locator system. The transceiver weighs 1.6 oz including its own battery. The battery will last up to one month in standby mode or can be actively tracked for 8 days on a charge. The transceiver is very rugged and will survive most any crash.
The handheld locator uses Doppler automatic direction finding, similar to Lojack vehicle recovery systems, and can track a transceiver up to 2 miles away line-of-sight. No cell service or GPS signals are needed for the systems operation, it operates anywhere.
The starter kit comes with everything you need to track one aircraft for less than $200 and two more transceivers can be added to the system for $94 each. It is also easy to move the self-contained transceivers between multiple UAV's as needed.
I can recommend Loc8tor for finding Your drone. I have used this With good results for two years. I prefer the Plus Version as you can save names for each tag and not only a number.
Also possible to buy several friends together and share the tracking Device.
I have written about it here at Diydrones. It has saved my many hours of searching and possible models also.
Depending on where and how far you fly I can see how the Loc8tor would be useful but you may have to get as close as 100 feet before you can pick up the signal according to their published specifications. That's with the transmitter at ground level, the range is more if the transmitter is off the ground (like in a tree) but still just 400-500 feet maximum.
The Marco Polo system uses a lower frequency (900 MHz) and much higher power (250 mW) so the range is much greater, 2-miles or more in ideal conditions. In standby mode the Marco Polo transceivers do not transmit any RF power, they only listen for a signal from the Marco Polo locator and then transmit for a very short time (50 msec) each time the locator requests an update. This means there is no possibility of the tracking system interfering with your flight controls. The transceiver can reman in this standby mode for up to a month on a charge of its internal lithium-ion battery.
This product actually works! I put the transmitter in an old fuselage and chucked it in the middle of a corn field. My friend was able to find it in about 10 minutes.
If you haave gsm signal in your area you can use an gps/gsm tracker, I bought one in the link below and it's working in this way: It has a gsm chip inside that sends in 10segs interval to a website where I can see in real time what was the last location, even if the plane get's completly destroyed at least I will know the location few seconds before it's lost.
It only cost about 40 dollars and the website platform it sends its location is free and handle the records for 1 month.
The site it sends it's location is: gps-trace.com
ps:it's only good for whom has gsm signal in the area.