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Pimped my Inspire - GPS / Cell Tracker
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dmytchak
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United States
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Reading and recently witnessing a Phantom 2 flyaway on Saturday, I bought a Trackimo on Saturday and it arrived yesterday thanks to Amazon Prime!  

Charged it up and put the Inspire outside for 15 minutes.  It pointed to me a 10 foot radius of where I placed my Inspire.   For ~140.00 bucks, I think it's a great option and great piece of mind.

Here's the back shot (with charging cable attached)

Trackimo

Trackimo

2015-2-10
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averbouwens
Second Officer
Flight distance : 83642 ft
United States
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what is the weight?  Have you flown with it yet?  Results? Thanks
2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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averbouwens Posted at 2015-2-11 04:53
what is the weight?  Have you flown with it yet?  Results? Thanks

Flying it tonight.   

Here's the specs:
Item Weight:                1.4 Ounces (42 Grams)
Item Dimensions:        L: 1.8”, W: 1.6”, H: 0.7” (L: 47mm, W: 40mm, H: 17mm)
Network Band:            Quad gsm 850 / gsm 900 / dcs 1800 / pcs 1900
Battery:                       600 mAH Lithium-ion battery
Battery Activity Time: 48-96 hours
Product Warranty:      1 year
2015-2-10
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GB44
Captain
Flight distance : 343848 ft
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dmytchak Posted at 2015-2-11 04:56
Flying it tonight.   

Here's the specs:

I askd DJI Support what that black box is you have fixed the GPS to, but they didnt know and havent heard anything from them as promised.  Dont suppose you know what it is  ??

2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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GB44 Posted at 2015-2-11 06:57
I askd DJI Support what that black box is you have fixed the GPS to, but they didnt know and haven ...

I don't.  I did take the cover off to see if there was a pcb or antenna in it.  Just a ribbon cable.
2015-2-10
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gunnell_s.msn
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Doesnt the Inspire have a GPS locator built into it?
2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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gunnell_s.msn Posted at 2015-2-11 09:52
Doesnt the Inspire have a GPS locator built into it?

It does but this is a totally isolated system.  If, for any reason, the aircraft decides to fly away, battery blows up, etc, I'll be able to locate it with the isolated device.

At least, in theory.   
2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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gunnell_s.msn Posted at 2015-2-11 09:52
Doesnt the Inspire have a GPS locator built into it?

It does but this is a totally isolated system.  If, for any reason, the aircraft decides to fly away, battery blows up, etc, I'll be able to locate it with the isolated device.

At least, in theory.   
2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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gunnell_s.msn Posted at 2015-2-11 09:52
Doesnt the Inspire have a GPS locator built into it?

It does but this is a totally isolated system.  If, for any reason, the aircraft decides to fly away, battery blows up, etc, I'll be able to locate it with the isolated device.

At least, in theory.   
2015-2-10
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gunnell_s.msn
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dmytchak Posted at 2015-2-11 10:20
It does but this is a totally isolated system.  If, for any reason, the aircraft decides to fly aw ...

Thanks for the input, my Inspire is being delivered tomorrow.  Just ordered one of the trackimo off Amazon.  Looks like it is one of the best deals around.
2015-2-10
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gunnell_s.msn
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Any advice for when I attach my trackimo to the Inspire since you already did it?  Any pointers would be appreciated!
2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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gunnell_s.msn Posted at 2015-2-11 11:09
Any advice for when I attach my trackimo to the Inspire since you already did it?  Any pointers woul ...

I used a tether on the GPS tracker.  If you look in the upper left hand corner, there's a kevlar line running from the tracker to the unit.  That's really the only thing I could recommend.

The trackimo comes with velco, a nice weathering cover, etc.  Everything you need to mount it.   

2015-2-10
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gunnell_s.msn
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dmytchak Posted at 2015-2-11 11:13
I used a tether on the GPS tracker.  If you look in the upper left hand corner, there's a kevlar l ...

Kevlar line is a good idea.  Thanks!
2015-2-10
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dmytchak
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gunnell_s.msn Posted at 2015-2-11 11:20
Kevlar line is a good idea.  Thanks!

Flew last night (11 minutes) with the tracker transmitting once a minute.   No issues whatsoever so far.

May have a winner here.
2015-2-11
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artieelia.email
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This is a great idea! I have been looking at these the last few weeks and really trying to make a decision on which one I would like to buy. I think I have it narrowed down to either the drone mods uav locator or the trackimo locator. Also thinking about putting a marco polo tracker on it for backup. I know the marco polo works differently than the other locators as it doesn't use cell service. Has anyone used both the trackimo and drone mods uav locator? can you offer any advice as to which one is better? im just trying to figure out if they are basically the same things just different in size. Thanks
2015-2-11
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dmytchak
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artieelia.email Posted at 2015-2-12 00:15
This is a great idea! I have been looking at these the last few weeks and really trying to make a de ...

I don't know if anyone is using both of them at the same time.   This one is very light and is not in the way at all (velcro - pull it off the back when putting it in the carrying case).   I had my reservations with this one with it transmitting.   Who knows, I may find that it interferes with it.   I was in both ATTI and GPS mode during the flight (mostly ATTI).   
2015-2-11
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Clem2099
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Looks good. Installation would be a good YouTube video.  What is the range on it that you can track it?  We saw one lost and then found drove, fly 15 miles away before landing.
2015-2-11
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dmytchak
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Clem2099 Posted at 2015-2-12 00:27
Looks good. Installation would be a good YouTube video.  What is the range on it that you can track  ...

I may do that time permitting.  The data feed uses the cellular infrastructure.   As long as there's cell service, I can reach the beacon.   Also - it does two types of location:
A - GPS
B - Cellular triangulation - in the event it cannot lock onto the satellites (not that accurate)
2015-2-11
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lethbrp
Second Officer
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dmytchak Posted at 2015-2-11 11:13
I used a tether on the GPS tracker.  If you look in the upper left hand corner, there's a kevlar l ...

Can you tell me how you connected your tether to the Inspire. Its not quite clear on the image.

Thanks

2015-2-11
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The Fly Guy
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Honestly in my opinion there is nothing as good as the rf-v16 tracker,
not only because it's a super light and small device (27g), it does everything that every other major tracker will do, it has the newest version 5 gps chip + cell, and the best part of it is that it has a loud speaker so in a case that you actually try to find your drone out there at the gps location the tracker gave you, you can make it play a musical ring so it will be easier to find it!

It's 50$ or even less in ebay.

For anyone who still looking for a gps+cell tracker i would recommend to check this thing out.
2015-2-11
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dmytchak
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lethbrp Posted at 2015-2-12 01:51
Can you tell me how you connected your tether to the Inspire. Its not quite clear on the image.

T ...

Sure - I simply unscrewed the top left screw and tied a loop in the kevlar.  Tightened the screw and looped the Kevlar through lanyard mount on the trackimo.  
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dmytchak
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The Fly Guy Posted at 2015-2-12 02:05
Honestly in my opinion there is nothing as good as the rf-v16 tracker,
not only because it's a supe ...

That looks like a good option also.   

I'm not saying one is better than the other.  I liked the support from the Trackimo.   I think any beacon (cell/gps/pet finder) is better than not having one at all.

Thanks for the info!
2015-2-11
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robyn707.gmail
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Flying the coast in west Sonoma County CA, there is little or no cell service from ANY carrier.  So a non-cell phone tracker is paramount for us...recommendations please
2015-2-11
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GB44
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Does the Trackimo have a monthly fee.  

What happens after the first 12 months, is there a charge after this period ?  I read on one review it was free for first 12 months only ??

2015-2-11
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metalios
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I also attach the trackimo via Velcro, but really the idea of the tether..  Did not occur to me. Thanks for the post.
2015-2-11
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dmytchak
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GB44 Posted at 2015-2-12 04:44
Does the Trackimo have a monthly fee.  

What happens after the first 12 months, is there a charge a ...

Great question - $60.00 USD a year after the first year.
2015-2-11
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dmytchak
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metalios Posted at 2015-2-12 05:04
I also attach the trackimo via Velcro, but really the idea of the tether..  Did not occur to me. Tha ...

You are welcome.  I just came in from a flight at the office (man this thing draws a crowd).  Short flight 8 minutes in ATTI with little spots of GPS hold for group photos.   The Trackimo is configured to send an update once a minute.  I only received 4 messages from it.   Two on the ground, two in air.  So I'm not sure what's up with that.   

Wanted to let you guys know that it did miss some data points.   But in a recovery effort, I only need one!

2015-2-11
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tcrabtree
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robyn707.gmail Posted at 2015-2-12 03:14
Flying the coast in west Sonoma County CA, there is little or no cell service from ANY carrier.  So  ...

I'm the president of Eureka Technology, we make the Marco Polo Tracking and Recovery System so I can't claim a totally unbiased answer to your question. But here goes..

As you know, GPS is principally a self location system - a GPS receiver allows you to know where YOU are. To use GPS as an object location system there must be a back channel to get the GPS coordinates of the object back to the searcher. Typically this is done through a cellular SMS path as that leverages the cellular network and the investment you have already made in your GPS enabled smart phone. This is great providing that there is strong cell coverage in the area you fly, or more importantly, in every spot that you might unintentionally land. Keep in mind that when you are using your cell phone you are holding it 6 feet of the ground and, when necessary, orienting yourself to get the best signal. Crashed aircraft don't do that! If you land upside down in a ditch then the cellular transceiver better work where it is, as it is, or it isn't going to do you much good.

A cellular back channel isn't the only method that is used for GPS-based object location. In the pet tracking world there are products such as the Garmin Astro, Sport Dog Tek and Roameo that use an RF back channel to a GPS equipped receiver. These products are quite heavy (6-8 oz.) and have a battery life that is typically shorter than one day so they are not of much use for drone tracking.

That brings us to self-contained radio direction finders. The familiar wildlife tracker uses a RF beacon transmitter and a directional antenna connected to a very narrow-band  RF receiver. These systems can have excellent range but suffer when you are up close to the object because the receiver becomes overloaded with signal and the signal can bypass the directional antenna. This makes getting exactly to the location of the object very difficult. Also, although the transmitter is very simple and generally just transmits a short burst of RF once a second, the tight frequency tolerance requirement of the transmitter and receiver drive up the costs and these systems, when complete with Rx, Tx and antenna   typically run $600-$800.

The two economical alternatives to traditional radio direction finders are Loc8tor and Marco Polo. Loc8tor uses 2.4 GHz, essentially a Wi-Fi transmitter and receiver. The handheld search unit has an internal, directional "patch" antenna that allows you to sweep the receiver around and find the direction producing the strongest signal. The strengths of the Loc8tor system include small size and low cost, the major weakness is limited range. In ideal conditions the range is about 600 feet and any obstructions such as a rock, tree or dense foliage reduce that substantially.  100-200 feet of actual usable range is not unusual.

Marco Polo is different,  Marco Polo uses pseudo-Doppler automatic direction finding which has two advantages. First, you don't sweep an antenna and interpret the signals, the system does that for you and displays the bearing on an LCD display in the handheld locator.  Secondly, since Doppler is a phase-based system rather than amplitude-based, it works to within 1-inch of the object. Imagine searching for a drone in, say, a cornfield where you practically have to step on it to find it. With Marco Polo you WILL step on it if you don't watch where you are going.

Marco Polo uses microprocessor-controlled transceivers to be placed in the object to be tracked. The 12-gram transceiver only transmits when accessed by the locator so when flying there is no RF being transmitted at all, you are in total control of that from the ground so there is no possibility of interference with any of your other radio equipment. When activated the transceiver broadcasts a full 250mW of power vs only 10mW for most other direction finder systems.  This combined with the sensitive (-125dBm) narrow-band FM receiver in the locator gives a line-of-sight range of up to 2 miles. And because the transceiver is not continually transmitting when not being tracked the rechargeable LiPo battery lasts for 10 days in standby.

You can read more about the Marco Polo system and see all the specifications at FindMyLostDrone.com.
2015-2-11
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GB44
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tcrabtree Posted at 2015-2-12 13:58
I'm the president of Eureka Technology, we make the Marco Polo Tracking and Recovery System so I c ...

Thanks for the detailed breakdown of the Marco Polo device, is there any delaers in the UK ?
2015-2-12
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theparrotsketch
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tcrabtree Posted at 2015-2-12 13:58
I'm the president of Eureka Technology, we make the Marco Polo Tracking and Recovery System so I c ...

Very interesting read, and a product I could be well tempted with!

Asking nicely on behalf of all of us here, is there perhaps a coupon code Inspire users could use??-))
2015-2-12
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lethbrp
Second Officer
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Problem with the Marco Polo device as I see it is its range. 1 - 2 miles. I could be wrong so please correct me if I'm wrong. If you look at the we documented thread of the Inspire that flew away, his went 15 miles!. You'd need a GPS tracker for that.
2015-2-12
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robyn707.gmail
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tcrabtree Posted at 2015-2-12 13:58
I'm the president of Eureka Technology, we make the Marco Polo Tracking and Recovery System so I c ...

I am somewhat familiar with the product.  My flying buddy has one on order.  Thank you for your detailed response.  I appreciate it very much
2015-2-12
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tcrabtree
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theparrotsketch Posted at 2015-2-12 20:21
Very interesting read, and a product I could be well tempted with!

Asking nicely on behalf of al ...

I'm sorry but we are already having a 10% discount sale and offering free shipping in the US. This is the lowest price we have ever offered and we can't afford to discount further from here.
2015-2-12
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Fred D
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My plan, when I finally get my Inspire 1, is to use a  "Real-Time Mini Spy GSM GPRS GPS Tracker" for long range tracking and a "Marco Polo"
for close range locating. The  "Real-Time Mini Spy GSM GPRS GPS Tracker" will only cost me $10.00 per month on my existing cell phone plan. The "Real-Time Mini Spy GSM GPRS GPS Tracker" is dormant until I phone it so it should not interfere with the Inspire 1.
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tcrabtree
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lethbrp Posted at 2015-2-12 20:53
Problem with the Marco Polo device as I see it is its range. 1 - 2 miles. I could be wrong so please ...

Honestly, I could see a case for having both a GPS/Cellular and a Radio Direction Finder. If your drone flies away 15 miles and lands in a spot where either GPS or Cellular are blocked then you are probably never going to find it. I'd say you might as well go home and hope that someone finds it and calls you. If that same fly away happen and you have Marco Polo on it then you have a chance as you have for up to 10 days (the battery life of the transceiver) to get within range and establish communications.

Check out this video, it is a great example of how hard it can be to find a lost quad even if you have a good idea of where it is http://vimeo.com/user11788030/review/118051384/22d28dae08
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lethbrp
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Fred D Posted at 2015-2-12 23:49
My plan, when I finally get my Inspire 1, is to use a  "Real-Time Mini Spy GSM GPRS GPS Tracker" for ...

I'm going to tie a very long piece of string to my Inspire. Its never going to get away!

Tethering is the new R/C!
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theparrotsketch
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tcrabtree Posted at 2015-2-12 23:43
I'm sorry but we are already having a 10% discount sale and offering free shipping in the US. This ...

Hee hee! I had to ask! Thanks for the reply though, it's still a product I'll be saving up for!-)
2015-2-12
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johnnyheavens
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robyn707.gmail Posted at 2015-2-12 03:14
Flying the coast in west Sonoma County CA, there is little or no cell service from ANY carrier.  So  ...

I was looking for something like this and would pair it with something like tile (thetileapp co) Relatively Very short range but great for finding something in the bushes etc. It's also very small and light.
2015-2-12
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metalios
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I purchased the Marco Polo after purchasing the Trackimo. Works great and have fortunately never had to use it. Used it with my kids in hide and seek situations, and always came through.  Would prefer if they got rid of the ridiculous dog icon. Give us a copter - please.

As an owner of both, i think they serve different purposes. The trackimo is great when set to 1 min transmission and has proven very accurate in cell areas. Not sure what would happen in remote non cell service areas and suspect it would fail if GPS were not available with a clear view of the sky. It's small, east to attach, and fairly accurate. Will save you when the Inspire GPS fails. There is no range limit, IOS app is awesome, and it apparently works in Europe (although I have not flown there).


The Marco Polo technology is very different and has a transmitter which you install on the Inspire  with apparent 2 mile range. You need to carry a light weight and compact tracking unit with you. You can read the manufacturer's post above as to how it works. Very effective if you're within range, but little help in the event of a total fly away. You'd have to travel in the direction of the fly away and continually check for a reading once you get within range.

I've lost a P2V in a residential neighborhood when it landed, amazingly undamaged, in a back yard. The GPS location on the IOS app was not accurate. The homeowner called me (had my name on number on a sticker). The Trackimo would have worked and led me to the exact backyard. The Marco Polo would have also worked because the IOS app actually brought me within 100 yards of the P2V.

The big difference, again, is when you have a fly away, lose the 2 mile Marco Polo range, and have no idea where the Inspire landed. Trackimo will save you.

What's ironic is that I'm scared to place my name and number on the Inspire. I'd hate to think what would happen if it crashed into someone's property, or worse ........ crash into a person. It's ridiculous and inappropriately selfish, but I'd be torn whether to own up to what I've done (with DJI's mal assistance of course) or run and hide.

Finally, I use the Tile and IOS tile app for keys etc. Would be worthless for our use with the Inspire.
2015-2-12
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dmytchak
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metalios Posted at 2015-2-13 06:03
I purchased the Marco Polo after purchasing the Trackimo. Works great and have fortunately never had ...

Thanks for the write up.

As far as putting your contact information on your craft, I suggest you do.  We need to be responsible for our actions.  Even if you have a major failure and the craft causes an injury, we need to be responsible for the damage.  If you look closely at my photo (1st post), you'll see my contact info tag on the top of I1.

Just my thoughts.

David
2015-2-12
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