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Protomite
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Would someone please explain a few things to me about GPS Trackers? There so many different kind and so many different frequencies, so many etc… I use a Samsung Galaxy S6. It is connected to no provider and works quite well with my Mavic Pro drone radio controller. When close to my home, I can WiFi connect to the web to get my Google maps, updates, etc… My drones keep getting more and more expensive and thou it’s never happen to me, I keep reading of a lot of fly-off’s. I live out in the sticks and a fly-off here would not have a good outcome. So all of that being said…now I’m looking at GPS Tracker Positioning systems to protect my investment. Starting out thinking cheap, there are the Bluetooth GPS trackers. Which means I could be walking around in the woods and through fields for days until I get to like 50 to maybe 100 foot from my drone before I get a signal/beep letting me know that I’m close. Great battery life though and I don’t have to pay a cell phone provider to use it with my Galaxy S6. Moving on, thou I’ve not found one, I’m guessing that there is a WiFi frequency model that would give it a little more range and other than that, not much different than the Bluetooth models? Now keep in mind that I do not want to connect with a cell phone provider to use my S6 and or the GPS Tracker. But I do have a limited on spot connection thru my home WiFi system. The next type of GPS Tracker would be the pay monthly service kind. And I’m guessing that I could use it on my home laptop & my S6 using the WiFi connection. The outcome I’d like is: my S6 pointing me every step of the way along the trip to retrieving my drone. Is that possible without a cell service provider? Or will I have to be happy with getting close with GPS coordinance’s from my home system then go with the coin type Bluetooth finder once I‘m at that spot? What do I have right & wrong…Your thoughts please.
2017-3-8
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fans06b77ccc
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Best bets are the Trackimo or Marco Polo. Both work well, but pros and cons to each.
2017-3-8
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Protomite
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fans06b77ccc Posted at 2017-3-8 19:48
Best bets are the Trackimo or Marco Polo. Both work well, but pros and cons to each.

Thanks, Your just a load of information. What's your experience with them (Trackimo/MarcoPolo)?
2017-3-8
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fans06b77ccc
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-8 20:33
Thanks, Your just a load of information. What's your experience with them (Trackimo/MarcoPolo)?

I have the Trackimo. Works great but there is a $50 annual subscription after the first year. I believe I paid about $100 from Amazon. I believe the Marco Polo is about $200, but no fees. Trackimo can be used to track anything anywhere,. Marco Polo is good for about 2 miles (from what I understand)  and is designed specifically for  tracking RC AC. Trackimo is a bit heavier than the MP. Like I said, either are great.

Hope this helps!
2017-3-8
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Protomite
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fans06b77ccc Posted at 2017-3-8 21:19
I have the Trackimo. Works great but there is a $50 annual subscription after the first year. I believe I paid about $100 from Amazon. I believe the Marco Polo is about $200, but no fees. Trackimo can be used to track anything anywhere,. Marco Polo is good for about 2 miles (from what I understand)  and is designed specifically for  tracking RC AC. Trackimo is a bit heavier than the MP. Like I said, either are great.

Hope this helps!

Ok, you said enough to get me interested and though I'm already cross eyed from reading, I decided to do some more. That Marco Polo is looking really good. If I can't get close enough for a signal with it then I should hire a search party. With your experience on the MP, what is the range you found?
2017-3-9
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randy.sauder
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-9 07:21
Ok, you said enough to get me interested and though I'm already cross eyed from reading, I decided to do some more. That Marco Polo is looking really good. If I can't get close enough for a signal with it then I should hire a search party. With your experience on the MP, what is the range you found?

I don't get it, you said you didn't want to have to use cell sim as your solution...both these products require a SIM card and data plan...
2017-3-9
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Protomite
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randy.sauder Posted at 2017-3-9 08:14
I don't get it, you said you didn't want to have to use cell sim as your solution...both these products require a SIM card and data plan...

That's odd...the Marco Polo has it's own receiver, wonder why it would need a cell phone? Some body needs to do some reading.
2017-3-9
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Danny-B-
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http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271405 ... =STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Cheap and uses a sim card ... RF-V16, theres some youtube videos of how it works
2017-3-9
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Protomite
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randy.sauder Posted at 2017-3-9 08:14
I don't get it, you said you didn't want to have to use cell sim as your solution...both these products require a SIM card and data plan...

And the trackimo has it's own sim that comes with it. I guess that's why they were suggested. Not sure where your getting your information but I believe it to be quite wrong.
2017-3-9
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AESTHETIC VIEWS
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Trackimo is pretty good
2017-3-9
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Protomite
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Danny-B- Posted at 2017-3-9 14:41
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271405996979?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Cheap and uses a sim card ... RF-V16, theres some youtube videos of how it works

And that's why the Marco Polo is looking good. No cell phone needed, no sim needed, no monthly fee, no nothing but buying the equipment and you have a 2 mile range. Damn near perfect.
2017-3-9
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Protomite
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Unless I see something better or I learn a down side, I'll be getting the Marco Polo. The range is perfect. I can get to within 2 miles with my eyes closed. I need to start saving.
2017-3-9
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Protomite
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fans06b77ccc Posted at 2017-3-8 21:19
I have the Trackimo. Works great but there is a $50 annual subscription after the first year. I believe I paid about $100 from Amazon. I believe the Marco Polo is about $200, but no fees. Trackimo can be used to track anything anywhere,. Marco Polo is good for about 2 miles (from what I understand)  and is designed specifically for  tracking RC AC. Trackimo is a bit heavier than the MP. Like I said, either are great.

Hope this helps!

I thought that I had looked at all the tracking stuff but I had not seen anything about the Marco Polo. So in saying that I'd like to thank fans06b77ccc for bringing it to my attention. If anyone has had experience with the Marco Polo system...please tell me your opinion. It's about $220.00 and I'd like to know more before buying.
2017-3-9
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-9 14:54
And that's why the Marco Polo is looking good. No cell phone needed, no sim needed, no monthly fee, no nothing but buying the equipment and you have a 2 mile range. Damn near perfect.

Marco polo is pretty expensive compared with the sim options. Sim cards and pay as you go style will be cheap as chips. but its your money.

DJI should really invest in something include it as a function, some kinda homing beacon, even if you had to use a sim, i'd be sold !
2017-3-9
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Protomite
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Danny-B- Posted at 2017-3-9 16:43
Marco polo is pretty expensive compared with the sim options. Sim cards and pay as you go style will be cheap as chips. but its your money.

DJI should really invest in something include it as a function, some kinda homing beacon, even if you had to use a sim, i'd be sold !

Keep talking, I'm listening. Learn me something.LOL
2017-3-9
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Mavicator
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RE: GPS Trackers

Marco Polo uses RF radio direction finding.  As such, you need to carry a fairly large hand-held tracking device which pings the little receiver on your drone.  The tracking device, which looks like an 80s nintendo game controller (and kind of defeats the purpose of your small portable Mavic),  gives you a bearing to the drone and a signal strength to tell you how close you are to it.  So, you walk around in the area where you think your drone went down and follow the pointing of the tracker until you come upon your drone.  RF tracking requires a clear line of sight to the drone, so in the cities, mountains or forests, your range will be severely limited.

There is another RF based device called the Loc8tor Lite, which works the same way as the Marco Polo, and is cheaper, has a smaller tracking device and a range of only 400 feet.   
Really, the better option is a cellular-based gps tracker, which gives you lat/long coordinates of your lost drone.  Unlimited range wherever there is cell coverage.  With coordinates, you can use the tracking abilities of your phone to take you to your drone.  As you mentioned, the Trackimo requires a monthly cellular data plan subscription, as do many of these types of trackers.  Some of these trackers include the first year data plan fee in the initial cost, and then after that first year, you pay monthly.  For these, the initial cost is higher since you're just paying the data fee up front.  There are some less expensive gps trackers that are like unlocked cell phones and allow you to provide your own sim card, but be careful that you get the 2G/3G cell plan that the device can support.  Still, you are paying a monthly fee, but you can get a fairly inexpensive pay-as-you-go plan.

There may be other options if you want to do it yourself, but these are the best for most people.
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Protomite
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Mavicator Posted at 2017-3-9 19:20
Marco Polo uses RF radio direction finding.  As such, you need to carry a fairly large hand-held tracking device which pings the little receiver on your drone.  The tracking device, which looks like an 80s nintendo game controller (and kind of defeats the purpose of your small portable Mavic),  gives you a bearing to the drone and a signal strength to tell you how close you are to it.  So, you walk around in the area where you think your drone went down and follow the pointing of the tracker until you come upon your drone.  RF tracking requires a clear line of sight to the drone, so in the cities, mountains or forests, your range will be severely limited.

There is another RF based device called the Loc8tor Lite, which works the same way as the Marco Polo, and is cheaper, has a smaller tracking device and a range of only 400 feet.   

Ok that's what I wanted. So let me ask: If I wanted to use my S6 for all, then I'd have to get a cell provider and pay a Sprint bill plus then I'd also have to pay the $40 or $60 a year for the  Trackimo connection too?
2017-3-9
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-9 20:04
Ok that's what I wanted. So let me ask: If I wanted to use my S6 for all, then I'd have to get a cell provider and pay a Sprint bill plus then I'd also have to pay the $40 or $60 a year for the  Trackimo connection too?

That's correct - if you get the Trackimo.  There are other gsm unlocked gps trackers where you provide your own sim card and data plan.  These are generally cheaper than Trackimo.  You can get a pay-as-go data plan from H2OWireless that costs $10 for 3 months, but there may be cheaper ones.
2017-3-10
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I would think you wouldn't need to pay for your S6 cell service to do what  you are talking about with the Trackimo possibly.  You mentioned if you had an issue you would just go home or to a Wi-Fi connection at that point?  If that is the case you should be able to get the Trackimo (via its cell connection) position information to your S6 or a desktop computer.
You now have the lat/lon of your Mavic within about 6 feet.  You can take those coordinates and punch them into a hand held GPS receiver or a portable car navigation system and find it easily.
Alternatively you may be able to use the GPS on your S6 along with a map and find it that way.  However I don't know if the S6 will work with GPS and a map or other program if it doesn't have a cell connection while you are in the woods.  Someone else will need to speak to that.  If it does then you are good to go without activating the S6 cell.
I like your thinking I am all about saving some coin also.
2017-3-10
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randy.sauder
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-9 14:46
And the trackimo has it's own sim that comes with it. I guess that's why they were suggested. Not sure where your getting your information but I believe it to be quite wrong.

I stand corrected - the Marco Polo does not require a SIM card; only the Trackimo does.  In my opinion the M-P is way too expensive.  The M-P would not be a good solution for drone search in the city...I'd say only in a wooded/country area.  I've used radio trackers lots and you have to do a bit of 'hunting around' to narrow down your search.  With practice you can generally go straight to the spot but in the city, this may mean needing access to people's back yards to rule out that the drone crashed there and you aren't likely to just open fence gates and go looking by yourself.  With GPS, you'll know exactly where it is without any trial and error.

This is my solution: get a cheap GPS enabled smart watch; the 'kids' ones generally are the cheapest.  Less than $50.  Then get a free SIM with global roaming that comes with free credit that you can top up.  I have the sim card and found that data would be 10 cents per flight or less!  By this method the device can be velcro'd to the Mavic; battery duration not an issue.  IF your Mavic crashes you can actually CALL it and see if someone answers the phone; your can remotely listen in on it's mic if you want.  If someone takes the Mavic indoors, you'll have that GPS location way before they figure out that it is GPS protected.  Lots of applications!  Key is finding a watch that doesn't have a monthly service fee- there are many out there; some require 2G data access; but I'm really picky in my search.  FYI I've been using this type of SIM in my phone for about 2 months now and I've only used $2 in data...using it solely as a GPS tracker might allow a full year of Mavic flying for only that much.  Seriously.
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Danny-B- Posted at 2017-3-9 16:43
Marco polo is pretty expensive compared with the sim options. Sim cards and pay as you go style will be cheap as chips. but its your money.

DJI should really invest in something include it as a function, some kinda homing beacon, even if you had to use a sim, i'd be sold !

Agreed Danny - Marco Polo is a stupid (re Expensive) option for such a simple application as using a pay as you go SIM.  See my post for using such a SIM in a cheap <$50 smart watch.  This is the reason I initially errored in thinking the M-P was SIM-based.  Maybe a few years ago this would have been the best option; not in the last year...also sticking a smart watch to the Mavic is negligible weight/zero affect on flight times too!  If you lose your Mavic in the city, find it on GPS and it starts 'moving' e.g. someone's walking away with it...you call the drone/phone if you want and start up a conversation...or just track it to the person's house and knock on the door...
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Mavicator Posted at 2017-3-9 19:20
Marco Polo uses RF radio direction finding.  As such, you need to carry a fairly large hand-held tracking device which pings the little receiver on your drone.  The tracking device, which looks like an 80s nintendo game controller (and kind of defeats the purpose of your small portable Mavic),  gives you a bearing to the drone and a signal strength to tell you how close you are to it.  So, you walk around in the area where you think your drone went down and follow the pointing of the tracker until you come upon your drone.  RF tracking requires a clear line of sight to the drone, so in the cities, mountains or forests, your range will be severely limited.

There is another RF based device called the Loc8tor Lite, which works the same way as the Marco Polo, and is cheaper, has a smaller tracking device and a range of only 400 feet.   

no monthly fees required on global roaming SIMs..this is what you want!  And virtually no $ to operate...check out my posts.
2017-3-10
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I've been using a Trackimo for a few years and love it.
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-9 15:40
I thought that I had looked at all the tracking stuff but I had not seen anything about the Marco Polo. So in saying that I'd like to thank fans06b77ccc for bringing it to my attention. If anyone has had experience with the Marco Polo system...please tell me your opinion. It's about $220.00 and I'd like to know more before buying.

I currently use the Marco Polo system and it works well but I can not speak to its range as I've yet to actually lose my aircraft or try to test the range on the transmitter by flying the aircraft far away.
I planned on using my drone on remote hikes and packing trips so I didnt want to rely on cell service in the case of an incident.
2017-3-10
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Mavicator
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Here is my solution.  Get a Posh Micro X S240 - http://www.poshmobile.com/catalogue/micro-x-s240/.  This is advertised as the world's smallest smartphone, and I believe it.   You can get them on ebay for us$50.  It is almost as small as most of the gps trackers - 89mm x 47mm x 11.6 and 52g - except it is a full-featured Android smartphone, so it has gps, wifi, bluetooth, sms, email, camera, mp3, etc.  It runs KitKat.  You can load any app you want on it.  And let me tell you - it is ridiculously small for what it can do.  And it fits well on the mavic.

Then for a sim card and data plan, I have FreedomPop - https://www.freedompop.com/.  You can buy a sim card for .99 and the basic plan is free, no monthly fees.  You get 500 texts, 200 mins and 500 Mb free every month for life.  When you sign up, they give you one of the plans that do have fees, but you can immediately downgrade to the basic free plan.  I have several old phones set up with Freedompop.  I have one in each of my cars and use them as trackers in case of theft, or to know where the wife is going.

For the Mavic, if you want a gps tracker, you might as well get a real phone for the same cost.   
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Mavicator
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For a tracking app on my PC or phone, I use Real Time GPS Tracker - https://www.greenalp.com/RealTimeTracker/index.php?page=home.  You just set up a user account for each of your phones.  I can immediately see where everybody is on a map.  It allows you to send commands to the phone to start the tracking service and gps, update position, and you can even tell the phone to make noise.  
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Mavicator Posted at 2017-3-10 10:55
For a tracking app on my PC or phone, I use Real Time GPS Tracker - https://www.greenalp.com/RealTimeTracker/index.php?page=home.  You just set up a user account for each of your phones.  I can immediately see where everybody is on a map.  It allows you to send commands to the phone to start the tracking service and gps, update position, and you can even tell the phone to make noise.

For a groups of folks that just spent $1000 you guys sure are cheap! I love it! With that I'm willing to spend $50 a year to have a reliable, durable, one stop solution for finding my Mavic if lost, although I have to admire the creative solutions some come up with to save a bit of change. Given the cost of the Marco Polo, the $$$ break even time is a about 3 years. Thereafter the MP is free.  I suspect the annual fee will get cheaper. There's a similar device to the Trackimo to be released soon with an annual fee I believe only $35.
2017-3-10
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Both have their drawbacks for me. I like the Tracimo but most of the areas I fly have no cell reception so it's useless. The Marco Polo is good but the darn receiver is so large/heavy that I hate to carry it but at least it would work anywhere.  Of course, the Mavic by itself (if it's alive and in radio range) will tell you exactly where it is via the map and GPS coordinates.
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Impossible J
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Another way around having no cell service on your "mavic" phone but still getting map data to it... If your ACTUAL cell phone has pairing or hotspot capabilities, just share it via wifi or Bluetooth to your mavic phone and you'll have data going to it to grab local maps, etc.
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Mavicator
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Impossible J Posted at 2017-3-10 13:07
Another way around having no cell service on your "mavic" phone but still getting map data to it... If your ACTUAL cell phone has pairing or hotspot capabilities, just share it via wifi or Bluetooth to your mavic phone and you'll have data going to it to grab local maps, etc.

Yes, I should be able to track my Mavic phone by cellular, wifi, and bluethooth.  Then when I'm close, I can just call it and listen for the ring.   Plus, when I'm not flying, I can keep it in the car to track that.  Or use it as a phone, mp3 player, etc.  Really for $50, what do you have to lose.   
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Mavicator Posted at 2017-3-10 13:29
Yes, I should be able to track my Mavic phone by cellular, wifi, and bluethooth.  Then when I'm close, I can just call it and listen for the ring.   Plus, when I'm not flying, I can keep it in the car to track that.  Or use it as a phone, mp3 player, etc.  Really for $50, what do you have to lose.

Have you done a fake "lost my mavic" test run with it in a park or anything? My main concern would be the strength/quality of the cell antennae and transmitter on something that small and low-cost. I'd be afraid it'd show no bars as soon as I left heavy urban areas, and essentially be invisible until you were in wifi or Bluetooth range (100 ft. or so?). If it gets good signal, you're right... For the same price as a GPS tracker, you'd have every possible tracking possibility Android has to offer, I guess you could probably even run multiple tracking apps on it for some redundancy. Bookmarked this thread, good tip!
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I will do some more testing when the weather warms up, but I can tell now that this little Posh phone has an excellent cell signal.  I have thrown it in my wife's car and was able to track her during a 15 mile trip through built up areas and country.  It was spot on the whole way.  The good thing about gps trackers, as opposed to the Marco Polo, is that you only need one good ping to get lat/long in order to locate it.   I am so impressed by this Posh phone that I ordered another one just to have a spare.  
2017-3-11
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randy.sauder
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Mavicator Posted at 2017-3-10 10:47
Here is my solution.  Get a Posh Micro X S240 - http://www.poshmobile.com/catalogue/micro-x-s240/.  This is advertised as the world's smallest smartphone, and I believe it.   You can get them on ebay for us$50.  It is almost as small as most of the gps trackers - 89mm x 47mm x 11.6 and 52g - except it is a full-featured Android smartphone, so it has gps, wifi, bluetooth, sms, email, camera, mp3, etc.  It runs KitKat.  You can load any app you want on it.  And let me tell you - it is ridiculously small for what it can do.  And it fits well on the mavic.

Then for a sim card and data plan, I have FreedomPop - https://www.freedompop.com/.  You can buy a sim card for .99 and the basic plan is free, no monthly fees.  You get 500 texts, 200 mins and 500 Mb free every month for life.  When you sign up, they give you one of the plans that do have fees, but you can immediately downgrade to the basic free plan.  I have several old phones set up with Freedompop.  I have one in each of my cars and use them as trackers in case of theft, or to know where the wife is going.

Exactly!  I've been researching this for a while and came to the same conclusion today...JUST USE A PHONE AS the tracker .  My reasoning was precisely the same but with a few extra considerations: 1). Virtually all GPS trackers require 2G and 2G networks maybe have a year left to them (at least in Canada the ONLY network will be expiring 2G in 2018 or earlier).  All 3G-4G trackers I found are too expensive; too bad the 2G technology is disappearing b/c there are lots of applications for it like this.   2). Using something like the Marco Polo is not a good solution when GPS is around now.  I use avalanche safety trackers/beacons that are MUCH more precise and $ than the M-P system and I can say they would not be good for drone searching; they are great for fast locating of object/people that are relatively close by...you need 360 degree access to a UAV to effectively locate it - very difficult in a city environment.

I have many phones just sitting around unused so it got me thinking..why not just use one (0$) .  BUT they are not 'light'.  So I"m on a quest now to find the cheapest/lightest phone...

My other idea was to buy a cheap $30-$40 GPS smart watch with GPS...this would work perfectly too but it's still 2G tech and won't last long.  Also most of these their GPS location isn't truly realtime..you have to send a sms to it and get the GPS link to it; OK but not the same as a phone.  Plus the functionality of these can be sketchy from reviews (not always work); a phone always works.

If not a phone, then the Tracker from TKSTAR looks like the best/cheapest option.  I own one of the companies bluetooth GPS Trackers many years ago and it was virtually weightless, battery lasted forever and rock-solid GPS chip....almost NO signal losses and I used it all over the world.

I still can't figure out how DJI can't have the GPS unit in the Mavic actually work!! If it did, even in a fly-away the GPS signal should re-establish in seconds and with this next-gen 'Ocusync' shouldn't even need to be looking for a tracker to find our $1000 + drones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Mavic 2 must include a SIM slot!!  If DJI did this we could have unlimited range via 3G/4G during 'flyaways'; cheaper drones on the market last year had this feature!
2017-3-12
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randy.sauder
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Impossible J Posted at 2017-3-10 18:49
Have you done a fake "lost my mavic" test run with it in a park or anything? My main concern would be the strength/quality of the cell antennae and transmitter on something that small and low-cost. I'd be afraid it'd show no bars as soon as I left heavy urban areas, and essentially be invisible until you were in wifi or Bluetooth range (100 ft. or so?). If it gets good signal, you're right... For the same price as a GPS tracker, you'd have every possible tracking possibility Android has to offer, I guess you could probably even run multiple tracking apps on it for some redundancy. Bookmarked this thread, good tip!

That would work maybe for 100'...if one loses it THAT close to you...then the finder deserves to keep it I say.

Here would be the best thing DJI could do: remotely disable any Mavic that has been reported lost.  Then this would be a deterrent to anyone wishing to capture/sell except for spare parts...
2017-3-12
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randy.sauder
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Tip: The post by the administrator or moderators shield
2017-3-12
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I bought a Marco Polo unit.  Got good reviews haven't had to use it yet. Put it on the mavic with the tracimo mount. Seems to fly with no problem no fees or anything. Doesn't intrafear with gps. Doesn't transmit until activated. I think has about two mile range
2017-3-12
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fanscc761838
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Protomite Posted at 2017-3-9 14:37
That's odd...the Marco Polo has it's own receiver, wonder why it would need a cell phone? Some body needs to do some reading.

No cell or plan for Marco polo
2017-3-12
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fanscc761838
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randy.sauder Posted at 2017-3-9 08:14
I don't get it, you said you didn't want to have to use cell sim as your solution...both these products require a SIM card and data plan...

No plan or fees with Marco polo
2017-3-12
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fanscc761838
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Mavicator Posted at 2017-3-9 19:20
Marco Polo uses RF radio direction finding.  As such, you need to carry a fairly large hand-held tracking device which pings the little receiver on your drone.  The tracking device, which looks like an 80s nintendo game controller (and kind of defeats the purpose of your small portable Mavic),  gives you a bearing to the drone and a signal strength to tell you how close you are to it.  So, you walk around in the area where you think your drone went down and follow the pointing of the tracker until you come upon your drone.  RF tracking requires a clear line of sight to the drone, so in the cities, mountains or forests, your range will be severely limited.

There is another RF based device called the Loc8tor Lite, which works the same way as the Marco Polo, and is cheaper, has a smaller tracking device and a range of only 400 feet.   

You don't have to carry anything around unless u crash!!
2017-3-12
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PeteMorris
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United States
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I am using the ATian TK103B GPS tracker. Here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KNR2Z9O.  It works great with US Mobile (www.usmobile.com) sim card. I just pay $4/month for their service.
2017-3-24
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