RealTime Mapping, Data streaming
The GPS data is streamed at a very high data rate while barely sipping power from the battery. The experience is very different from what might be expected, but is highly addicting (in a legal, ethical way).
Your purchase allows you to download the free Mapping App AeroVision and begin using it with your hardware. The App shows you more than just the track and statistics, but saves tracks to a Flight Log for Replay and/or Sharing right in the field.
Variable Duty Cycle
The RT-GPS incorporates three variable duty cycles, all user-selectable. You choose how long you want real-time (once per second) or near real-time (once per five seconds) streaming to the map. You decide the intervals and see the effect on remaining battery life. If your falcon hasn't been recovered after 4 hours on the wing, the RT GPS automatically slows its update rate down to every 30 seconds to maximize runtime (for a total of 73 hours). The RT-GPS is also sending out a concurrent beeping RF signal (tracked on your UHF Field Marshall receiver).
Longest range for any direct connect
GPS Range has been tested up to 30 miles under line of sight conditions (falcon in the air), with the integral beeping RF providing up to 60 miles LOS range.
Smallest GPS transmitter for falconry in the world
The RT-GPS is the smallest and lightest Falcon GPS in the world, at under 9 grams with battery, it is incredibly small, and can be used on falcons down to 400g.
Works as a car-based system or a remote walking away setup
The PocketLink Data receiver is small enough to fit easily into your hawking bag, or a pocket in your coat or vest. It can be left in your hawking vehicle (attached to a roof mount UHF omni), or carried with you into the field.
Ability to Pre-load Maps of remote hunting areas
We’ve developed an amazing graphics tool to smoothly yet quickly display the map tiles and even store them for later use in the field. Using your home or other local WiFi connection, you can browse your favorite areas in advance and then save them to the Map Log by name.
How does it work?
The RT-GPS transmitter is the same size, shape and weight of an RT Turbo. But inside we found a way to incorporate a tiny GPS receiver to lock on to signals from the overhead constellation of GPS satellites in an open sky.
The RT-GPS learns where it is and then sends this data via radio frequency to a transceiver we call the PocketLink. It is the PocketLink that in turn forwards this situational data it is receiving on to the mapping software via BlueTooth at distances of up to fifty feet away. It can use a small whip antenna to go with you (in your pocket or hawking bag) or be left in the vehicle connected to your OMNI.
At the same time, the RT-GPS is sending a regular familiar beeping signal in the UHF band that can be received by the Field Marshall for regular direction-finding. It is this combination of signal redundancy we felt important for falconers to be sure that if the data connection is ever temporarily lost, they still can track a bird the traditional way. Ideally, a secondary transmitter, like the UHF Micro tailmount should also be used.
How much will it cost, and what do we get?
For our customers who have already made the jump to UHF, you simply add the following items to your current setup:
- RT-GPS transmitter
- PocketLink Data Receiver
- Marshall Radio’s mapping software application to run on your iOS device
For customers who do not yet have UHF gear, you’ll also need:
- Field Marshall UHF receiver
- UHF Omni for the vehicle
- UHF Micro tail-mount (recommended as the secondary backup transmitter)
These two lists constitute the ideal and complete, redundant system.
How long does the battery run in the RT-GPS?
Three (3) days. We have worked out an extremely innovative way to use the 1/3N battery instead of requiring something much larger. That was always the goal before announcing our GPS alternative. It had to be “right sized” in the time tested robust packaging required by our customers and usable as a tail or leg mount, not restricted to TrackPack mounting only.
The RT-GPS will run using a variable duty cycle combination of data transmissions and beeping. For optimal performance, we recommend the Duracell DL1/3N.
How long does the battery last in the PocketLink?
The rechargeable lithium battery in the PocketLink lasts for 30+ hours, and is charged via a micro USB port. Since the battery has built in intelligence, there is no "memory" and you can also leave it plugged in to the vehicle at all times to stay "topped-off" and ready to leave if needed.
Can I hook it up to a Omni cartop antenna?
Yes, the PocketLink uses an SMA connector for quick attachment to Marshall's UHF Omni antennas. An adapter may be purchased seperately if you have an older BNC connector on your existing omni.
Will it work on something other than iOS devices?
The initial software application is designed for iPad, iPad mini, and iPhone. But yes, plans are for an Android version sometime soon after.
Will it work with my 216 receiver?
There are no plans to design or produce a version to broadcast data in the legacy VHF bands with the longer antennas, since all momentum around the world is to UHF going forward. We chose this as the new standard.
Why can't I specifiy the frequency when I Order?
Because you actually wont' need to. Each transmitter is sent with a default frequency but incredibly, we've designed it so that now you can set the beeping frequency to any channel between 433.005-434.995 from within AeroVision! This means that if you suspect interference from friends or any other source, you can literally reset your transmitter to another frequency up or down and begin using that immediately. This is the reason there is no frequency numbered on your transmitter when it arrives.
What is the range?
Over 5-6 months of field testing, we have maintained data streaming connections for up to 20 miles line of sight, which is much harder to achieve than getting these distances for a simple beep.
More recently, we've intentionally gone out to farther distances, and watched an eagle on a soar over 30 miles (50 km) away, while sitting in our truck (see the evidence screen in the AeroVision Design Video).
For the beeping signal at any time, or when you are in “Plan B Mode,” you will see about the same performance as one of our RT+ transmitters.
What also quickly changed was our realization that for so many years as a company we have been narrowly focused on just a recovery device so the design concerns were always and ever more range, with ever more battery life in a smaller size. The RT-GPS transcends this limited thinking to become an entirely different product since you are continuously connected to the flight in real-time, so are now "seeing it" as it happens, so you never lose them.
How is this different from the other GPS devices for falconry already out there?
Four main ways, in combination:
1- The size is less than half. We’re still using the reliable proven 1/3N lithium 3v battery, and not a rechargeable. This means it can be used as a leg or tail mount where other designs are far too large.
2- The method is a direct connection, not dependent on nearby mobile towers, so it can be used anywhere without fear of “dead zones.” There is no SIM card to buy, therefore no waterproofing issues or further costs from text requests, etc. required to operate it. Simple. Reliable.
3- Instead of periodic updates, delayed or irregular response to text inquiries this is real-time data streaming. You see where you bird is now, not just where it was.
4- Our own innovative custom mapping application developed in-house makes it a joy to watch the flight, not a distraction. And you can also Replay or Share your flights (the same tracks and stats) with friends.
These key features have not been available until now.
How much testing has it had?
Early designs have been in testing for years, but this "right-size version" was first flown in early January 2015, and continuously on several falcons (and one superb eagle) ever since then. We’ve been able to fine tune what are essential functions and data in the mapping software, as well as experience real-world performance issues away from the lab.
Of the two epic tracks you see in the Announcement Video, the first was a remount flight on a duck by our passage Prairie falcon with two pitches over 3,000 feet, the second is the eagle soaring on thermals to over one mile high (5,400 feet).
Continual refinements were regularly done to the point we finally felt confident to let the world know it really exists and we are really going to do it this season. It’s that good now.
“Why does the Marshall Radio GPS not take advantage of the mobile network? Wouldn’t that give it unlimited range (theoretically)?”
Well, yes, in fact. And over the last few years there’ve been several mobile network-based transmitters developed and already out there and they’ve done a good job in many ways.
But we asked ourselves, “Why is it that nobody uses them?” Falconers in Europe and the Gulf who have used SMS-based designs and don’t like them tell us it’s a combination of things:
1- They are very large in size and weight, so they must use a backpack
2- You have to stop and send text requests and get intermittent updates, and some don't come for several minutes, if at all
3- Even in supposedly good areas, there are dead-zones in service where nothing can be sent or received
4- Ones they were using had awkward implementations of mapping, if any at all
5- Case designs are not up to the expected standard (not crushproof, waterproof, etc.)
So we thought: “How about we design and build something exciting that falconers would really want to use? We’ve been at this game 18 years now, and think we have a good idea as to what that might be!”
For GPS to be widely accepted by falconers, we knew it would have to be much much smaller, and ideally, the same size as a regular falconry transmitter so it could be tail or leg-mounted in a proven waterproof case design. It would need a full-featured but simple mapping application for mobile devices to which live tracks could be laid down from real-time data streaming (first iOS, then Android), another part of the experience not possible through texting or available to falconers up till now.
And after a lot of effort we worked this out; but what we didn’t anticipate was how our whole paradigm shifted. What we discovered through a season of constant field use was that this was no longer to be understood as just a recovery device, it’s actually an amazing extension of your vision when the bird is out of sight, in real-time as it is happening. And that’s what changed everything for us as users. It was addicting.
So when we said in the announcement video: "does not depend on mobile service," to us that was an important feature, not a limitation. Our customers hunt in areas around the world where mobile service is intermittent or non-existent and it cannot be counted on for the reliable live-steaming GPS experience. This new design works all the time, anywhere on earth, both in developed countries as well as the remote regions our customers go to hunt.
As the first wave of falconers are able to experience it for themselves this fall, just as we did last season, we’ll see if they also get addicted like we did, indicating we were right in choosing this strategy.
(this is not to say that a mobile-based design for a 2-4 month hacking transmitter will never be done someday, as that could really be cool)
What are the regulations in the US and Canada for using the UHF bands?
The use of the 434 (or UHF) band in the USA & Canada requires the user to apply for a Ham Radio License (easily attainable by paying a small fee and passing a written test). Once done, the user is now a legal ‘station’ and is able to use the quiet UHF band and at much higher power levels. To legally use telemetry on this band, your transmitter must broadcast your station ID (Ham Radio Call Sign) once every ten minutes in Morse Code (a feature exclusive to Marshall transmitters). You simply enter your call sign or temporary station ID (phone number) into AeroVision.
Weight: 8.4 grams with battery installed
Battery used: 1/3N 3v Lithium
Battery Life: Three (3) days, combination GPS data transmissions and beeping signal, variable duty cycle
Antenna: 7 inch end-fed dipole diplexed with GPS
Range: 5 to 30 miles
Weight: <12 oz
Battery used: 3.7V LiPo internal (rechargeable through Micro USB cable provided)
Battery life: 30+ hours
Antenna connection: SMA
Range: up to fifty (50) feet via Bluetooth LE
AeroVision Mapping App
Option One iOS Version (Available at Launch, downloadable from iTunes) requires:
- iPad Mini: Gen 1 or newer (cellular enabled)*
- iPad Air, iPad Air 2 (cellular enabled)*
We recommend an iPad Mini 4 (cellular enabled)
* Important: a cellular enabled iPad is required in order for it to have the needed GPS functions. However, you do not need to enable the cellular data plan to use AeroVision.
- iPhone: 5S and newer
We recommend an iPhone 6 or newer
Option Two- Android requirements
(availability Se[tember 2016)