Bird tracking Device??!!

Thread Starter


Joined May 14, 2007
Hi does any one know how to design a bitd tracking device? I think there r 3 ways either by the am signal and designing a transdeucer or the gps and the GSM signals, any one help??


Joined Apr 20, 2004
The problem with a GPS device on the bird is that it would have to be able to transmit its location to the tracker. Weight and bulk would seem to make this impractical. Possibly useful on large, flightless birds like emus.

You're probably stuck with a small transmitter and yagi antenna for directional tracking.


Joined Dec 23, 2006
Haha Emus are awesome. Strap a big ole antenna to its neck. I've wondered, what is the smallest and lightest you can get a GPS tracker?


Joined May 16, 2005
I've seen GPS modules themselves as small as 10mm x 10mm x 2 mm, but this does not include a power supply or antenna. The finished product would be pretty darn cumbersome for the average turkey.

In contrast, I've seen transmitters with power supply and antenna which could be worn by the average macaw.

I make no promises regarding how long the little batteries will last.


Joined Apr 24, 2007
Well, one thing you've got going for you is that you don't need a continuous signal, since you don't need to know where it is to within less than, say, 300 meters. So its on-board (on-bird?) transmitter would only need to power up and transmit maybe two to four times a minute, and possibly less, for just a very short time, assuming you can make receivers that can cope with that. That means that you could save a lot of battery power and use a much smaller battery and still have it last for a reasonable amount of time, or, you could use much more power when it does transmit.

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could have an on-board receiver so that it would only transmit when you asked it to, saving most of its battery power until you were really needing to find it. You might also then want to try having it increase its transmitter power if the signal it receives from you is weak, and vice versa.

- Tom Gootee



Joined Apr 24, 2007
Hey thanks gootee and thingmaker3, any links u have to a similar project or a prototype that u may know bout that?? please.
Sorry. I have no idea whether or not anything like I described has been done, before.

Maybe you could do searches for "homing device", and "emergency beacon", and "tracking device", and other phrases like those. At, it should help to put them inside the quotes, as shown. You might get a search hit that has some better terminology to use in subsequent searches.

You might want to also search at , and possibly post a question in an appropriate group, there, after that.

Good luck.

- Tom Gootee

Telemetry for hawks... I'm a licensed falconer and a licensed amateur radio operator. What kind of hawk are you wanting to track?

This is my first time and post on the forum... I joined this forum to research info on making the telemetry your wanting. much to my surprise my first search revealed your post. I know most all of the fundamentals.... but need a bit of help on picking values for my tank circuit. <More on that much later.>

The basics are most all telemetry transmitters for tracking hawks are 216 217 or 218 mhz band. Most run on 3volts or less. They send a continous wave <CW> signal. [Which is basically a sinewave at the specified freq.] The receiver uses a beat frequency osscillator to create an audible tone for the person listening at the receiver. The transmitter isn't actually super imposing and audible tone onto the carrier freq.

You would need a flip flop circuit to key and unkey the oscillator...give you a short transmitted signal every second or two. (depending on how you design the flip flop.) Depending on the x-tal used... you might need to a frequency doubler.

Before you go much further thinking about designing anything... what freq do you want to transmit on? What are you using for RX and what type of antenna?

Also... I haven't gone to the link listed above... but there are several companys that sell telemetry for hawks and falcons. L.L. Electronics, Marshall Telemetry, Merlin Telemetry. All three have websites. Transmitters can weight as little as 2.8 grams [about 1/10th ounce] Price ranges from $100 to $300.

These are just rough notes for now... kind of brainstorming. Hope it can lead you in the same direction. Haven't ordered any parts from didgikey or put anything in a simulator. Noticed in the link a few post above in this thread... your looking at x-mtrs for Euro telemetry freq's. I'm in the states so I' leaning toward the legal freqs for telemetry here. Guess I could use Amateur radio freqs but then would have to send my callsign in morse for identification instead of a simple pulse.

For freq of 216.500... start with a x-tal of 24.055 mhz. Set up overtone oscillator and make the LC tank resonate for the 9th harmonic.
24.055 x9 = 216.500mhz if RF pwr out is less than desired then I will have to add an amplifier. If 9th harmonic is difficult to run...then I will have to pick new x-tal and shoot for 108.250Mhz with maybe only 3 harmonics mabe a 36.083 xtal at 3rd hamonic. Then add a freq doubler behind the oscillator wth possible amp behind that.

The tank LC values are:
27nh & 20pf in parralell resonate at 216.58244 mhz

digikey p/n 490-1252-1-ND 20pf ceramic capacitior cermaic 5% tolerance qnty of 10 for $0.50USD
digikey p/n ???? <don't have the window open NEmore> 27nh choke with 2% tolerance ... but price was again about a nickel each and minimum order of 10.

Check your local library for ARRL handbook. It will have explanations for much of the radio theory and formulas needed to build your transmitter from scratch. Your' gonna have more time and money invested in this than what you can purchase one for. but for some it is the experience not the end result that counts. For me I just like to figure things out... and it doesn't matter to much what the labor/time involved is. <Carefully typed as wife looks on> HAHAHAHAHAH