Polk's Hobby Tracker II Radio

The February issue of Model Airplane News has a review of Polk's Hobby Tracker II Radio. It seems to have a lot of good features for the money,
such a frequency scanner, memory storage for 99 models, and variable frequency. Price is $275. I have not been a fan of Polk's Hobby in the past. Does anybody have any experience or thoughts on this radio?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I almost bought one of these a few days ago but couldn't come to terms on the deal. This was a one owner radio. I like the feel and the features. Most of all I like the company. They are phone friendly and are always updating the radio as users discover things that could be better. The software version at this time is 1.31. They will upgrade the software to the latest version at no charge as they make these changes. The scanner portion may be overly sensitive as it seems to detect 2nd and 3rd harmonics in our location here in Virginia. They will detune the scanner for you if it is a problem at your location. The seeker receiver, while a bit large, is flawless and the fact that it will work with any other transmitter and frequency you have is a major plus!
But, be aware that early next year they are coming out with an updated version that includes a more rounded redesigned case and the ability to upgrade without sending in the radio.
So I'm going to wait a bit longer before buying mine... but buy one I will!
Art
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
They have , or did have anyway, a problem with the transmitter saving trims in mix modes. This wasn't acceptable to me. I'm waiting until their all new update in '04 before I buy one.

money,
harmonics
will!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Are the connectors Futaba compatible?

money,
harmonics
will!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hello,
Checkout RCUniverse, do a search for Tracker II articles. I wrote a few.
The Seeker II is a GREAT receiver. I have used both Futaba and JR servos and Futaba and the Tracker II transmitters without a problem and would buy another.
The Tracker II is a mixed bag. As a frequency synthesis non mixing radio it works well. The mixing leaves something to be desired. My original firmware (1.2) was VERY, VERY BAD and I believe Lewis Polk knew it was bad when the radio shipped. Lewis Polk was also not very forth coming about the problems with his product. I upgraded to version 1.3 and have not fully tested it. Polk's promised a 2 day turn around that took two weeks; in Minnesota that a difference of about 40 degree in temperature. Again, checkout the Tracker II on RCUniverse. I am not upgrade current, so things may have gotten better? Secondly, there was to be a new design for 2004. If you are now confused, so am I went it comes to the Tracker II.
John Berk
Jim & Nancy Stricklin wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim & Nancy Stricklin wrote:

check the e-zone (www.ezonemag.com) under the radio forum. Some issues with it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Also read through the Tracker II threads (do a search) at RCgroups.com. The consensus is that it's not a very good computer radio (some say really crappy). If you treat it as if it were a simple NON computer radio, then it might work for you. The problem is that the Futaba 9C is a HUGELY better radio and doesn't cost that much more (and a synth module will be available for it soon)... so for the money, it's a much better deal than the Tracker as is the Hitec w/Spectra module. The Seeker receiver, however, is a nice unit and worth the $70 easy.
There's going to be a Tracker (III?) out next year we're told, but as a buyer (and then a seller) of a Tracker II, I don't trust Polk's anymore. They screwed up big time with the programming of the T-II and, I feel, in turn screwed their many trusting customers who bought a radio that did a lot less than Polk's claimed. As for "support", all we got was promises and then excuses ("Not enough memory to fix the program") so Polk's has been scratched off my list of company's to buy from.
MJC

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
| The problem is that the Futaba 9C is a HUGELY better radio and | doesn't cost that much more (and a synth module will be available | for it soon)...
Where have you heard that a synthesized module would be available for it soon? I certainly haven't ...
The Hitec Spectra module is known to work, but I've heard there's issues with that, both technical (greatly increased power consumption?) and political (no FCC or AMA approval) ...
Whatever module comes out, it would be nice if it could have it's frequency stored in the radio's model memory, rather than adjusting knobs like the Spectra, but I suspect that this won't happen ...
The Tracker II also has a built-in scanner, which would be nice. Too bad more radios don't have that ...
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzy.com
To understand recursion, we must first understand recursion.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If Futaba does it, it will program from the front of the radio thru the regular programming features. After the frequency has been selected the transmitter set key is pressed or the on off switch is cycled and you are in business.
Been flying a 9ZWCII with the synthesized module since they came out. Works fine in all enviornments that I am aware of.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mjc,

All I can find on their web site is the 9Z synth module, none for the 9C.
Got a link for the part number you found for the 9C? --
Jim L. https://sourceforge.net/projects/virtual-access / Using - Virtual Access(OLR), ZAP 4.5, & WinXP Pro w/SP1
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Geez guys, why do I have to do all the work? :-) Go to http://www.futaba-rc.com/sellsheets/futz2002-2003-catalog.pdf and then go to page 23. The "Transmitter Modules" box at the bottom left corner of that page shows a separate and different part number for the Synth module for the 9C (hint: it's not the same number as the one shown for the 9Z).
I'm guessing, just guessing, that Futaba put this listing in the catalog early because they ARE going to be releasing the 9C synth module soon, and this way, they would have it already listed in their catalog and wouldn't have to redo the catalog later.
MJC

Synth
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mjc,

Your other link indicates it to be February - 04 --
Jim L. https://sourceforge.net/projects/virtual-access / Using - Virtual Access(OLR), ZAP 4.5, & WinXP Pro w/SP1
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mjc,

You do it so well!<g>

Your other link indicates it to be February - 04 Now, at what price?<hmmm> --
Jim L. https://sourceforge.net/projects/virtual-access / Using - Virtual Access(OLR), ZAP 4.5, & WinXP Pro w/SP1
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Are you familiar with the cost of unobtainium?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
|
| | wrote: | > | > | The problem is that the Futaba 9C is a HUGELY better radio and | > | doesn't cost that much more (and a synth module will be available | > | for it soon)... | > | > Where have you heard that a synthesized module would be available for | > it soon? I certainly haven't ... | | Just because YOU haven't "heard" about it, then it must not be true?
?
| A little self important, are we? :-)
Um, no. I think you're reading *way* too much into my question ...
When I saw your statement, I even checked the Yahoo groups 9c list -- no mention of a synthesized module to be released -- but plenty of people asking.
| Futaba already lists a proprietary part number for the 9C Synth module | in their catalog (notabley different from the part number for the 9Z Synth | module). | | It will (Ok, "should") be available early '04.
Is that conjecture based on the part number being listed, or is there more?
(I hope you're right. But since I've not heard this from anywhere else, I'm skeptical.)
| > The Hitec Spectra module is known to work, but I've heard there's | > issues with that, both technical (greatly increased power | > consumption?) and political (no FCC or AMA approval) ... | | Higher power consumption? Sure, ANY synth module will draw more | power than a fixed freq crystal. But not "greatly" where it makes a | huge difference.
I've heard it uses several times more power than it does in the Hitec radio, therefore getting quite warm. Not a little more power, but a lot more power. And only in a Futaba radio, not in the Hitec radio.
| No FCC or AMA approval? Nonsense.
You're obviously misunderstanding me ...
| Unless you're referring to using the Spectra module in the Futaba | transmitter, but that's not what I was talking about.
Actually, that's *exactly* what I was referring to (I guess I didn't make it clear enough.) Right now, today, if you want to use a synthesized module with a 9c, it's the Hitec spectra, and while it's known to work, there are issues, some of which I've mentioned.
| automatically lose FCC and AMA approval anytime you mix brands of TX and tx | module designed and approved for a different brand.
Well, that's been argued to death with both sides claiming victory (and I'm probably starting the war back up here), but either way, I'm not going to go out and buy a Spectra module for my 9c -- I'll wait for the Futaba version.
| > Whatever module comes out, it would be nice if it could have it's | > frequency stored in the radio's model memory, rather than adjusting | > knobs like the Spectra, but I suspect that this won't happen ... | | I understand that the 9C module WILL be software selectable
From where?
I was imagining that it would be almost exactly like the Spectra module, but who knows?
| > The Tracker II also has a built-in scanner, which would be nice. Too | > bad more radios don't have that ... | | Agreed. But if you think about it, almost no other radios out there have | a multichannel scanner and we've survived this long...
Oh, I'm fully aware. But it would still be nice ...
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzy.com
Captain Ahab just has to have his whale, didn't he?
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug McLaren wrote:
<snip>

<snip>
In testing the Hitec Spectra module in my Futaba 9C, I did not note any more power consumption than when used in my Hitec Eclipse. However, you are correct in that the Spectra module is a power hog. I use a 1200 maH NiMH battery in my Eclipse because of that.
While the Spectra module works well as a replacement for the FP-TP-FM module in most Futaba transmitters (except for some 8Us), it is not (and cannot be) FCC certificated. Silly FCC rules prohibit the use of another manufacturer's modules in a transmitter.
The AMA Technical Dirctor, Steve Kaluf, has taken the position that such use in in violation of AMA rules because of the lack of FCC approval. Great Planes (the US distributer of Futaba) also takes that position. However, they only seem to take that position when it suits them. They do sell a Novak synthesized module for the Futaba 3PK. I guess that FCC rules aren't all that important to them. Just $$$$.
Jim - AMA 501383
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Boy this thread has wandered far afield. I have and use 2 Futaba 8U's. I have used the Spectra module for 3 years. I HAVE HAD ZERO PROBLEMS! The radios are power hogs. Both the standard and Spectra modules consume the same amount of power... and while the consumption is high (which is why I use a 1400mah pack) as best I can tell neither is better or worse than the other. I also installed a shift converter with the switch in the battery compartment. It works just fine and I can use ALL of my receivers. Zero problems.
One man's radios... one mans experience. Your mileage may vary!
Art

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Like I said, SOME 8Us have problems with the Spectra. This has been discussed in detail (including a fix for the problem). So, if you are planning to use one in an 8U, be cautious. I'm not going to post the details here again since use is illegal anyway. If you need the details just do a Google (Dejanews) search.
Jim - AMA 501383
Artster wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Downeym,

Very doubtful....... <Http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/New_Futaba_9C_Synth_Module/m_1209790 / tm.htm> --
Jim L. https://sourceforge.net/projects/virtual-access / Using - Virtual Access(OLR), ZAP 4.5, & WinXP Pro w/SP1
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.