Tracker II Radio

Any thoughts/comments about Polk's Hobbies Tracker II radio. It seems to have a lot of great features:
FULLY SYNTHESIZED 8 CHANNEL with a 99 model memory and a built in scanner.
1024 stick resolution, exponential settings, trim & rate memory, EPA settings, dual rates, 3 2-way mixs, aileron differential, flaperons, elevons, V-tail, mode 1 or 2, count down timer, low battery warning, 40 mGHz processor speed
But is it good stuff or just a $275.00 piece of junk?
View it at http://polkshobby.site.yahoo.net/trakerii72mhz.html
Thanks in advance.
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http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/There_is_a_tracker_ll/m_671178/tm.htm
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In my personal opinion, it looks ugly. It might be a fine radio, but they need to upgrade the case to look like something that's not from the 1960's. The other thing is that I've never seen anybody using one. I figure if I stick with the big 3, Hitec, Futaba, or JR I'm probably going to be safe. Just my 2 cents.
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Wade through the thread at RCGroups here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid 6724
Basically, it's an unfinished work and will NOT be improved upon until it's totally redesigned (Polk's says so) so read that entire thread thoroughly before making a decision. If you still want one, you'll find that they are easy to find used being offered by people who weren't so impressed once they got one (which includes me having sold mine recently).
MJC
"Marlowe @gte.net>" <marlowedc<nyet> wrote in message

mGHz
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Yes, I did wade through the thread. I have the same conclusions.

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I received mine last week and have had limited test time, but here are my initial impressions,mostly in line with others: Slightly bigger, heavier and dated in styling. I knew about that and don't care.
Frequency scanner works fine and it is impossible to transmit and/or fly if there is someone turned on on your frequency.
The 2 line data display is much less limiting and cryptic than I expected.
The only two minor quibbles I have with it so far are that there is no count up timer (down only) and that the trims must be explicitly saved after each change.
Performance so far has been flawless. Well worth $275, but I question the reasoning in shipping with one GWS servo. Four or none would have made more sense.
PCPhill
"Marlowe @gte.net>" <marlowedc<nyet> wrote in message

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Does the Tracker II have a heritage to the Aristocraft Challenger?

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On 9/30/2003 12:46 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
They can not be as bad as you make out. There are two people that use them exclusively on the professional circuit (electrics).

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For those who haven't the time to wade through all of the previous threads on RCGroups, the major problem with this radio appears to be the lack of trim control when using the free mixers. There isn't an option to have the master trims control the slave channel. That makes the mixes pretty much useless for use with the primary controls.
The simple, standard mixes work OK, but the optional programmable ones are pretty much worthless. So, unless all of your models are trainers, Piper Cubs or have relatively simple controls, you should consider something more capable like the Futaba 9C.
To be fair, the other low-cost synthesized transmitter on the market isn't that much more flexible. The Hitec Eclipse with the Spectra module has its own set of limitations. The throttle programming is difficult, and some mixes won't work in some modes. And, it only supports 7 models.
However, I have no reservations about recommending the Seeker receiver. I have several of the older ones which I use with my Eclipse. They are fine receivers, and unlike competitors, the channel can be changed without turning dials on the receiver itself.
Jim - AMA 501383
Marlowe said:

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On 9/30/2003 3:38 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
I just ordered a Seeker II after talking to Polk Hobbies and going through the messages on RC Universe. There are "work arounds" at present for the trim issues (see the messages - I believe it is around #270). Also, according to Polk Hobbies, many of the issues have been resolved with the Ver 1.31 software. Again, according to Polk Hobbies, any remaining issues with the trims will be addressed in a new version of the software to be released shortly.
To me, the Seeker II appears to be the "Best Bang for the Buck" at the present time. As with ANY brand of radio, there will be things that an individual will like and dislike. I like the 5 year warranty, the 99 model memory, the scanner feature and being able to fly on ANY unused channel.
FWIW: A new case has been designed and has received final approval. The case will have a "Buddy Box" port and is supposed to be more "ergonomically" designed. The software upgrades are supposed to be able to be provided on something like a credit card that can be "swiped" in the transmitter to upgrade the software.

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says...

I really admire their effort on this, but a card reader? Had a TI back in the early 80's that had one. Worked, but it never left the office, and had to be cleaned pretty regular. I wonder why they didn't use a port? I know they've expressed issues with their software being stolen, but a card reader is a step in the wrong direction. That's another part to break, and with a five year warranty that doesn't sound like a good idea. These things go out in the world, not sit in a grocery store.
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Card readers have come a long way, but... Seems like a long way around to program a radio!
May I suggest, before plunkng down your hard-earned money for an Aristocraft radio, to look seriously at the Futaba 9CAP? I have been using mine for a couple of years, and I am positively DELIGHTED with it. The dial programming is super easy, the transmitter looks and feels great, and the price is very similar to the Tracker, especially since it comes with four servos. YOu can give the models proper names, and you can add an aftermarket memmory chip for $10 to give you 16 memmories. If you put in the chip for the 9ZAP, you have 64 memories. While the scanner feature is innovative, it's not that useful. If you need to transmit on various frequencies, the Hitec Spectra module plugs right into the futaba transmitter. I have tried it. You also might look into buying more receiver crystals on the same channel, so you are not fooling around with multiple frequencies. Go look at both radios side by side before deciding.
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Once again, I must remind those who suggest use of the Hitec Spectra module in Futaba transmitters that such use is illegal. Does it work? Except for some problems with early 8U transmitters, the answer is yes. I spent a lot of time attempting to determine the legality of such combinations, but alas, Steve Kaluf (the AMA Technical Director) has drawn a line in the sand. In a famous (or infamous) article in MA, he said so on no uncertain terms. Any accident which occurs when using such a combination is likely to be uninsured. So, if you wish to change channels on the Futaba 9C, the only legal way is to have several Futaba modules to interchange.
Jim - AMA 501383
easytiger wrote: <big snip>

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Good point. Myself, I tried it, it worked, but I find it is much easier to just have all my planes on one freq than mess around trying to remember what is on what.
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (easytiger) wrote in message

Be warned that there are problems with the Hitec Spectra when it's used in a Futaba unit.
First, it sucks juice like you wouldn't believe. Before I gave up on it, I was getting less than 30 minutes of total transmitter on-time using the stock Futaba battery. A bigger battery helped, but I still couldn't get more than an hour out of an 1100mAh battery. With the stock module, I get a good 4 hours of on-time before I have to recharge.
Second, it wouldn't work with any FMA receivers. For some, range check was only a few steps. On others, there was no response at all. FMA offered to check my transmitter out until I mentioned that I was using the Spectra. They then told me that there was no way their receivers would work with that combination.
Third, the Spectra gets HOT. I don't like touching the back of my transmitter case and getting burned. This has to do with the higher-than-normal consumption of power mentioned earlier. There's nothing wrong with anything; Eclipse and Prism users also complain about short battery life and hot Spectra modules. It's the nature of the beast.
Fourth, and this may not make a bit of difference with some, it's an illegal combination. The Spectra module is not type accepted/certificated for use with any Futaba control box. It's not like the FCC is going to drag you out of bed in a midnight raid, but running an illegal combination definitely voids most insurances, the least of which being the AMA's. If you fly at an AMA club's field and have an accident, it's not only your AMA coverage that's voided, but everyone's. AFAIK, you, the club, and the landowner are all hanging out in the wind, personally liable for any damages...
Now, I'm not saying to NOT use the Spectra. That's your choice. You do need to know the whole story, though... It's not the "magic pill" that cures all and has no downside.
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Seems like if it wouldn't work with FMA receivers then there was a problem with the receivers. The combination seems to work with all other brands.
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It's been a while, but their claim was that it was because their receivers were "better" and "more selective," IIRC. Their claim was that the Spectra moved something or other off by 1200Hz, maybe the carrier frequency, I can't remember. All I know for sure is that they don't work with the Spectra, but work fine with the standard module, and appear to be every bit as reliable as any other receiver I own. Regardless if there's an inherent design flaw in all FMA receivers, this behaviour says to me that the Spectra does something funny to the signal. It's the only thing that changes in the mix, and the receivers don't work anymore. I don't know what the problem is, but I don't want to find out while the plane is flying.
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Mathew Kirsch wrote:

The last time someone made the claim that the Hitec Spectra module was transmitting off frequency, I checked mine with a frequency counter. I came to the conclusion that it was closer to spec. than my Futaba modules. The FCC test results also specify closer tolerances.
You can come to your own conclusion about FMA's products, but I won't buy any.
Jim - AMA 501383
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On Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:49:24 GMT, James D Jones

I have the Spectra module in my transmitter and I use it with the Tracker II receiver . Never had any trouble. I love it. Don't know about FMA but why would they not work. Doesn't make sense to me. I also use the Hitec Spectra with a Tower receiver, Hitec of course, Futaba, RC Diamond mini, and a GWS mini receiver. They all work just fine. I use them on three different channels. Good Luck Gene
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com (Mathew Kirsch) wrote in message

Huh. I did not use the spectra in my futaba for long enough to note much except that it did work with my futaba and hitec receivers. Range was not an issue. Did not try FMA receivers, I had bad luck with them and won't use them anymore. I did not notice the battery, as I am fast charging my TX pretty often. Illegal is a problem, it invalidates your insurance. Me, I just keep everything one one channel...swapping TX frequencies is a crash waiting to happen, they called the old Kraft system the "dial-a-crash" module.
Anyway...good luck with your Tracker radio, that would not be MY choice. Worst that happens is you crash a few planes, sell the radio for beans on ebay!
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