RCU Review: Polks Hobby Tracker II


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    Contributed by: Nathan Maat | Published: September 2003 | Views: 26939 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Polk's Hobby Tracker II

     

     

      

    NAVIGATION

    Introduction
    Features & Functions
    Video
    Summary
    Hits & Misses
      
     

    DEALER INFO

    Polks Hobby
    698 S. 21ST STREET
    IRVINGTON, NJ 07111

    PH# 973-351-9800 FAX#973-351-9700
    sales@polkshobby.com

    www.polkshobby.com
     

     

    RATINGS

    Price:
    Hardware:
    Manual:
    Programming:
    Functionality:
    Technology:
    Appearance:
    Durability:
     

    POLK'S HOBBY
    Tracker II

    by Nathan Maat  |  Plane Insane

    © RCUniverse.com 2003


    INTRODUCTION

    Polk's Hobby has been innovating in the Hobby field since 1935.  They have in house engineers design most of their products and find experienced industrial companies to produce them to their standards.  The approach is from an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) point of view as they have been a manufacturer's manufacturer for most of the past 60+ years.  They also don't use other's sub assemblies, but make their own.  They believe this allows them the only way to assure top quality with affordable pricing.

    What makes this transmitter stand out from the rest is the amazing features.  With three years of development and an issued patent, you can bet this is the latest being offered in the r/c world.  It's an 8 channel radio with many of the same features and functions found on other 8 channel radios, but the technology behind this one is much more advanced.
     

     
     
     

    FEATURES & FUNCTIONS

    The Tracker II Tx has a built in scanner coupled with a synthesized frequency generator to check the environment before the frequency is allowed to be active.  This means you can scan the surroundings for an available frequency while maintaining the safety of the other pilots in the air.  This is important because with the Tracker II you have the option to use the frequency of your choice.  Here's the amazing part.  The Tracker II system does not use crystals!  For a quick demonstration on how the scanner works CLICK HERE.

    Functionality is as good as any other 8 Channel radio on the market today.  While the looks are a generation behind its competitors, its technology is second to none.  Check out some of the features below and I think you'll be hard pressed to find another 8 channel radio that has more.  To see a demonstration on how the receiver works with the transmitter CLICK HERE.


      

    50 CHANNEL SELECTABLE
    The Tracker II utilizes a modern P.L.L. (Phase Lock Loop) circuit that gives the Tracker the capability to work on any legal channel frequencies available in any country to remote control a model.  You will never be restricted from flying due to overcrowding of one channel or suffer the elimination of one channel due to local interference.

    8 CHANNEL OPERATION
    The Tracker II has the channel flexibility and capacity to allow you to operate virtually any model you can build.  After you assign the basic four channels (aileron, elevator, rudder, and throttle), you still have four more channels for flaps, retractable landing gear, spoilers, brakes and other accessories.

    SCANNER
    To detect interference at any model site to determine which channels are safe for you and your fellow modelers.  Use the scanner to look for channels that are affected by 3IM (third order imaging), while other radios are in use.  Perfect for club fields to scan the transmitter impound for radios left on or interference on a channel about to be used by a flier.

    BACK UP MEMORY
    The radio features a permanent memory chip that retains all settings indefinitely even if the batteries are totally removed by re-charging or replacement.  Even if you radio is turned off or back on your radio will immediately recover all of the original settings.

    DUAL RATES
    I often fly using dual rates.  Generally I'll start with low rates being set to the manufacturer recommendations until I get comfortable with an airplane.  I'll then switch to high rates for all out performance.  The Tracker II allows for dual rates.

    3 PROGRAMMABLE MIXES
    This radio has the ability to mix any channel to any other channel.  You can have flaps that automatically couple to the elevator at the flip of a switch, mix your ailerons with your rudder to give you scale flight characteristics, or have spoilers that automatically deploy at reduced throttle settings.

    PPM MODE
    This mode allows for the selection of a POS or NEG shift.  Futaba/Hitec = NEG.  JR/Airtronics = POS.

    99 MODEL MEMORY
    The Tracker II is capable of keeping 99 different model settings in memory and the ability to remember all the settings for each model.

    MODEL COPY
    Copy one models settings to another model number.

    PROGRAMMABLE SERVO REVERSING
    The Tracker II can electronically change the direction of any servo using the Tx control panel.  This becomes important as it allows you to install your servos based on function instead of necessity.  If it's easier to install your servo a certain way but would cause it to move in the wrong direction this function will switch the direction of the servo.

    STICK MODE
    Decide between mode 1 and mode 2 based on personal preference.  All compensations are automatically handled by the computer and the only mechanical consideration is that the spring for the throttle stick and metal ratchet piece need to be moved according to the mode selected.

    COUNTDOWN TIMER
    A 60 minute countdown timer is built in to the programming of the radio.  The screen comes up with the most common 15 minute display first, but is adjustable up to 60 minutes.

    THE RECEIVER
    The Seeker receiver seeks the frequency you have assigned to your transmitter and locks on to that frequency.  The frequency must be an F.M. frequency and on the band pre-set by the factory, such as 72, 75, 35, and 40.  Even when powered off the computer will retain the setting permanently until changed by the user.

    TRIM SETTINGS
    The Tracker II allows for servo reversing, sub trim adjustment, trim rates, and trim memory.

    END POINT ADJUSTMENTS
    Adjust your servo linkages using the computer radio rather than adjusting the hardware.  This allows for absolute precision in your servo positioning.

    EXPONENTIAL
    Adjust the sensitivity around neutral for smooth flying.

     

    Tracker II

     Windows Media Player

    Version
    File Size
    Video Run Time
    Programming the Receiver   4.7 MB

    1 min 58 sec

    Using the Built In Scanner 1.9 MB

    0 min 48 sec

     

     

    SUMMARY


    HITS

    MISSES

      Built In Scanner
      Programmable Channels
     
    Functionality

      Appearance
     
    Bulky Feel

    Have you ever wished you could change frequencies at the field?  Have you ever wished you could scan the area for interference?  Ever desire an easy to use 8 channel transmitter?  With more than 60 years experience Polk's Hobby seems to have what you're looking for if that's the case.

    The case is definitely a generation removed from other popular transmitters of today, but after I got over that I started to really appreciate the patented technology they are using.  The trim tabs and switches are set to where your thumbs and fingers naturally seem to go which make for easy eyes off operation.  It is a fairly comfortable to hold radio but feels a bit bulky at the same time.  The good thing is that it doesn't feel any heavier than my other two 8 channel radios which is definitely a plus.  Overall I have to say the technology outweighs the appearance at a price that is more than acceptable.  I think this radio setup will be a nice surprise for anyone wanting an 8 channel system.
     

    Nathan Maat - August 2003

    Comments on RCU Review: Polks Hobby Tracker II

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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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