All StratoTracks are programmed before shipping. These devices were always meant to be simple plug-n-play trackers. However, some users have requested the option to update their callsigns. This typically only happens when somebody on a launch team responsible for the StratoTrack leaves the team and a new team member joins the team with a different government issued callsign. If this happens, simply send in your StratoTrack and we will reprogram the new callsign at no additional fee. However, for those of you who want to do it on your own, below is the workaround. If you’re technically savvy, the process should be simple and straight forward. Be advised that the small cable that connects the StratoTrack to the USB Adapter Circuit Board is quite delicate. It could fray after plugging and unplugging it on 50 separate occasions. It’s highly unlikely that you will have that many people join and leave your team, but if your cable does start to fray, simply send one of our vendors an email and they will ship you a free replacement cable. You will only need to cover shipping.
If you don’t already have a Serial Terminal on your computer, download one. A popular one is the Parallax Serial Terminal which you can download by clicking here. If you aren’t familiar with Serial Terminals, there are plenty of videos online explaining how they work. For this tutorial we will assume you are using the Parallax Serial Terminal on a Windows device, but any Serial Terminal will work. The same can be accomplished on a MAC using the MAC Terminal App, but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial. There are plenty of online websites and videos that explain how to set up a Serial Terminal using the MAC Terminal App.
You will also need a Strato USB Cable which is comprised of the following:
Standard USB Cable
USB Adapter Circuit Board
Small cable that connects the StratoTrack to the USB Adapter Circuit Board
Workaround for Programming Your Callsign on Your Own
Plug the USB end of the Strato USB Cable into your computer and plug the other end into the StratoTrack. Be careful, it only goes in one way. It’s helpful to push on the edge of the small white plug with your fingernail to make it seat all the way. We know it’s tiny. It was the largest high-quality plug we could find that would fit on the StratoTrack.
Open a Serial Terminal.
Select the correct Com Port: set the Baud Rate: to 19200, and click the Enable button. Note: the Com Port will most likely be a value between COM1 or COM5, but it could be any value up to COM99 depending on how many serial devices you have connected to your computer in the past.
If you already have a battery inserted into the StratoTrack, remove it and wait a few seconds before reinserting it. This powers the StratoTrack off and forces it to reboot so it can enter Callsign Update Mode.
Insert a battery into the StratoTrack and wait a few seconds for the greed/red LED on the side of the StratoTrack to stop flashing. Directions should pop up on the Serial Terminal once the StratoTrack finishes booting and enters Callsign Update Mode.
Follow the prompts displayed in the Serial Terminal for entering your callsign. Text is entered in the top box of the Serial Terminal. You may need to click within the box before typing. Note: if no text is entered within one minute, the StratoTrack will exit Callsign Update mode and proceed to Tracking Mode. If you still need to make additional changes to your callsign, you will have to unplug the battery and reinsert it to power off the tracker and force it back into Callsign Update Mode.
Once your callsign is updated, carefully remove the plug from the StratoTrack by pulling on all four wires simultaneously between your thumb and index finger. You can typically plug and unplug this cable 50 times before it starts to fray. It’s not likely, but if you need to update your callsign on more than 50 separate occasions and the cable starts to fray, let the vendor who you bought the StratoTrack from know and they will send you a free replacement (you just need to cover shipping).
If the text in the Serial Terminal looks like jumbled garbage, make sure the Serial Terminal Baud Rate is set to 19200.
If no Com Ports are available, make sure the USB cable is plugged into both the computer and the small black USB Adapter Circuit Board.
If multiple Com Ports are available, you may have to select them one at a time and repeat steps 4 through 6 until you see directions pop up on the Serial Terminal.
If no prompts are displayed on the Serial Terminal after plugging a battery into the StratoTrack, double check the following:
Battery inserted correctly and fully charged (you should see the LED on the side of the StratoTrack flash green and red when battery is inserted).
All cable connections between the computer and the StratoTrack are solid.
Correct Com Port: is selected, Baud Rate: is set to 19200, and Serial Terminal has been Enabled.
Small white plug is fully seated into the StratoTrack (not plugged backwards).
USB plug on computer not loose or worn out.
Small cable that connects USB Adapter Circuit Board to StratoTrack is not frayed.