The SPOT Satellite Messenger is a small, lightweight tracking device commonly used by boaters and hikers. It is fairly reliable and good as a backup tracker.
The SPOT Messenger
One Time Cost to purchase: $150
Re-use Cost: 4 lithium AAA batteries
Annual Cost: $150 service
Purchasing the SPOT:
Go to the SPOT website: http://www.findmespot.com/en/# and hit "Where To Buy" at the top. Order your spot, as well as your tracking plan.
Using the SPOT:
The SPOT needs little in the way of setup.
The SPOT will automatically track satellites and acquire a GPS signal assuming it is outside and can see the sky. It will transmit a packet every 10 minutes, which will be logged online. To track it:
The SPOT will give you a Google maps image much like this one.
Place the SPOT in your payload box, preferably not under anything metal. The spot will need to be facing up, with its flat top side to the sky. Make sure to test that the beacon works in the box with everything turned on before sending it to space.
At the launch site:
Following the launch:
After a successful retrieval: