This is a status and hopefully I might get a suggestion or two from a discussion.
First I live near the Texas Gulf coast where the “seeing” normally ranges from terrible to worse than terrible. In the winter, right after a cold front goes through, the skies clear and we can see stars. I had been analyzing the results of tracking and decided that I’d like to try it myself - but would not invest much money for now. Years ago I used the US Air Force system to generate TLEs, track satellites, etc. So I understand how to do this.
So after MUCH reading web pages and trying things and getting frustrated and saying bad words…
I needed to get an accurate time for the opening of the shutter.
So I got a used Nikon D200 camera and a GPS unit (the GP-1) so that I could get an accurate time. I had already tried to get photos with my Sony camera so I knew the approximate settings and I had followed some hints and found Astrometry.net and SAO Image DS 9 - gotten those installed. So I could get usable photos that would resolve in Astrometry.net and that got me pretty close.
So now I use Gpredict to plan my evening and use Orbitrack on my phone to give me rise and set times - I set up the camera on my tripod and point it at a guide star that the satellite will go past. So I can reliably track satellites now! Wow.
One thing that contributed a LOT was participating in the training by Chris - I did not know that Astrometry could give me RA and Dec. I use that to get rough numbers and get the final number from SAO Image DS 9.
My current problem is trying to get the time of the shutter opening (right now I assume that GPS time is accurate in spite of latency, etc) accurate to the tenth of a second. I found EXIFTool (on a digital photo web site) and that gives me time accurate to a second. The camera gives time to the hundredth of a second but how do I get the camera to set time according to the GPS? I am trying to contact someone who knows how Nikon cameras handle time and am trying to contact the author of EXIFTool to ask if they know.
Comments? If this all works well I will upgrade to a better DSLR camera at least.