We started this project as we start most projects, with the maximum allowable weight for the GPS, the remote download option and the VHF transmitter. In this case, for the non-rechargeable device that limit was 28 grams. We produced a 26 gram GPS with data download and added a 2 gram VHF transmitter.
That is a lot to pack into a 28 gram device. In fact, since we produced this order in March 2013 we have found a way to shave 2 more grams without affecting the GPS performance. Adding options such as the Smart GPS feature would have eliminated some squandering of precious battery life under certain conditions but in this case the option was not selected by the customer even though it adds no weight at all.
If you have a need and are ready to work with a company that is responsive to those needs please click on the Contact Us button in the menu bar above, submit an inquiry form and expect an answer to your inquiry within 1 business day. And remember that we maintain a full time customer support staff for your 'after the sale' support.
How it works
The tracking device consists of a GPS data logger, a UHF transceiver and a VHF transmitter. Before you deploy the device you create a schedule that the GPS will follow. The GPS will turn on at the times and dates indicated in the schedule. Not every day has to be scheduled alike, the schedule is totally yours to create. Battery life of the GPS depends upon the number of GPS location attempts you wish to attempt each day. Battery life is also dependent upon ambient temperature and the time between GPS location attempts, among other things. Our user software will take all of this into consideration and give you an estimated battery life as you create your schedule.
The UHF transceiver in the tracking device is the means by which GPS data are transferred to you remotely in the field. The transceiver sleeps most of the time. When you need it you will transmit a signal from the hand held transceiver that you will have, we call it the base station. The transceiver in the tracking device will wake up, establish a handshake with the base station and automatically transfer the GPS data stored in the memory of the tracking device. This process can be automated if you can place the base station in a place to which you know the study animal will eventually come.
But how to get within range of the UHF download in the first place? Use the VHF beacon to track the device and get within range of the UHF transceiver. Download range varies with field conditions. We test and advertise up to 400 meters range. In other words, the data download range could be more or it could be less but we make sure that it is at least 400 meters before we ship. VHF range is not the same as UHF range. The VHF range will be more than the UHF range.
The VHF beacon is on 24/7 and operates from a battery all its own. We intentionally use different batteries to power the GPS and the VHF because we don't want the performance of one affecting the battery life of the other. Battery life of the VHF is specified by you at the time that you place your order.
The option does exist for you to purchase this device with a rechargeable battery. The charging is accomplished with the USB port in the device, just connect it by cable to a USB charger or a computer. Charging times vary with battery size. One word of caution about rechargeable batteries, our tests show that when the temperature is below 20 C. the batteries do not operate. In fact they begin to be questionable at -10 C.
For more information please click on the contact us button above, submit an inquiry form and we will be in touch with you within 1 business day.