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Archive for July, 2008

Wildlife Tracking, GPS Collars For Pangolin And Echidna

Friday, July 25th, 2008

The Telemetry Solutions crew is a motley one.  None of us are California natives.  Funny thing about Californians, they all refer to any U.S. city east of Winnemucca as “back east” and I would hazard a guess that often they can’t find Kansas on a map.  I digress.  Everyone here at Telemetry Solutions comes from wildly different backgrounds, ethnically, geographically, education levels, we’re all mixed up. And five are from other countries, spread over three continents.  We even have a Texan working here!  But he’s the only one that thinks Texas is a different country. 

They are all very keen on their work.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  When 5:30 p.m. rolls around people are still working, they don’t stop.  I have to kick people out. 

Today I was working with the person in charge of the website photography.  He’s not a wildlife biologist, far from it.  He’s an artist.  He and I are complete opposites but we have learned to work together, trying to get onto some common wavelength.  We came to a discussion of our Quantum 4000 GPS tracking collars for small animals and he wanted to know what species could wear which collars.  We make them very small now, down to about 33 grams in collar form.  I told him to wait just a moment and I would list various species that could be associated with our small GPS collars. He wanted to help and began calling out different species.  When he mentioned pangolin and echidna I had to claim ignorance and go directly to the web.  A quick Google image search revealed the animals he was referring to.  As it turns out we do have GPS collars that would work on both pangolin and echidna.  But first we have to find them and I don’t think we should look back east.  Please do let us know if any of you are about to kick off a pangolin or echidna project.

7 Different GPS Models Under 130 grams

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Why so many? What’s the difference? Answer: Wildlife biologists are a brilliant bunch. What suits one doesn’t suit the other. We are routinely asked to meet a specification that is a tweak away from what we already offer. Where there’s a will there’s a way. We recently had a request for a tortoise GPS with user replaceable batteries. Add that to the list, they shipped last week.

One of our small GPS collar models weighs in at 69 grams, another at 82 grams. Do we really need both? Absolutely. Biologist A needs a collar no more than 70 grams and biologist B can tolerate 80. The weight difference is due to our old friend the battery. Next stop in the collar category is currently 125 grams. But we can build several between 80 and 125 – ask and Ye shall receive.

Aside from our normal production models we are happy to entertain your unique application needs and come up with a solution. We’re also working on a few concept products that help to feed the creative engine at Telemetry Solutions. We’ll have these on display at our next conference appearance. Be sure to ask to see them.


Where are the wild turkeys?

Friday, July 11th, 2008

On the golf course, where else?  A local country club has an inordinate number of wild turkeys living on their golf course. I’m not sure that they bother the golfers very much, but the homeowners are not happy.  Can’t hunt them…’s a residential area.  Can’t relocate them without a permit from Fish and Game.  Apparently they pollute the lakes in the club and we can’t have that now can we?  Are they really a problem?

Driving past the club, I often have to stop my car as the turkeys cross the road.  I quite enjoy it.  Personally I believe that before any decision on this matter can be made they need to fit every single wild turkey with one of our GPS tracking devices for turkeys.  Up to 8 fixes per day and 18 months battery life…..100 grams.  Now where did I put the club manager’s number, it was around here somewhere. 



The nice man from Homeland Security

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Getting a call from Homeland Security ranks right up there with letters from The IRS in your mailbox.  They were polite when they asked to schedule an interview in my office.  “It’s just routine,” they said. 

When the agent arrived I asked to see his I.D.  He told me that only 1 in 100 people ask to see his I.D.  Mostly people just answer his questions with no proof of who he really is.  Scary.  Anyway, I asked to see it and he gladly showed it to me.  The interview consisted of a battery of questions about what we do here.  It was a pretty short interview.  He was a nice guy and we talked about his job.  On the one hand it’s annoying to be  interrupted with bureaucratic tasks but it was nice to see that they are actually out and about doing a job.  He was interested in our products, I showed him around and he left. 

The Fire Department used to make spot inspections….but I haven’t seen them in years.  They usually find something to complain about but they keep us on our toes.  OSHA wouldn’t like to see any of the devices that we abuse new GPS collar designs with.  They are all motorized destruction devices…..turn the speed regulator the wrong way and they get dangerous.  Maybe that would be an interesting video addition to our website.  But we’ll have to think of a new name for one of these devices, the name we use here in the shop isn’t something we want to put into print. 🙂


The Bear Police

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Today I heard a news report on the radio about a bear cub in Ventura California wandering into a back yard.  Apparently the cub took advantage of the homeowners’ hot tub before returning to the woods.  The police stood by and “allowed” the bear to go on its merry way.  Maybe the police should have moved the homeowners to a safe house while a bear proof fence could be constructed and the people fitted with bear-proof suits? While the police were in the area they could also have done a sweep for mountian lions, raccoons, spiders and ants.  I mean really, can all of these creatures be allowed to live near humans?  Maybe those folks could just bite the bullet and move in to Los Angeles proper.  No bears to harm them there……rather they might just find strangers in their hot tub.

At least I can vent on this blog now rather than only shouting back at the news report on the radio.