GPS for Owls
Blakiston’s Owl tracker only 63 grams total weight
Approached by one of our clients to design a GPS tracking device for Blakiston’s Owl we thought that the desired specifications were a bit extreme. There is nothing unusual about that, you can’t get what you don’t ask for. The issue at hand had to do with performance versus weight. In this industry, there is often a conflict between the number of GPS positions desired and the maximum allowable weight of the GPS tracking device.
This case was further complicated by the fact that the owls in question dive into the ocean for food. So we had to make the device quite low profile. As it turned out we managed to keep the overall height to less than 2 cm.
GPS for Owls- 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. It turns 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.
The UHF transceiver is connected to the GPS data logger. The transceiver is normally asleep to save battery. But every 30 seconds it wakes up looking for an incoming signal requesting that it transfer GPS data. If no request is found it goes back to sleep, if a request is present the device transmits the GPS data.
Of course, you are on the receiving end of the data transfer. Use the VHF beacon to track the device and get within range of the UHF transceiver. Range varies with field conditions. We test and advertise up to 400 meters range. In other words, it could be more or it could be less but we make sure that it is at least 400 meters before we ship. Don’t confuse this with the VHF range, this is the UHF transceiver for sending GPS data.
The VHF beacon is on 24/7 and operates from a battery all its own. We intentionally used 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. Battery life of the GPS depends upon the number of GPS location attempts you wish to attempt each day.
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