Standard (Static) Collars

The optimal method for attaching a transmitting subsystem to an animal depends on the species involved. Collars have primarily been used to attach units to terrestrial mammals. Telonics collars are constructed of two layers of biologically inert material capable of maintaining pliability and flexibility at ambient temperatures from -40°C to +70°C. Collar width, length, adjustment range, adjustment increment(s), must be specified by the user. Standard attachment hardware is provided with the collar. In some instances where programmed release of the collar is required the CR-2a (a programmable release mechanism) can be purchased separately. If a CR-2A is ordered the hole position and pattern differs from the pattern and position used with standard attachment hardware. The user must specify the use of a CR-2A collar release at time of order to assure that the proper hole pattern is implemented. Please contact us regarding your specific attachment requirements. Standard collars are listed in the Table 1. Additional information on collar attachments is available in the Winter 1989 Telonics Quarterly.

Many different materials can be used in the construction of terrestrial mammal collars. The majority of Telonics collars are constructed with two layers of butyl belting. In special circumstances, a urethane belt is used over top a butyl belt to increase the durability of the collar. The collar width must be selected or specified. The two layers are both glued and sewn together and adjustment holes are prepunched into the collar to accommodate the collar hardware. One set of attachment hardware is provided with each collar. The researcher must specify the adjustment range. An adjustment range of up to 12 inches (where practical) may be specified and punched holes for hardware will be created. Adjustment ranges exceeding 12 inches can be specified but carry an additional charge. If no increment is specified at time of order, the standard increment of 1/2 inch adjustment increments will be used. Collars can be highly customized for various applications and to accommodate special attachment challenges presented by some species of animals. We have not attempted to define all these customized applications in this text or in Table 1. If you require specific information or consultation for such a special application please contact our staff and they can assist you in designing the appropriate collar for your study animal and needs. Custom hardware, special collar materials and alternate attachment methods are available by special order and special charges may apply.

Standard Collar Options

Part Number Thickness Material Collar Width (in) Minimum Adjustment (in) Maximum Adjustment (in) Adjustment Increment (in) Hardware Optional Color Coding Species
CLM-340 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 2.75 24 48 0.5 HD000460-001 Moose, african plains game, caribou, elk, polar bear
CLM-350 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) 2 24 48 0.5 HD000460-001 Bear, large ungulate
CLM-360 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 2 24 48 0.5 HD000460-001 okapi, chamois
CLM-370 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/8" Butyl (MT00069) 2.5 24 48 0.5 HD000460-001
CLM-380 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 2 24 48 0.5 HD000460-002 Polar bear
CLM-430 0.10" Urethane (MT00002067) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 1.5 24 48 0.5 HD000461-002 tapir, feral hogs
CLM-440 0.10" Urethane (MT00002067) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 2 24 48 0.5 HD000460-002 Domestic cattle, bears, African plains game, tigers, yak
CLM-600 0.160" Urethane (MT006403) X 0.160" Urethane (MT006403) 4 24 48 0.5 HD000400-001 Domestic cows, horse, Bison, musk ox, African buffalo
CMM-310 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) 2 12 28 0.5 HD000460-001 ungulates
CMM-320 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 2 12 28 0.5 HD000460-001 deer, antelope, elk, caribou, bear, bighorn, quanaco
CMM-330 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 1.5 12 28 0.5 HD000461-001 deer, antelope, elk, caribou, bear, goat javelina
CMM-340 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 1 12 28 0.5 HD000463-001 wild dog, feral pigs, chimpanzee
CMM-410 0.10" Urethane (MT00002067) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 2 12 28 0.5 HD000460-002 Bear, wolf, lion, tapir, feral pig, panthers, mountain lion
CMM-420 0.10" Urethane (MT00002067) X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 1.5 12 28 0.5 HD000461-002 wolf, giraffe, hyena, cheetah
CSM-210 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) 1 7 14 0.5 HD000463-002 Coyote, fox, bobcat, lynx, skunk
CSM-220 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) X 1/16" Butyl (MT000697) 0.75 7 14 0.5 HD000465-001 Coyote, fox, chimpanzee, bobcat, lynx, fisher
CSM-310 1/16" (MT000697) Butyl X 1/8" Butyl (MT000698) 1 7 14 0.5 HD000463-001 Coyote, fox, bobcat, lynx
CSM-510 Nylon Web-belt (MT 000464-075) 0.75 5 7 0.25 HD000465-002 rabbit, cat
CSM-520 Nylon Web-belt (MT000464-200) 2 7 14 0.5 HD000460-001 lion, wild dog
CSM-530 Nylon Web-belt (MT-000464-150) 1.5 7 14 0.5 HD000461-001 lion, wild dog
CXSM-110 1/32" Butyl (MT 007610) X 1/32" Butyl (MT007610) 0.5 5 9 0.25 HD000465-001 pine martin, lemurs

Collar Hardware

Telonics hardware is specifically designed and custom manufactured for the attachment of collars. The backing plates are non-corrosive brass with smooth surfaces and beveled edges to avoid sharp surfaces coming into contact with the animal. The nylon locking nuts are easily secured and have proven highly reliable.

Please order by part number. Hardware can be purchased separately.

Transmitting Antenna Options

Choosing the most appropriate antenna design is critical to the successful deployment and function of any transmitting subsystem. In wildlife applications, maintaining the long term integrity of the antenna design in a collar configuration can be difficult. Many species have habits that can damage or cause breakage to even the most robust antenna designs. The challenge to deploying an antenna on an animal stems from the fact that an antenna operates most efficiently in free space (i.e., a fully exposed antenna). However, a fully exposed antenna, sticking straight up into the air, would not last very long on a wild animal. For deployment on a collar configuration designed for terrestrial species, the antenna is integrated into the collar. Unfortunately when integrated into the collar and the collar is deployed around the animal's neck, the antenna is adversely impacted (detuned) by the mass of body and becomes a less efficient radiator. It is for this reason that the transmitters range performance (received signal strength) or in the case of an Argos unit received signal strength at the satellite is often better during tests "off the animal" than after installation of the collar "on the animal." The difference can be significant.

In some species, such as caribou, good antenna performance can be achieved easily with a small section of the antenna exposed (approximately two inches is often adequate). In caribou the exposed portion of the antenna is seldom damaged and often remains in tact throughout the course of a multi-year study. In other species, such as bears, wolves, cats, large African game, the small section of exposed antenna works very effectively, but may do so for only a short time. Ultimately, the antenna material will fatigue and break due to the physical abuse. This is true even using the best available multistranded stainless steel cable materials for the antenna. The remaining broken portion of antenna is a very inefficient radiative element. A broken transmitting antenna can result in reduced range performance or in the case of an Argos unit failure to effectively maintain the link to the satellite. An Argos unit can appear to have failed, but in fact the transmitter is still uplinking messages. The broken antenna means that the unit does not radiate sufficient signal levels to be detected by the receiver on board the satellite. A transmission may occasionally be received by Argos, but many or most are not. Alternative antennas designs have been developed and tried over the years. All attempt to extend the performance of the antenna over time and make the antenna last longer. Most of these alternative designs attempt to provide additional protection for the exposed portion of the antenna. Each reinforcement structure has certain advantages and limitations. The radome structure (RADOM-1) has been used to protect the Argos transmitting antenna by captivating the antenna inside a high-impact plastic radome. The radome itself is backfilled with polymer to provide strength to the structure. The dielectric of the polymer is adjusted to maximize the effectiveness of the antenna. In other instances the butyl flap (BTAB-1, 2, 3) reinforces the antenna by covering the exposed portion of the antenna with butyl collar belting material. Both these techniques have been used effectively in certain species. Other specialized antennas and/or reinforcement structures can be implemented as custom designs. To pursue a custom design please contact the factory.

Transmitting Antenna Specifications

Product Description Diameter (inches) Weight per Inch (grams) Length (inches)* Total Weight (grams)
TA-5UL Flexible whip,ultra light gauge, multi-stranded stainless steel 0.021 0.03 14 0.5
TA-5ULT Flexible whip, ultra light gauge, teflon coated, multi-stranded stainless steel 0.021 0.03 16 0.5
TA-5LT Flexible whip, light gauge, teflon coated, multi-stranded stainless steel 0.04 0.07 18 1.2
TA-5MT Flexible whip, medium gauge, teflon coated, multi-stranded stainless steel 0.062 0.19 18 3.5
TA-5HFT Flexible whip, heavy gauge, teflon coated, multi-stranded stainless steel 0.084 0.39 18 7

* standard length, can be trimmed to customer specifications

VHF Antenna Exiting Options

Product Description

This antenna is the standard external antenna option used in collars where no alternative external antenna option has been specified. This antenna is routed in between the layers of collar material to the first adjustment holes and then is exited through the flat surface of the outer layer of material. It is at this point of exit that the antenna is most susceptible to breakage. The length of antenna which is allowed to be external to the collar must be specified if less then 6 inches. Shorter lengths are less subject to breakage. Virtually any external antenna irrespective of the antenna material and gauge will fatigue and break at some point in time. In the case of most ungulate species and many others the collars battery will typically be exhausted prior to antenna fatigue. If early breakage occurs the remaining portion of antenna materials will still provide a radiative element, although range will be reduced.

This antenna design is as above but exits through the end of the collar material. The length of the material will be dependent upon the neck circumference, but typically no more then 6 inches of external antenna is desirable and is the standard unless otherwise specified.

This antenna is similar to the TEA-1 but the antenna exit point is at the mid adjustment point in the collar and the antenna is routed out of the collar in between the two layers of belting. The design is intended to run the antenna along the back of the animal. Again the length of external antenna should be specified if less then 6 inches.

The TIA is the standard internal antenna option for collars and is used by default if no other option has been specifically specified. The antenna is sewn between the layers of the collar material providing maximum protection against breakage. This option is typically used on bears, large cats, wolves, African big game, cattle and other species where severe mechanical damage has been documented in previous deployments. In this option the antenna terminates at or before the adjustment holes. For collars with a minimum adjustment range of approximately 27 inches or greater the full length of the antenna can be incorporated into the collar. For smaller collar circumferences the antenna may be cut short of a quarter wavelength in order to be terminated prior to the minimum adjustment holes. The physically shortened antenna can reduce the range performance of the system.

The antenna is as above, but the antenna is terminated at the end of the collar near the point of maximum adjustment holes on the collar. This approach allows more antenna to be incorporated into the collar but can bring the tip of the antenna in close proximity to the transmitter, battery, and environmental housing. In the case where the housing is a brass canister the antenna can be detuned and the range reduced. Typically this option is used if the only in configurations in collar with a maximum adjustment range exceeding 27 inches If the collar circumference is greater then 27 inches an entire quarter wave VHF antenna can be contained in the collar without foreshortening the antenna.

A counterpoise can sometimes be added to complete the quarter wave antenna configuration (called the driven element). The counterpoise is an additional section of conductive material often multi-stranded cable. This structure attempts to duplicate a true dipole (half wave) antenna. The performance of a dipole antenna is substantially better then a quarter wave antenna or driven element alone. Unfortunately, this option is only workable on large collars (neck circumferences exceeding 30 inches) because the counter poise must be physically separated from the driven element. This option is a special option that should be discussed with the coordinators at time of order.

This BTAB-1 reinforcement option utilizes a tab formed from two layers of butyl collar belting. The tab is integrated into the collar and the structure helps to provide a bend radius and additional protection for the external portion of the antenna. The BTAB-1 can be applied to the TEA-1 option. The length of the tab, between 1 and 4 inches, must be specified at time of order or the default of a 1 inch tab will be used in collar construction. The BTAB-1 is used primarily on VHF configurations.

Special Antenna Options

This category contains special options for external antennas offering additional protection or additional range performance.

Part Number Material

This BTAB-2 reinforcement option utilizes a tab formed from two layers of butyl collar belting. The tab is anchored to the collar by stitching and the structure helps to provide a bend radius and additional protection for the external portion of the antenna. The BTAB-2 can be applied to TEA-1 and TEA-3 options. The length of the tab must be specified at time of order or the default of a 1 inch tab will be used in collar construction. The BTAB-2 is primarily used on small Argos configurations.

The BTAB-3 reinforcement option utilizes a tab formed from the top layer of butyl material. The tab is tapered and angled to provide a natural bend radius and additional protection for the external portion of the antenna. The BTAB-3 is primarily used on Argos configurations.

The RADOM-1 reinforcement option utilizes a high impact plastic radome to shelter and protect the antenna from breakage. The radome also helps to shed ice from the antenna when deployments occur in frigid wet environments. This structure is typically used on polar bears and wolves. The RADOM-1 is primarily used on Argos configurations.

Casting Options

For some applications, it is advisable to cast either the antenna end of the transmitter housing or the entire housing in a high-density polymer that acts as a shock absorber. The casting material is not required for waterproofing of the unit; however casting is required for some species for the Telonics warranty to apply. For example, transmitters for moose, elk, some other large ungulates and all marine mammals must have the antenna end of the transmitter housing cast using the CAST-2 or CAST-4 option. CAST-1 is required for units for many large felids, canids, ursids, and bighorn sheep rams. The CAST-3 option or internal casting is also advisable for some applications to prevent the unit from crushing; e.g. collars designed for elephants are cast in this fashion.

Part Number Portions cast

Entire housing cast in polymer between the two layers of collar. A translucent amber cast is standard, but other colors are available.

Antenna end of housing cast in polymer. Normally colored to generally match the collar.

Similar to CAST-2, but with both the antenna end of housing and the space between the housing and collar cast with polymer. Normally colored to match the collar.
Photo unavailable
High pressure capability. Internally reinforced construction. Note: Various polymeric materials are available for this casting option. Some materials preclude refurbishment of the transmitting subsystem.

Color Coding Options

Collar colors

Researchers have used "color-coded" collars for many years. The ability to individually identify animals by sight alone is often helpful. The color-code selected can either camouflage the collar and make its presence on the animal as inconspicuous as possible or make the collar easily sighted by observers either to pin point location visually or to identify individuals where several animals are located in close proximity. In some cases, radio collars are color coded because of the difficulty in distinguishing between individuals in close association with one another.

Selecting a camouflage color-code to blend in with the animals pelage or the environment may minimize detection of the animal by potential predators or avoid making instrumented wildlife species appear "obvious" or "out of place" in areas such as National Parks. The public often prefers to view "natural scenes" in such situations.

If the research design requires individual recognition, but does not require radio-collared animals to accomplish study goals, colored-coded marker collars can enable visual identification of individuals.

Several factors need to be considered before deciding on the collar materials configuration:

  • Color retention can be an issue over an extended period of time. Two factors are important. The sun can bleach out the color and/or mud can obscure the collar over time. Constant abrasion against vegetation or scratching of the collar by the animal can destroy the surface color of the collar.
  • Colored tapes and their adhesives can become brittle in cold weather or gooey in hot weather.
  • Collars should be built as wide and large as possible to distinguish between colors. Colors, which appear to be distinguishable at noon under bright sun, are indistinguishable at dusk under low light level conditions. Not many colors can be distinguished under all lighting conditions.
  • Multiple colors on a collar make the construction cost of the collar quite high because sewing multiple materials together can be labor intensive.

Despite some limitations, this technology is useful in many research situations both for radio-collared animals and for animals that do have radio collars. Irrespective of the various reasons for color coding of collars much has been learned about this technology over the past thirty years.

The CC-1, CC-2 and CC-3 can be applied to standard telemetry collars (units with telemetry units mounted on the collar) for terrestrial mammal applications. Alternatively, marker collars can be ordered from Table 1 that do not have a telemetry unit attached and are used for visual identification only. The collar code options described below are additive to the cost of the standard collar.

Part Number Type Notes

Single color Specify color for each collar: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, light blue, beige, gray and white.

Two color Specify two colors for each collar: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, light blue, beige, gray and white.

CC-2 Vertical Striping
Two color vertical This color coding option allows for two colors of herculite material sewn together vertically. Specify two colors for each collar: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, light blue, beige, gray and white.

Three color Specify three colors for each collar: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, light blue, beige, gray and white.

PVC Color Marker These are available for use on medium to small sized mammals. These marker collars are available in a variety of colors, are punched for the specified adjustment range, and come with the appropriate attachment hardware.