Avian Species VHF Systems (TMU)

Telonics avian transmitting subsystems utilize three distinct technologies offering researches a wide range of options for instrumenting different bird species ranging in size from 30 grams to several kilograms.

The TMU/H series offers fully packaging hermaticity. The transmitter, battery, and all interconnects are housed in brass housing similar to the packaging approach used for mammals. The antenna is exited from the configuration through a glass to metal hermetic feedthru. This technology provides the ultimate in proven water proofing technology for long term multi year applications.

The TMU/LB series of units use the same electronics and batteries as the TMU/H series however the packaging technology is polymeric. In most instances the new classes of polymers provide excellent water resistance for up to two years which often exceeds the projected operational life of these smaller configurations. A great advantage of the TMU/LB configurations is a very favorable operational life to weight ratio. The polymeric housing also offers a "softer interface" to the bird's body and avoids thermal issues associated with TMU/H systems using metal housings.

The TMU/CHP use the same packaging technology as the TMU/LB configurations but a lower power transmitter is employed. The CHP transmitter is matched to current delivery capabilities of the small batteries used in the configurations. These battery systems perform well at moderate temperatures but are limited on the low end to about freezing. The TMU/CHP allows the user to deploy high reliability units on smaller bird species that otherwise would not be able to be instrumented with the TMU or the TMU/LB configurations.

Various sensor options exist for different configurations including temperature sensing, activity sensing and mortality sensing. The proper implementation of these sensors can provide additional useful or even critical biological data.

There are numerous mounting techniques for most of the avian configurations with suitability to various species. Gluing is often used on passerines, necklaces are often used on grouse, backpack harness are often used on raptors, turkeys, and ducks, neckbands on geese, legbands on cranes and so on. The selection of a mounting technique has both biological implications and transmitter performance issues that must be considered. The handling of the dressing and length of the external antenna as well as the material thickness, weight, and construction will affect the durability and survivability of the antenna on the animal. The choice of the preferred mounting technique used for a specific species has often changed over time. Over the years, the influence of a specific mounting technique(s) on the species behavior has become better understood. We recommend that researchers check the literature and consult with colleagues on the suitability of a particular mounting technique for a specific species. In some cases, implant technology should be considered as opposed to an external mounting technique (see implantable transmitters).

Key Features

  • TMU series transmitting units are specifically designed for avian research.
  • Various packaging technologies are used to match operational life to the bird, deployment environment and study duration.
  • TMU/H and TMU/LB series units are microprocessor controlled and feature programmable duty cycles to extend life and customize the sensor technology to the research objectives.
  • TMU/H and TMU/LB series units have "typical" range performance of 1-5 km miles ground to ground, 5-25 km range ground to air and even better performance air to air*.
  • TMU/CHP series units match power output and operational life to the capabilities of small battery used to power these devices for optimal performance on small species of birds.
  • TMU/CHP series units are capable of providing "typical" ground to ground range performance of 0.5 to 1.0 km*.
  • Most units offer numerous attachment options designed to minimize impact of the device on normal bird behavior. Researchers can choose the most effective mounting technique for specific species.
  • Most configurations are able to withstand the hydrostatic pressures experienced during an underwater dive. Please call for details for applications on deep-diving birds.

*All references to range performance can be dramatically affected by antenna length, behavior; habitats conditions, and assume a state of the art receiving subsystem. These references are not a guarantee but are provided to give an idea of the system performance.

Models

Hermetically Sealed Canister Systems

Configuration Dimensions L x W x H (in, cm) Unit Weight (g) Transmitter Electronics Operational Life @ 60BPM, Std Pow (months) Operational Life @ 60BPM, Low Pow (months) Microprocessor Control Options
H-040 1.4 x 0.5
3.6 x 1.3
14-16 MK8 0.7 1.8 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS4
H-050 2.2 x 0.7
5.6 x 1.7
27-30 MK8 7.5 19.2 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-073 1.25 x 1.1 x 0.4
3.2 x 2.8 x 1.0
21-22 uMK7 4.1 10.5 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS6
H-075-2 1.3 x 0.7 x 0.9
3.3 x 1.8 x 2.3
29-31 MK12 5 7.2 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-080-2 1.3 x 0.7 x 0.9
3.3 x 1.8 x 2.3
34-36 MK12 9.7 14 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-125-2 1.6 x 0.9 x 0.8
4.1 x 2.4 x 2.0
47-53 MK12 14.5 21 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-205-2 1.7 x 1.3 x 0.7
4.3 x 3.2 x 1.8
54-58 MK12 14.2 21 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-225-2 1.75 x 1.3 x 0.75
4.4 x 3.3 x 1.9
80-85 MK12 24 34 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-311 1.4 x 1.4 x 1.1
3.5 x 3.5 x 2.8
88 MK9 10.3 n/a MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
H-336-1 1.4 x 1.4 x 1.1
3.5 x 3.5 x 2.8
105 MK11 15.5 n/a MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5

LB Polymer Systems

Configuration Dimensions L x W x H (in, cm) Unit Weight (g) Transmitter Electronics Operational Life @ 60BPM, Std Pow (months) Operational Life @ 60BPM, Low Pow (months) Microprocessor Control Options
LB-35 1.68 x 0.8 x 0.5
4.26 x 2.03 x 1.27
14.5 MK8 4.1 10.5 HRI
LB-37 1.68 x 0.8 x 0.5
4.26 x 2.03 x 1.27
15 MK8 4.1 10.5 HRI
LB-38 1.68 x 0.8 x 0.5
4.26 x 2.03 x 1.27
14.5 MK8 4.1 10.5 HRI
LB-420 2.7 x 1.4 x 1.4
6.9 x 3.4 x 3.4
135 MK12 36.1 51.8 MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5
LB-421 2.7 x 1.4 x 1.4
6.9 x 3.4 x 3.4
135 MK11 19.9 N/A MS6, MA, MS9, MDC, MS4, MS5

CHP Systems

Configuration Dimensions L x W x H (in, cm) Unit Weight (g) Transmitter Electronics Operational Life @ 60BPM, Std Pow (months) Operational Life @ 35BPM, Low Pow (months) Conventional Control Options
CHP-5P 1.34 x 0.52 x 0.27
3.41 x 1.32 x 0.69
6.8 CHP 8.5 13.6 S2
CHP-6P 0.90 x 0.52 x 0.27
2.28 x 1.32 x 0.69
3.7 CHP 4.2 6.8 S2
CHP-7P 0.73 x 0.35 x 0.27
1.85 x 0.89 x 0.69
2.2 CHP 1.6 2.7 S2
CHP-8P 0.80 x 0.32 x 0.15
2.03 x 0.81 x 0.37
1.2 CHP 0.7 1.1 S2

CHP Conventional Control Sensor Options

OPT. S2 Temperature Sensor. Sensor provides pulse rate which varies according to temperature within the transmitting subsystem. User specifies desired pulse rate at anticipated median temperature and approximate range of temperatures to be monitored. Pulse rate increases at higher temperatures and decreases at lower temperatures.

Photo Gallery

Specifications for Transmitter Electronics

MK8 Transmitter General Specifications

The MK8 Transmitter is a single frequency, microprocessor controlled pulsed-CW transmitter, designed for operation in the 140 - 220 MHz frequency range.

Frequency Range140 - 220 MHz
Frequency Tolerance ±17 ppm max @ 25°C
±25 ppm max -40°lC < Temp < +60°C
(<7ppm typical w/ variation in load impedance - 6:1VSWR)
(<3ppm typical over supply voltage range at room temperature)
Temperature Range-40°C to +60 °C (Note: Temperature range is for the transmitter only. The power supply must provide the required peak current and voltage requirements for the transmitter over the expected temperature range.)
Shutdown ComponentExternally shutdown by presence of a small magnet
Output Power
Output Power OptionPeak Power Output Levels
Relative to Standard Power
Low0.5 x
Standard1 x
High2 x
Extra high5 x
RF Pulse Width15 msec standard
Can optionally be configured from 12 - 255 msec
Pulse PeriodConfigurable from 200 - 10000 msec (6-300 Bpm)
Spurious EmissionsNon-coherent Spurs <-50 dBc
Harmonic SuppressionCoherent Spurs <-10 dBc
Available Sensors Motion (Hg switch - activity/mortality) - options MS6, MA
Position (Hg switch - head up/head down) - option MS9
Temperature Triggered Mortality Sensor - option MS5
Temperature Measurement Sensor - MS4
Option Resolution at standard center temperature of 37°C Calibrated Accuracy
MS4-400 0.4 deg ±(0.6°C + cal. uncertainty*)
±20°C from center temperature
MS4-400 0.4 deg ±(0.9°C + cal. uncertainty*)
±40°C from center temperature
MS4-410 0.1 deg ±(0.15°C + cal. uncertainty*)
±10°C from center temperature
*(Note: "Cal. uncertainty" is the error inherent in the calibration procedure. This value is dependant on the end users calibration procedure and equipment accuracy.
For example, if the calibration process measures temperature to within ±0.1°C, then the MK8 calibrated accuracy would be:
- For 0.4 deg resolution option
±(0.6deg + 0.1deg) = ±0.7degC (±20°C)
±(0.9deg + 0.1deg) = ±1.0degC (±40°C)

- For 0.1 deg resolution option
±(0.15deg + 0.1deg) = ±0.25degC (±10°C)
Seasonal Timing 8 factory programmable on-off duty cycles - option MDC
Typical timing accuracy of < ± 30 min/yr is reasonable for most applications
Chart reflects known error limits
Temperature (°C)Error Limits (min/yr)
-40°C~ -73 to -105 (extrapolated)
-20°C-25 to -58
0°C2.6 to -29
25°C±16
50°C2.6 to -29
70°C-25 to -58
FCC Emission Designator 1k00P0N
* California Users - The MK8 transmitter exceeds the emission designator requirement of 2k00P0N for operation in California. The MK8's 1k00P0N emission designator is identical to 2k00P0N except that it occupies only half of the 2 kHz bandwidth allowed by the State of California for wildlife tracking.

MK9 Transmitter General Specifications

The MK9 Transmitter is a single frequency, microprocessor controlled pulsed-CW transmitter, designed for operation in the 140 - 220 MHz frequency range.

Frequency Range 145-160 MHz, 160-175 MHz, 175-190 MHz, 210-230 MHz
The MK9 can generally be programmed in 10 kHz steps within a given frequency range (e.g. 148.010 - 148.020 MHz). Intermediate steps may be available - contact factory for details.
Frequency Tolerance Better than ±25 ppm over temperature and voltage range
Temperature Range -30 to + 50°C (Note: Temperature range is for the transmitter only. The power supply must provide the required peak current and voltage requirements for the transmitter over the expected temperature range.)
Shutdown Component Externally controllable by presence of a small magnet
Output Power Programmable standard/ high power (1x/ 2x measured into 100Ω load).
Output Power OptionPeak Power Output Levels
Relative to Standard Power
LowNot Available
Standard1 x
High2 x
Extra highNot Available
RF Pulse WidthConfigurable from 15 - 250 msec
Pulse PeriodConfigurable from 400 - 2000 msec (30-150 Bpm)
Spurious Emissions<-40 dBc at frequency offset > 10 kHz from carrier
Harmonic SuppressionBetter than 30 dB (>40 dB typical)
Available Sensors Option MS6 - Mortality Sensor (parameters are user programmable)
Option MS9Tip Switch (head up/head down - user programmable)
Seasonal Timing Option MDC - 8 programmable seasons, 8 programmable on-off duty cycles within each season. Programmable real-time clock control seasons and duty cycles. Programming can be completed at the factory or in the field with the purchase of software. Typical timing accuracy of <± 30 min/yr is reasonable for most applications. Chart reflects known error limits.
Temperature (°C)Error Limits (min/yr)
-40°C~ -73 to -105 (extrapolated)
-20°C-25 to -58
0°C2.6 to -29
25°C±16
50°C2.6 to -29
70°C-25 to -58
FCC Emission Designator 1k00P0N
* California Users - The MK9 transmitter exceeds the emission designator requirement of 2k00P0N for operation in California. The MK9's 1k00P0N emission designator is identical to 2k00P0N except that it occupies only half of the 2 kHz bandwidth allowed by the State of California for wildlife tracking.

Data Logging Option (Option 350)

The Data Logging Option for MK-11 and MK-12 transmitters (Option 350) allows sensor data from the MS6 mortality-motion sensor, MA activity sensor, and/or the MS4 temperature sensor to be stored in transmitter memory and made available for download if the transmitter is able to be retrieved at the end of a study. Additional information regarding how these sensors work is provided in the Sensor Options section below. This option requires use of Telonics Data Converter to download the stored data.

When this option is selected, data from any to all of the three sensors can be stored in internal memory in the transmitter. The sensors can either be directed to also control pulse period/rate or not, in the same way they would function without the data logging option. As one example, if all three sensors were enabled, either the MA activity sensor or MS4 temperature sensor could be used to control the transmitter’s active/alive pulse period, and the MS6 mortality-motion sensor would define the inactive/mortality pulse period after time-out without the required amount of motion.

For the MS6 motion-mortality sensor, the data logging records each date and time the sensor switches from active/alive to inactive/mortality or back. (The most recent 9-16 such transitions are recorded even without this option, but this option stores all such transitions).

For the MA activity sensor, the data logging option stores accelerometer data at user-defined intervals. These intervals may be the same throughout the anticipated life of the transmitter or they may change “seasonally”. The activity data recorded is the number of active seconds (or other defined classification interval) during a defined collection interval. For example the number of active seconds in a one hour collection interval would be saved as a number between 0-3600. User’s also select whether or not the collected activity data controls the transmitter’s pulse rate. If selected, the activity collection schedule for pulse rate control can either match the schedule for data which is logged, or it can be different.

For the MS4 temperature sensor, the data logging option stores temperature data at user-defined intervals (in 0.16oC increments). These intervals may be the same throughout the anticipated life of the transmitter or they may change "seasonally". User’s also select whether or not the collected temperature data controls the transmitter’s pulse rate. If selected, the temperature collection schedule for pulse rate control can either match the schedule for data which is logged, or it can be different. However, sampling to control pulse rate has a maximum interval of 18 hours and it remains constant for the life of the transmitter (no seasonal changes).

Specifications for Transmitter Electronics

MK11/12 Transmitter General Specifications

MK-11 and MK-12 beacons are microprocessor controlled pulsed-CW transmitters, designed for operation within the 137 - 225 MHz frequency range. Each MK-11 beacon transmits on a single, field-programmable frequency (within the frequency range that is ordered). MK-11 beacons also support 3 field-programmable power levels. The MK-12 beacon is crystal based, and therefore each beacon is built to operate on a specific frequency and with a specific power output (four power levels to choose from when ordering).

Frequency Range MK11:
137 - 143 MHz (option 700),
143 - 156 MHz (option 710),
154 - 164 MHz (option 720),
162 - 174 MHz (option 730),
164 - 182 MHz (option 740),
182 - 201 MHz (option 750),
201 - 222 MHz (option 760)

MK12:
140 - 225 MHz
Frequency Tolerance MK11:
Calibration: ±3 ppm max at room temperature / ±5 ppm from -40° to +70°C
Aging: <1ppm/yr
Shock: <1ppm 3000g x 0.2ms x ½ sine x 3 directions

MK12:
Calibration: ±17 ppm at room temperature / ±25 ppm from -40° to +70°C
Load: <7ppm typical for VSWR < 6:1
Supply Voltage: <3ppm typical over supply voltage range at 25°C
Aging: <1ppm/yr
Shock: <1ppm 3000g x 0.2ms x ½ sine x 3 directions
VSWR Stability MK11: RF output stable to 10:1 VSWR, all phases.
Radiated harmonic levels are degraded with poor load VSWR.
Spurious emission specification maintained for > 10:1 VSWR.

MK12: RF output stable to 5:1 VSWR, all phases.
Radiated harmonic levels are degraded with poor load VSWR.
Spurious emission specification maintained for > 5:1 VSWR.
Output Power
MK11: Field Programmable using TPP
Transmit Power Peak Power Output
Relative to Medium Power
Low 0.5 * Medium Power
Med  
High 2.0 * Medium Power

MK12: Ordering Options for Power Level
Option Transmit Power Peak Power Output Levels
Relative to Standard Power
200 Low (Temperature > -20°C) 0.5 * Medium Power (Higher efficiency)
202 Low 0.5 * Medium Power
204 Medium  
206 High 2.0 * Medium Power

Output power is measured into 50 Ω load. Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) varies, depending on packaging, antenna configuration, and immediate environmental conditions.
Emission Designator MK11: 2k00P0N -
California users: These transmitters meet the California requirement of EIRP < 0.009 W for all conditions.
MK12: 1k00P0N -
California users: These transmitters exceed the emission designator requirement of 2k00P0N for operation in California. The 1k00P0N emission designator is identical to the 2k00P0N except that it occupies only half of the 2 kHz bandwidth allowed by the State of California for wildlife tracking.
Harmonic and Coherent Spurious Suppression MK11: <-30 dBc into 50Ω load
MK12: Coherent Spurious <-10 dBc
Spurious Suppression MK11: <-35dBc typical at > 10kHz offset from carrier
MK12: Non-Coherent Spurious <-50 dBc
RF Pulse Width 15 msec standard
Can optionally be configured from 10 - 250 msec
Pulse Period Configurable from 250 - 5000 msec (12-240 Bpm)
RTC Accuracy / Seasonal Timing Temperature Compensated:
± 12min/yr max
Temperature Range -40°C to +70°C (Note: Temperature range is for the transmitter only. The power supply must provide the required peak current and voltage requirements for the transmitter over the expected temperature range.)
Shutdown Component Externally shutdown by presence of a small magnet
Available Sensors
MS6 Mortality - Motion Sensor
MA Activity Sensor
MS4 Temperature Sensor
MS5 Temperature-triggered Mortality Sensor
Sensor descriptions available separately

VHF Transmitter Sensor Option Descriptions

MK8 Microprocessor Control Sensor Options

Opt. MDC MK8 Duty Cycles Transmitters can be programmed to cycle through up to eight sequential time periods or "duty cycles" in order to extend transmitter life. Within each duty cycle, the transmitter can either be "on" or "off". Pulse rates can be uniquely defined for each "on" duty cycle. Each duty cycle can be defined from eight seconds to approximately 50 months in length. Duty Cycle timing begins at the moment the magnet is removed to initialize the transmitter. Upon completion of the last programmed Duty Cycle Period, the transmitter begins again at the first duty cycle.
Opt. MA Activity Sensor Varies the pulse period depending on the relative activity level of the animal. A motion-sensitive switch detects animal movements and the microprocessor monitors changes in the state of the switch (open vs. closed). A user-defined evaluation time is established and the number of switch state changes is recorded by the microprocessor. The maximum number of state changes is limited to one per second by the software. The transmitter pulse period varies between two user-defined pulse periods. One pulse period corresponds to "no activity" and the other corresponds to a user-defined "maximum activity level". A graph supplied with the transmitter correlates activity level and pulse period.
Opt. MS4 Temperature Sensor Monitors body temperature in proximity to the collar on the animal (pulse period varies with temperature). User may define the desired pulse period vs temperature characteristic of the transmitter (contact factory for details). Standard temperature resolution is approximately 0.4°C. Optional high-resolution circuitry provides approximately 0.1° C resolution.
The MS4 temperature sensor circuitry provides accurate temperature measurements, even when the transmitter cannot be recovered and recalibrated after period of data collection. This virtually eliminates calibration drifts due to aging and battery voltage changes over time.
Opt. MS5 Temperature-Triggered Mortality Sensor This option determines a mortality event in an endothermic animal with a stable body temperature. Faster (mortality) pulse rate is triggered when body temperature drops below a user specified temperature.
Note: Pulse rate is returned to original rate if temperature rises back above the specified temperature. Consideration of the ambient temperature is a consideration in selection of the transition threshold. For example, temperature-controlled sensors would probably not be suitable in areas where high ambient temperatures would prevent rapid cooling of body after death. This option is often used in monitoring waterfowl mortality events where motion sensitive mortality sensors may not be applicable (e.g. where the body may continue to be rocked by waves on the surface of a lake). Available in all implant configurations. Please contact the laboratory to discuss implementation of this sensor before ordering.
Opt. MS6 Mortality-Motion Sensor Provides "active or alive" or "inactive or dead" pulse period depending on activity state of the study animal. A motion-sensitive switch is incorporated in the unit to detect animal movements. The microprocessor continuously monitors the motion switch to determine when motion occurs. Once per second, the microprocessor increments an "activity counter" if motion was detected during the preceding one-second time period. This "activity counter" keeps a running total of the number of times motion was detected over a user-defined mortality evaluation time (8 sec to 6 days). The active pulse period is maintained as long as the number of switch closures in the mortality evaluation time is greater than the mortality threshold. If the number of switch closures falls below the established threshold, the unit produces the inactive period. A separate resurrection threshold allows the unit to return to the active pulse period if the number of activity counts during the mortality evaluation time exceeds the resurrection threshold.
Note: The microprocessor updates the active/inactive pulse period at intervals of 1/16th of the evaluation time. This means that after the "resurrection" threshold criterion is met, there will be a delay of up to 6.25% of the evaluation time before the transmitter reverts to the "active" pulse period. The same is true with the transition between "active" and "inactive" pulse periods. The actual time between cessation of motion and initiation of the "inactive/dead" pulse period can be up to 6.25% longer than the evaluation time.
Opt. MS9 Tip Switch Sensor Transmits one of two different pulse rates depending on orientation of the transmitter. Usually designed to switch pulse rates as it passes through an angle of 0° (parallel to horizontal). Other switching angles may be selected with some configurations (factory set within 10°).** Typical uses include monitoring "head up" and "head down" positions.

MK9 Microprocessor Control Sensor Options

Opt. MS6 Mortality-Motion Sensor Provides "active or alive" or "inactive or dead" pulse period depending on activity state of the study animal. A motion-sensitive switch is incorporated in the unit to detect animal movements. The microprocessor continuously monitors the motion switch to determine when motion occurs. Once per second, the microprocessor increments an "activity counter" if motion was detected during the preceding one-second time period. This "activity counter" keeps a running total of the number of times motion was detected over a user-defined mortality evaluation time (8 sec to 6 days). The active pulse period is maintained as long as the number of switch closures in the mortality evaluation time is greater than the mortality threshold. If the number of switch closures falls below the established threshold, the unit produces the inactive period. A separate resurrection threshold allows the unit to return to the active pulse period if the number of activity counts during the mortality evaluation time exceeds the resurrection threshold.
Note: The microprocessor updates the active/inactive pulse period at intervals of 1/16th of the evaluation time. This means that after the "resurrection" threshold criterion is met, there will be a delay of up to 6.25% of the evaluation time before the transmitter reverts to the "active" pulse period. The same is true with the transition between "active" and "inactive" pulse periods. The actual time between cessation of motion and initiation of the "inactive/dead" pulse period can be up to 6.25% longer than the evaluation time.
Opt. MS9 Tip Switch Sensor Transmits one of two different pulse rates depending on orientation of transmitter. Usually designed to switch pulse rates as it passes through an angle of 0° (parallel to horizontal). Other switching angles may be selected with some configurations (factory set within 10°).** Typical uses include monitoring "head "up" and "head down" positions.
Note: The MK9 transmitter integrates the time spent "head up" vs "head down" with ~0.5sec time constant. If the transmitter position changes rapidly with respect to the integration time constant, the resulting pulse period will be between the "head up" and "head down" pulse period, providing an indication of the average amount of time the transmitter spent in the two positions.
Opt. MDC MK9 Duty Cycles Transmitters can be programmed for up to eight sequential time periods or "seasons", generally used to extend transmitter life. During each season, the transmitter may be "enabled" or "disabled". Timing is controlled by a Real-Time-Clock, allowing seasons to start and end on any desired calendar date and time, regardless of when the transmitter is initialized. Once the transmitter enters the last programmed "season", it continues to operate under the last season's parameters for the duration of the transmitter's lifetime.
Within each season, the transmitter may be programmed with an on/off "duty cycle" to further extend transmitter lifetime. Each on/off cycle can be defined in one hour increments from 1 hour to 255 hours (about 10.6 days).

MK9 Field-Programmable Transmitter Parameters

Option MK9PCU MK9 transmitters are factory programmable and fields programmable with the purchase of MK9PCU PC-based software. Programmable parameters include:
  • Frequency - 3 bands available standard
    • 145-160 MHz
    • 160-175 MHz
    • 216-220 MHz
    • Other bands available - contact factory for details
  • Pulse Period
  • Pulse Width
  • Mortality parameters
  • Tip Switch parameters
  • Duty Cycle configuration

Sensor Options for VHF Transmitters using the MK-11 or MK-12 Electronics

MK-11 or MK-12 Sensor Options

Attachment Options

Backpack Harnesses

Backpack harnesses are designed to position the Argos transmitter on the back of the bird between the wings. These harnesses generally work into the feather tracks and are secured on the breast. Various harness materials have been used including but not limited to soft leather strap, elastics or bungee cord, and 1/2- or 1/4-inch Teflon ribbon. The following backpack harness materials are available from Telonics.

Teflon Ribbon Harness Materials

MT-000555-001 Teflon ribbon harness material for small-bodied birds. Width: 0.25" (0.64 cm) Weight: 1.5g/foot. Priced per foot.

MT-000555-002 Teflon ribbon harness material for large-bodied birds. Width: 0.5" (1.3 cm). Weight: 3.0g/foot. Priced per foot.

Aprons, Bibs, and Ponchos

Aprons, bibs, and ponchos are designed to mount the transmitting subsystem on flat durable material such as herculite. A hole is cut into the material to allow the bird's head to fit through; the material and the system is then draped over the neck. This kind of mount is often used successfully with Gallinaceous birds that be adversely impacted by a backpack harness. The antenna is dressed along the material and exits past the neck and then drapes over the back of the bird.

Necklaces

Necklaces are designed to be similar to apron mounts; however, the material used may make the final assembly more closely resemble a collar. In general, the necklace holds the transmitter closer to the neck as compared to an apron mount.

Patagial Mounts

Patagial mounts are designed such that the transmitting unit is on the wing of the bird. This technique is typically used on large, strong birds that soar such as vultures. The transmitter is glued or tied with suture to a soft durable strip of material such as herculite. The material is wrapped around the patagium and riveted or glued. The transmitter is thereby positioned on the dorsal surface of the wing. The antenna is in the same orientation as the primary feathers.

Neckbands

Neckbands are designed to mount the Argos transmitter on a standard-colored plastic neck band. These bands are used routinely by the federal and state agencies to color mark and number waterfowl. They are coiled and expand to fit around the neck. No fastener is used. Typically the antenna is glued to the plastic band in a manner that allows the antenna to be exited on the dorsal surface of the neck. A section of exposed antenna is often necessary to maintain the link with the satellite and this section of antenna is always more subject to damage/breakage than the portion of the antenna glued directly to the plastic band. If the external portion of the antenna is broken the link to the satellite can be lost. These bands are not available from Telonics and must be procured and provided by the researcher at time of order. There is a charge for mounting the unit on the band.

Legbands

Legbands are similar to the neckbands described above, but they tend to be smaller in diameter. Legbands are often used to mark long legged wading birds. They are typically mounted high on the leg and actually rest on the "knee". Weight is important because units that are too large can cause the band to wear against the skin of the knee joint. The exposed antenna is easily accessible by the bird and is therefore subject to preening and possible damage. As a final note, the antenna is positioned in a place where it may be submerged in the water and the link to the satellite is lost during this time period. These bands are not available from Telonics and must be procured by the researcher. There is a charge for mounting the unit on the band.

Tail Mounts

Tail mounts are used to directly attach the transmitting unit to one or two deck feathers of the bird's tail. This technique has the great advantage of using the natural molt of the bird's tail feathers as a breakaway mechanism. The units must be placed on hard pinned feathers and the antenna is often tied with surgical suture to the feather shaft. The timing of the attachment relative to the molt is an important consideration. Although the double feather mount is more stable and distributes the weight of the configuration over two feathers, there is always a concern that one feather will likely molt before the other, leaving the transmitting unit dangling from the remaining feather until it breaks at the shaft or pulls out.

Glue

Gluing the unit directly to the skin of the bird involves the use of cyanoacrylic glues (super glue). This technique minimizes the weight of the final configuration. There are no additional materials like harness material to contribute to the total weight of the final system. It should be noted that some bird species will remove a glued unit within a short time period.

Implantation

Implantation is a technique used to place the transmitting unit in the body cavity of the bird. The unit is coated in a physiological wax to minimize immunological reactions. This technique has the advantage that the unit is near the center of gravity: like a glued unit, there is no additional weight contributed by attachment devices. In species that do not wear external devices well, this may be the only practical means to instrument the animal. Unlike VHF telemetry implants, the technique is complicated by the need to exit the Argos antenna out of the body cavity in order to achieve a successful link to the satellite. The technique usually involves having the surgical implantation process done by a veterinarian that specializes in birds. This technique has been used successfully in the instrumentation of several species of sea ducks.

Legacy Products

The information below is provided for individuals who are still deploying these older systems. Some of the system information or limitations, information on frequency allocation or usage, and/or comments made on "state of the art" may be time sensitive or even outdated. Please contact Telonics if you have any questions about the information provided in this section.

Telonics still supports and refurbishes the following products but no longer sells them new: