Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review Of The D240X From Pettersson Elektronik

I’ve always wanted to buy a good quality, hand-held time-expansion detector. So, I was really excited about the opportunity, to test and review this unit! If after testing it for a few nights, I determine that it is the perfect bat detector - Then, I may have to start saving up to actually buy one!

The detector was delivered to me (here in the US) much sooner than expected (in less than a week!) from the manufacturer in Sweden. The unit was double-boxed, and was very well packaged. OK: Upon un-packing, I was immediately very pleased with the included accessories!
I really liked the very nice nylon case it comes with (see photo), it features a belt loop and comes with an over-the-shoulder strap; the cutest little yellow screwdriver for adjusting the VRs - The variable resistor sensitivity adjustment points. I like the fact that the unit itself also has a white nylon wrist strap (permanently attached).

The large, front-facing LCD displays the center of the tuned frequency while used in heterodyne mode. This heterodyne frequency display is not related to the time-expansion section of the unit; which (when active) is always monitoring the full HF spectrum (from 10 all the way up to120kHz!). The layout of controls was designed very thoughtfully. With the most frequently used switches on the front of the unit. The D240X is simply loaded with features! I like the Low/High Gain Switch on the front, with the useful Overload Indicator LED.

I think of this model, as being two detectors: A top-of-the-line heterodyne, and a very capable HF/time-expansion machine. The TE portion of the detector is always recording any detected ultrasonic sounds it hears. It then sends the (slowed-down) audio, to either the front firing speaker, or one of the two (3.5mm) outputs. As one might expect, the detector is very sensitive! I found it a pleasure to use.

This detector is designed to allow a user to listen for bat sounds using the heterodyne output. Using this method, you may wait until you hear a good bat pass before triggering the TE recording. This helps you to avoid recording low-quality, or weak bat calls.
The unit was designed using an advanced electret microphone element. I’ve recently become familiar with all of the interesting advantages (and dis-advantages) of the various microphones that are used in bat detectors today. Of course, the subject of microphones alone, is fascinating to me. There is a lot to be said for the advantages of the electret microphone design.

It seems that a lot of manufacturers are starting to make more and more detectors that function by simply using a high sample rate. Such as 200kHz and above. Reminiscent of a top-of-the-range recording device - Interesting.
Perhaps one day soon, almost all time expansion detectors will work this way? The way Dodotronics's Ultramic200K does, as an example. 

Well, I was interested in reviewing a "typical" (real) time expansion detector. A handheld unit, that is easy to use in the field. And, I realize that the D240X is not a new model; but it is one of the lowest-cost time-expansion bat detectors currently available; of the "stand-alone" type.
This D240X, is a worthy (and perfect example) to serve as a baseline - for it to be looked upon as an industry standard (after all, it actually is already). This unit has been used for years: By countless Bat Workers, Bat Researchers and other Professionals. As many of you are aware, Pettersson Elektronik also manufactures the D1000X model; for discriminating Professional Bat Researchers.  
Perhaps more importantly, the D240X may serve as a model, for all of these new types of "time expansion" bat detectors to be compared to.
In the case of my regular use: I usually place bat detectors, on a small platform outside my back window (coupled to a digital voice recorder). Each of the voice recorders have some type of digital "voice activation" feature. Detector and recorder are connected by a shielded, 3.5mm stereo cable. So, I effectively record only bat-made sounds. The Pettersson D240X fits in with my nightly routine perfectly.

Technical specifications:
Type: Heterodyne and time expansion (x10 or x20)
Frequency range: 10 - 120 kHz (min.)
Display accuracy: +/- 0.15 kHz
Bandwidth (het.): 8 kHz (+/- 4 kHz), -6 dB
Sampling frequency: 307 kHz
Memory size: 1M x 8 bits
Resolution: 8 bits
Storage time: 3.4, 1.7 or 0.1 sec. (selectable via switch)
Trigger modes: Manual, level - broadband, level - narrowband
Pretrigger: 50% of the selected storage time
Battery: 1 x IEC 6LF22 (9V)
Quiescent current: 30 mA typ. including LCD backlight
Size: 119 x 60 x 25 mm
Weight: 170 g. including battery
Outputs: 2 x 3.5 mm jacks for headphones and recording device (appr 350 mVrms/3.3 kohm).
Comment switch: Yes
Miscellaneous: Overload indicator, adjustable input gain, replay of signal in memory through heterodyne system,
control output for relay
Using the detector in intense electromagnetic fields may cause interference and/or temporary signal loss.

From the User Manual: "The transformed sounds are monitored either through the built-in loudspeaker or through headphones connected to the PHONES jack. A tape recorder or other recording device may be connected to the
TAPE jack to make recordings of the transformed sounds or the direct microphone signal (if the COMment button is pressed, the microphone signal is directly connected to the TAPE output to enable the recording of spoken comments on the tape)."
Now that is very clever! 

When you see a bat detector, that was designed with both a Headphone and a Tape-Out (or Line out) know that serious thought went into it's design. Features like these, remind you that you're using a serious piece of equipment.

What all this basically translates into, for me - Is simply a great set-up, that produces wonderful TE recordings of nightly bat activity. I'll also mention, that I've tested the D240X using both inexpensive models of digital voice recorders, as well as a Zoom H1 stereo recorder. Recording is possible with mono recorders, but only the heterodyne portion will be recorded. This is by far, the best sounding heterodyne detector I've ever heard! I can't really describe it, other than to say the sounds are so clear & crisp. Even accidental pick-ups of harmonics from bat calls sound great!

With a relatively inexpensive stereo recorder, such as the Zoom H1: Something really cool happens - You get a recording of the Heterodyne sounds on one channel, and the time expanded sound on the other. Really neat! 

Likes: Small size, fits nicely in the hand, back-lit LCD (also serves as a battery power indicator), the various sensitivity adjustments (both switch & VRs), independent output jacks, very nice custom case, etc.

Dislikes: Battery snap should be a heavy-duty, hard plastic type, Power On (rotary) Switch should be less easy to turn on. The unit switches on with very little effort. I would prefer a "stiffer" click/indent. But, I imagine most people would prefer it the way it is.

What else can I say? The Pettersson D240X is a world class instrument. I feel as if someone gave me the keys to their Mercedes for a week... And, I'd like to thank Lars Pettersson, of Pettersson Elektronik, for the loan of the machine.

Click here for heterodyne sonograms from The Pettersson D240X

Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Latest Update, From YS Design Studio Re: The USD6 Bat Detector

OK, forgive me if it seems that I'm dwelling on this detector - But, in light of these new operating instructions: I must make Folks aware, of some Features that until now, were unknown. These new functions are interesting and seem like a "hidden bonus" of sorts.

Here are the operating instructions, as I've received them (from Mr. Sugimoto, of YS Design in Japan).
Below these, I will list and explain what they actually mean, in fuchsia (to the best of my ability).

For the USD6 Ultrasonic Detector:

YS Design Studio

●BatDetector USD6 4 Mode Select

MODE-0 (o0) VOLUME ONLY Frequency ADJ
MODE-1 (o1) Push Switch ON + VOLUME  ADJ
MODE-2 (o2) Push Switch ON + VOLUME  ADJ
MODE-3 (o3) Auto Scan

One hand Operation OK

●MODE Change Operation
1.Push Switch ON + Power ON(Volume)ON

2.MODE Volume Rotary Select
o0 → o1 → o2 → o3

3.Enter → Push Switch

  Mode Run
For the USD6 Ultrasonic Detector:

●BatDetector USD6 4 Mode Select - There are 4 separate Modes, that the unit may operate in.

MODE-0 (o0) VOLUME ONLY Frequency ADJ - In this Mode (o0) the unit behaves as a normal heterodyne bat detector. Volume knob: Changes volume and Frequency/Tuning knob: Adjusts frequency. The tuned frequency is constantly displayed.

MODE-1 (o1) Push Switch ON + VOLUME  ADJ - This Mode (o1) is similar to the above. Except the unit doesn't constantly display the tuned frequency. Volume knob: Changes volume and Frequency/Tuning knob: Will only adjust the frequency IF you press the small red button while turning the Tuning Knob. So, it essentially behaves like a "Tuning lock" of sorts. Preventing accidental changes to the set frequency.

MODE-2 (o2) Push Switch ON + VOLUME  ADJ - This Mode (o2) is similar to the above. Again, the unit doesn't constantly display the tuned frequency. Volume knob: Changes volume and Frequency/Tuning knob: Will only adjust the frequency IF you press the small red button while turning the Tuning Knob.

MODE-3 (o3) Auto Scan - This Mode (o3) is similar to the above. Again, the unit doesn't constantly display the tuned frequency. Volume knob: Changes volume. The neat part here, is that the Auto Scan feature is activated by momentarily pressing the red button. The unit then goes into a (single) fast scan through it's frequency range (10-73kHz). I expect this to be useful while observing a bat in flight: You can point the detector at it, press the red button, and the unit will stop on the center frequency of said bat. The Frequency/Tuning knob: Will only adjust the frequency IF you press and release the small red button, then turn the Tuning Knob.

One hand Operation OK

●MODE Change Operation
1.Push Switch ON + Power ON(Volume)ON - This refers to how you "toggle" between Modes. Or, in other words, how the different Modes are selected. It is done by powering the unit on while holding down the small red button. The letters "Se" are displayed, and when you release the red button: The Mode you are currently in is displayed.

2.MODE Volume Rotary Select
o0 → o1 → o2 → o3 - This ability to change modes, using the Volume knob does not work on my unit. What I've found: Is that the only way to toggle between Modes, is to power the unit off each time. Then, each time you power on, while holding the red button - You will see that it is in the next Mode of the sequence. 

3.Enter → Push Switch - This (red button) is pressed to lock in your Mode selection.

  Mode Run - The red button is then used to begin/start running in your selected Mode.

Any new owners of this unit, may feel free to ask me any questions regarding it's operation.
...And a recent pic:

Happy bat detecting!

Roger's Bat Blog

Check out my friend Roger's Bat Blog - Roger's Bat Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review Of The USD6 Detector - From YS Design in Japan

The USD6 Bat Detector, from YS Design (in Japan) is a heterodyne type detector. The current cost, is 14,800 Yen (approximately $194.00 US dollars + Shipping). It utilizes a Knowles MEMs microphone element, and as you'd expect: It's very sensitive! I really like the layout of the controls and knobs. They are all labeled, as you can see from the various photos (from the YS Design Web pages).

This detector uses a standard 9v / PP3 battery. I like the fact that the designer uses a heavy-duty, hard plastic 9v battery snap top. Battery life on this device is wonderful: I was able to monitor bats for almost 4 entire evenings; before having to replace it. And, that was using the regular (standard) Alkaline battery provided. It wasn't even a "name-brand" battery. So, imagine the mileage you'd get with a Duracell!

The speaker is mounted behind the unit, but does not hinder the hearing of sound in any way. Indeed, this detector provides all the audio you would want and more.
The USD6 also features a Tape Out jack (3.5mm); so you can hook up a (voice-activated) recorder, for un-attended recording of bat passes. As many of you know: That's my favorite part!

The unit covers the ultrasonic spectrum, from 10 to 73kHz. Manual tuning is done by pressing the small (front mounted) red button, until the red dot appears in the lower right-hand side of the display: Then, you can release the button, and turn the Frequency knob to your desired frequency. Trust me: It's much easier than it sounds! The only negative I can report, is that you need two hands to operate it (change frequency). Again: Pressing the small red button, on the front, "enables" the Frequency Control Knob.
The other neat "feature" I like, is how the MEMs mic element is recessed into the metal cylinder. It's great, because it's well protected down there...and I also like the way it illuminates red when the unit is powered on. I can't say for sure whether it was intentional or not...but it looks cool!
As I type this, YS Design Studio is working on an English-version of the User Manual. It will be available soon (most likely, in PDF format).
It is fun to use, very sensitive and looks great!
See the short video, attached - It is simply a video of the inexpensive (mono) recorder I used, to make an un-attended recording tonight - I just wanted you to hear the (recorded) output.

You may contact Mr. Sugimoto, via e-mail, at E-Mail YS Design

Happy bat detecting!



...I must apologize for the lousy video quality, but the digital camera I had to hand, just happened to be my oldest one : ( I'll be sure to use my good camera, for future videos...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Breaking news - Discovery of a new Detector - It looks Awesome!

The next detector reviews, to be posted here; will be of The USD6 from YS Design in Japan. Followed by the (incredible) D240X from Pettersson Elektronik in Sweden.

But, in the meantime, my friend John of the Durham Bat Group recently informed me of a detector I've never seen before. I really, really, like it!
And, I just had to make a quick post, to share. The creator of The ListenUp bat detector has a short video up on YouTube of it: ListenUp Bat Detector

There is just enough info on there, to get Bat Enthusiasts (like me) very excited!
It's a very clever design. And, I really wish that the creator would please sell me one!
I'd open up my piggy bank for one of those (it is that cool!)

Happy bat detecting!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The USD6 Bat Detector from YS Design in Japan

The USD6 Bat Detector, from YS Design in Japan arrived here in the US this morning! Yay!
My sincere thanks to Mr. Sugimoto and Mr. Ono, for making it happen!

Some of what I can say so far, is: The unit was sent using Express Mail, it was double-boxed, with generous amounts of bubble wrap. It was so well packaged, that I believe it could have sailed around the world (on the deck of a ship) and still got here in perfect condition! : )

The unit is a bit smaller than expected, but very solidly built. Quality components are used, throughout the exterior construction: Very nice. This detector came equipped with a fresh 9v / PP3 battery; and has a nice "heft" to it, when held in the hand. Pictures will soon follow...
Preliminary tests of sensitivity were great!! The unit is VERY sensitive! Another point of interest is: That even with the Volume turned all the way to maximum - No feedback or distortion is heard! Bravo! Making this unit excellent for Bat Walks.

Well, I've saved some of the best news for last: YS Design Studio is now able to accept orders from all over the world! Yay!

I'll just provide the Web links below, for now- A full, detailed review will be posted up here; in the near future.

YS Design - Babelfish Translated To English

YS Design - Original Page in Japanese

Happy bat detecting!

日本のYSの設計からのUSD6バット探知器は、米国で今朝ここに着いた! Yay! 氏および氏Ono、なぜならそれを作ることのおかげでSugimoto私の誠実な起こる! 私が今のところ言ってもいいものをのいくつかは次のとおりである: 単位は泡覆いの寛大な量と速達、それを使用して二重囲まれた、送られた。 そうよく包まれた、私が信じるそれ世界中でまだ(船のデッキで)航海し、完全な状態でここに得たかもしれないことを! : ) 単位は予想以上に小さいビットしかし非常に頑丈に造られてである。 質の部品は外部の構造中、使用される: 非常に素晴らしい。 この探知器は新しい9v/PP3電池によって装備されていて来た; そして素晴らしい"を持っている; heft" それに、手で握られた場合。 映像はやがて続く… 感受性の予備テストは大きかった!! 単位は非常に敏感である! 興味のもう一つのポイントは次のとおりである: 最高にずっと回る容積とこと-フィードバックかゆがみは聞かれない! Bravo! この単位をバットのために優秀にさせて歩く。 それで、I' veは最後のための最もよいニュースの一部を救った: YSの設計スタジオは世界中からの順序を受け入れられる今! Yay! I' llはここにの上で完全な今はAにちょうど網リンクをの下で、詳しく述べられた検討掲示される提供する; 近い将来に。

Very useful link, from Pettersson Elektronik, In Regards To Recording

Here is a very useful link, from Pettersson Elektronik - I really like this page! 'Unattended bat call recording with the D240X and Zoom H2' - Great stuff! - D240X Recording 

(I will be using my Zoom H1)

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just some miscellaneous stuff...

The latest USD6 Bat Detector, from YS Design Studios, in Japan reminds me a bit, of one of my friend Larry's (home-made) designs:

If home-made electronic projects interest you, you may want to check out his Electronics Projects page.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

こんにちは Kon'nichiwa! Bat detecting in Japan!

こんにちは Kon'nichiwa!
Are you Folks ready for this? A really cool bat detector from Japan! I like the colorful look of it's decal design. Neat!

I've actually known about this detector, from YS Design in Japan, for several years...periodically checking the Web site...watching it develop and slowly evolve, into the capable device it has finally become : )

There is a language barrier, as the designer doesn't speak English. He now has the benefit of more than one person to act as translators - So, this is great news!
However, he is currently in the process of getting his PayPal account set-up, etc. And very soon, he will be able to accept orders from the US and all over the world, using PayPal as a payment method. We'll just have to have a bit more patience... I'll definitely post an update when this will be possible (payment via PayPal). Again, it will be very soon!

-----  So, if you live in Japan, you are lucky! Because you can go ahead and order one right now!  -----

And, if you live someplace other than Japan, you may even go ahead and send YS Design (Mr. Sugimoto) an e-mail inquiry.

You have got to see this! Check it out! Multiple photos and bits of info can be seen on the links below:

...And, I couldn't resist placing a pic of the unit right in this post! Isn't it just the most adorable bat detector you've seen?
I once read somewhere, that if a man is to "remain young", he should continue to think as a 14-year old...Well, the 14-year old in me really likes the look of this detector! (Just reverse the two numbers, and you get my real age : ) Sorry, I'm not sure what age women are supposed to think like...

YS Design Studio has graciously offered to loan me one of their latest units, to test and review (for a week). So, I'll have a full, detailed review posted here on this blog, in a couple of weeks.

They will also begin working on an English version of the User-Manual, so that is also good news. I try to update this blog everyday, and I've also recently added the 'Follow By E-Mail' option to the front page. I tried it out myself: It's pretty neat! I'd like to remind readers, that there are quite a few detector reviews on this blog - So, please use the Search feature to find a particular detector/device you're looking for. And, don't forget to have a look at the older posts, under the Blog Archive.

----- 従って日本に住んでいれば、幸運である! 先に行き、1つを今発注できるので! -----

貴方達はこれの準備ができているか。 日本からの実際に涼しいバット探知器! 今度は氏現時点でだけSugimotoが日本の人々から順序を受け取るか、または処理できること、私を前もって示すことをちょうど許可しなさい。 製造業者doesn'として言葉の障壁のビットが、ある; tは英語を話す。 但し、彼は彼のPayPalの記述の組み立て、等を得ることの過程において現在ある。 そしてすぐに、彼は米国および世界からの順序を受け入れられる。 I' これが可能である場合の完全にllのポスト更新。 従って日本に住んでいれば、幸運である! および順序1先に行くことができるので! これを見るなる! それを点検しなさい! 下記のようにリンク:

私は毎日このブログおよびI'を更新することを 試みる; veはまた最近'を加えた; E-Mail'によって続きなさい; 第一面への選択。 私はそれを自分自身試みた: It' 端正なsかなり! I' dは読者に思い出させるのを好むそこにそれはこのブログのかなりの数の探知器の検討である-そう、特定の探知器か装置you'を見つけるのに検索機能を使 用しなさい; 再捜すこと。 そして、don' tはブログのアーカイブの下でより古いポストを、見ることを忘れている。

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Pettersson D240X Bat Detector is on it's way...

Just a short post, for now: I've been informed that the Pettersson D240X bat detector is on it's way. I'm really excited about testing and reviewing this unit! And I must add, that Lars Pettersson is really a very nice guy.
In the meantime, I've been studying the documentation for it, to become familiar with it's features, etc.
Of course, I've been searching the Web; and taking the time to really look at this unit (some web pages have good photos of it).
From what I've seen and read so far, no compromises were made when this detector was designed and built. Everything is solid and high-quality; from the tuning & volume knobs, to the switches, to the large (back-lit) LCD. It's designed to provide professional results, and last for many years. Below, is the pic from the Pettersson Elektronik Site:
As another example - Have you ever seen a Pettersson D1000X? In the world of bat detectors: It is the pinnacle of Swedish engineering.
If bat detectors were cars, Pettersson would be the Koenigsegg of bat detectors... : )

Stay tuned, for the full (detailed) review...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New version of Dodotronic's Ultramic now available! The 250K

Just a short post here - To let you know that Dodotronic have developed a new, improved version of their Ultramic. In addition to the original Ultramic200K, there is now also an Ultramic250K. As the name implies, this new mic features a 250Khz sampling rate. Both versions are now available, for order from their Website

Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The NEW Batscanner from Elekon Part 3 Of 3

The new Batscanner from Elekon, is a scanning heterodyne type bat detector. Thankfully, the local weather has been cooperating; so I was finally able to do some good testing of the detector. What follows, is the conclusion, of my 3 Part post.
So, the Batscanner has been picking up bats, and works as it should - When a bat flies within range, the echolocation is heard from the front speaker. And, if the user wishes to listen with headphones: Any standard headphones (with 3.5mm plug) work fine. I tested the unit with several name-brand earphones, and didn't encounter any problems. As expected, when headphones/ear-buds are plugged in, the front mounted speaker is disabled.
I have also tried some extensive testing, with the detector hooked up to various recorders. I did not end up getting any good results. As per the manufacturer, this detector was never designed to be used for un-attended recording. It was made for listening.

I agree that the Batscanner is, in fact very easy to handle & listen with. In my case, I just like to experiment with recording from different bat detectors. And, of course, it's always fine with frequency division detectors. But, as we know: Recordings from heterodyne detectors are practically useless anyway -

When using the various NiMh rechargeable batteries (as mentioned in Post 2) I noticed that I got mixed results; and short battery life. Then it occurred to me: The fact is, the Batscanner was designed to use 3 1.5v AAA-type batteries. The rechargeable batteries are rated at 1.2v (although, most times, they do provide higher amperage). Not a problem. Going forward, I'll be using high quality alkaline disposable batteries; and I've already noticed an improvement in performance and length of battery life. So, that's good.

An interesting discovery:
Upon testing frequency response/frequency read-out by producing known frequency tones: The display did not seem accurate. In fact, the only way I can get the display to read anything at all, is if I produce a 20 kHz tone... Nothing else was picked up or registered (10, 30, 40, 50, 60kHz..etc.). The program I used is called Usonic. It's a free, DOS-based program that uses your computer's "beep" speaker - Sometimes, it will use one of your main speakers, on a laptop, for instance. If interested, you can download it HERE (from the Durham Bats Group Website). In any case, I contacted Elekon about it, and found out that this is by design. A very clever design, I might add! Here is an excerpt, from Elekon's reply: 

 "...but you underestimated us. If you go outside and "listen" to the bats you should have no other animals or noise you hear. The point is that we are triggering bats with a complex hard- and software - combination. If you have a linear signal we know, that it is not a bat and don't display it."

Wow! Is that amazing, or what?!? What this also means, is that the unit will not focus on any unwanted sounds that you may encounter in the field. Very cool!

All-in-all, I like this detector! It's sensitive, perfect for Bat Walks, and displays the peak frequency of the last bat that flew by. Helping the user get closer to making an identification of the species. 
All this, for only $265 US (+VAT and/or shipping). I'll probably be writing a simple one-page, review of this unit in the near future. And, I'll provide a link to where it will be. 

Happy bat detecting! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The NEW Batscanner from Elekon! Part 2 Of 3

Well, the good news, is that I'm now the happy owner of a brand-new Batscanner from Elekon.
The bad news, is that it will be raining here for the next 3 nights! : (

Since I'm currently unable to write one of my regular, full reviews yet (with no bats on the wing); I'm anxious to share what I can, about this new detector. So, this is Part 2, of a 3 Part post.
Part 3, will be a full review of The Batscanner, along with a performance report, of how well it picks up bats, etc., etc.  : )

Let's see...As I stated, in Part 1 - The unit is sensitive! One can immediately tell how sensitive it is, simply by powering it on, and rubbing your fingers together in front of the microphone. The microphone on this unit, is the now popular MEMs type. When in the field (without any man-made or electronic interference nearby):
Pressing the power button will cause the unit to display three dashes " - - - " on the (green) LED display.
In contrast to powering it on indoors, where it will latch on to whichever electronic signal that reaches it first.
As you can see, in the photo below:

The above photo was taken very close to a WiFi router and laptop computer, so...

As you can see, this unit fits very comfortably in the hand! It also seems to fit in just about any pocket. The unit simply displays the last frequency that was detected; until a new bat flies by, within it's range. I believe this is a clever arrangement. It is also useful, in case you weren't looking at the display during the bat pass - You can just look down & see what the detected peak frequency was.

For now, the only "nit-picking" I can do, is in regards to battery changing. You do need a small Phillips head screwdriver in order to remove the 2 small screws that hold the battery door in place. But, as far as I'm concerned this arrangement isn't too bad. My minor issue, is that you need good dexterity to properly insert the batteries. It's a slightly tight fit. I've found an easy method: Always insert the (+) positive side of the battery first, then the (-) negative side will slide in easier. Another issue of concern, is that the unit seems to power itself off, after about 30 minutes of inactivity. Not very good for un-attended recording! It seemed to have powered off at least 4 times during the night (I kept checking it, of course). I needed to press the power button, to turn the unit back on. Hmmm...I'll have to look into this further; and possibly contact Elekon.

I've always used NimH re-chargeable batteries, in all my bat detectors. This one is no different. Many years ago, I learned (from the R/C toy hobbyist "community") that Sanyo brand batteries were tested & found to be the best performing batteries of all. So, I try to buy them whenever I can. Battery usage for this unit seems good. Luckily, there has been very little rain this evening - I've installed 3 newly-charged AAA (Sanyo) batteries, and I've already picked up some bats (using the BatBox Baton). The Elekon Batscanner was set-up, right by it's side : ) I've just finished going through those recordings. And, it seems that the Batscanner was unable to produce any good recordings yet... I'll need to find out why that is.

Here is a quick pic, of the two digital voice recorders in use, along with one of Sanyo's latest batteries; called 'eneloop' -
These Olympus recorders are both set to use the 'VCVA' (voice-activated) recording feature. Finding the correct combination of volume setting on the new detector and the VCVA setting on the recorder (on the right) has proven to be quite frustrating.

So far, I like this detector! Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Elekon Batscanner testing.

Click here for Batscanner From Elekon Review Part 3 Of 3

Happy bat detecting!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The NEW Batscanner from Elekon! Part 1 Of 3

Well, I was very happy when the UPS guy handed me a small brown box this afternoon: As I looked it over, I realized it could only be one thing: The new Batscanner bat detector, I ordered from Elekon, in Switzerland. Yay! It got here (in the US) faster than I thought it would. My compliments to Elekon, for the fast shipping!
Since we've been having some ideal weather for bats, my next thought was "This is going to be fun!"
Approximately $265 US dollars for Elekon's Batscanner (fully built) + Shipping costs (depending on where you are, of course). The unit arrived well packaged and protected:

Some first impressions - I love the compact size, and comfortable feel it has when held (more pics in next post). I really like the green LED display, and the sensitivity of this unit is just amazing!!
(more on that later, in the full review). And, I also love the fact that it features a line-out jack: For headphones, or for recording! (my favorite part). As for sensitivity, a neighbor was playing with his dog in the back garden; and the unit picked up the dog's panting from 10 meters away : ) This is definitely a detector to watch! It is not featured on Elekon's Web site yet - Since it's so New. But, it may be ordered by e-mailing them at:
Next post, will be a full test and review!
In the meantime, check out my friend Roger's excellent comments and thoughts on this unit, which may be seen here: Roger's Batscanner Review
The Batscanner is now also available for purchase, from NHBS:

Tune-in tomorrow - Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Frequency Division Bat Detectors, This And That...

...Somewhere between heterodyne and time-expansion bat detectors, lies the frequency division detector. Not the bottom-of-the-range model FD detectors, mind you - But units that are closer to top-of-the-range.
These are the units that are very useful for bat detecting. Many of them have good pick-up range; and produce favorable recording results. These results are often clear enough, to enable you to make decent sonograms. Especially if the system retains amplitude.

Amplitude retaining FD bat detectors do exist. An excellent overview, and simple explanation of amplitude retention may be seen Here.

Two models of FD detectors that immediately come to mind are:
The Ciel CDB205 and The BatBox Baton.

The Ciel CDB205 is a Frequency Division bat detector that allows you to observe the whole spectrum of bat sounds from 18 to 120 KHz simultaneously. The whole spectrum is divided by 10 and can then be heard on the integrated speaker. It can also be connected to a recording device over the high level line out, for analysis or listening at a later date. The unit comes with an integrated LED torch for detecting in the dark. Requires a 9v battery which is not included with the device.

The BatBox Baton is a simple but versatile bat detector having a monitor speaker allowing reduction of frequencies between 20kHz to 120kHz. The division factor is 10, reducing the sounds of a 50kHz bat to 5kHz. The unit comes with a version of BatScan sound analysis software, developed especially for the Baton.

Having owned, and extensively used both of these kits; I can recommend the BatBox Baton as the better detector of the two.

The Ciel 205 had neat little features that I liked: The translucent green buttons are illuminated, when powered on, the volume is adjustable, and it has the built in LED "torch" (AKA flashlight) to find your way out of the woods with. Each of these features prove to be cool; especially if the majority of use will be during Bat Walks. The CDB205 has recently been replaced with a new version, now known as Revision 2. The 9v - PP3 battery is installed by plugging it into a (heavy-duty plastic) 9v battery snap, inside the compartment in the back.

The BatBox Baton is slim and compact, making it even more portable than your average bat detector. It's single Power On/Off button is inconspicuous - Illuminating with 4 rather muted points of LED light 'round the button itself. Indicating the On/Off status of the unit. Depending on what was available on the date of manufacture - You may get Blue or Red lights. Battery compartment is robust and simple. I use re-chargeable 9v - PP3 NiMH batteries. And, I've replaced batteries in my unit countless times - Without anything ever breaking down or wearing out.

As I've posted on this blog before: One of my main concerns, in regards to the performance (and value) of a bat detector, is it's ability to pick up bats well, and at good distances. Well, the Ciel is a nice detector, and I had used mine quite a bit. However, the BatBox Baton's sensitivity was simply amazing. Thanks in part, to it's use of a MEMs microphone element - It picked up bats very well (and clear), from unprecedented distances away.
Until now, the Baton had been the "Undisputed Champ" of long-distance bat detecting. But, it has finally met it's match - With the release of Dodotronic's Ultramic200K microphone. This new, USB microphone is able to pick-up/record bats at distances of 50 meters away! : )

So, the record stands...until the next bat detector comes out, that can beat it!

Tune-in tomorrow - Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The NEW Minibox and Horchbox 2.0 from!

Just a preliminary post, to let you know about some brand NEW bat detector equipment I found. You can see pictures (and read other info) of the devices on the Web links provided below:
The new Minibox and Horchbox 2.0 from Batomania , in Germany - I will be reviewing the new Minibox and the Horchbox 2.0, probably at the end of this month (June 2011).
Of interest to some Researchers and Biologists, is the fact that the brand-new Horchbox 2.0 unit features a GSM/GPS module! This can be configured to send status data to the Internet, so you can see what the status and position of the box is at any given moment.
You can't get any recording data, but you can check the battery status, the SD Card and the overall system state. You will also be able to change some of the configurations of the box. The GPS information is also stored on the SD Card, so you can later check where the recordings have been made.
Here's a "Group photo" of the New equipment:

Fledermäuse! (one of my new favorite words!)

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, June 3, 2011

So, What If A Time Expansion Bat Detector Isn't In Your Budget?

On the subject of time expansion bat detectors. What is one to do, if one cannot afford a TE detector, but would still like to be able to identify the bats that are being picked up? Well, in my opinion, the next best thing would have to be a detector that displays the frequency of the calls being received. A Bat Scanner.

Basically, as their name implies, a scanning bat detector scans through the typical bat echolocation frequencies. Quite similar to what is commonly referred to as a "Police scanner". Anyone who has used a radio frequency "Police scanner" should have an idea of what I mean.

At the time of this writing, there are only 2 bat scanner detectors in production:

The Bat Scanner, heterodyne detector (kit) from Tony Messina, in the US.
- And -
The Batscanner, heterodyne detector (pre-built) from Elekon, in Switzerland.

I have already written and posted a full review of the Bat Scanner kit, from Tony Messina - On this blog, and on other Web sites. It is only available in a (partially built) kit form. So, if you are not familiar with building electronic kits, or have no experience soldering (electronic components) then you have no choice, but to go with the Batscanner from Elekon.

I have placed my order, for the Batscanner from Elekon. So, as soon as it arrives, I'll be able to do some testing. And, I'll be posting the results here.

Tune-in tomorrow - Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!