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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Two New Ultrasonic Bat Detectors From Batomania - Part 2 Of 2

The two new HF bat detecting boxes, from Batomania - The Horchbox Ver. 1.5/2.0 and Minihorchbox:
During testing, both units appear to feature the same (general) level of sensitivity. Some interesting features that stand out (on both units) are:
The ability to select 3 main options for their Triggering Algorithm. The main available options, under 'How To Record' are:
Threshold - Bat Detect - Combined 
I like the performance of the 'Bat Detect' setting (which is also the default). The algorithm was designed very well. When in use, bat calls are practically the only sounds recorded. In general, it functions very well, and I have no complaints.
In addition, Sensitivity is also adjustable, using a numerical value of 1-250; so there's lots of flexibility and room to experiment. In my tests, I've found settings of ~ 9 to 15 to work well.
There is also a Rain Filter option you can select - Which helps avoid recording the sounds of rain. Very neat! As well as several Sample Rates to choose from. For example, on the Minihorchbox, there's -200kHz, -300kHz and -600kHz. In fact, to see exactly what the Configuration Menu (from the Minihorchbox) looks like, see this screenshot below:

 
As you can see, pre-determined record times (scheduled On/Off) can easily be set, via the green Time Box Control (at the bottom).

This is what a typical list of  nightly recordings looks like:
(notice the detailed information provided for each recording)


And, when you double-click / Open a recording, you are presented with this screen. In addition to the visual representation of the call, you can also press Play, to listen to the entire recording, or just sections. In this screenshot, I've place the light green Marker right at the beginning of one of the bat calls that were picked up. Of course, there are other options available to you for manipulation of the recording:


And, as you can see below - Clicking the Spectrum button provides you with spectral analysis, and another assortment of controls, to aid in the manipulation and study of the recording:


Here is another (simple) modified example. I used the Search Loudest Call feature. This was produced and saved, using the Save Diagram option :
Of course, there are a multitude of settings, preferences, and modifications possible.


You should keep in mind, that the original Horchbox 2.0 is just as capable as the Minihorchbox - And in many cases, may be the unit which is preferred. Also, the Horchbox has a few other advantages over the Minibox. Such as GPS/GSM capability and longer recording time. It all depends on the needs of the individual user.
I happen to dwell on the Minihorchbox a bit more, since it's my favorite, of the two!
Until now, there has not been a device like it - Which is like having an advanced bioacoustics recorder, that fits right in your pocket! I love it!
The final feature that I'd like to mention, is the GPS/GSM feature of the Horchbox. When GPS is selected prior to placing the device in it's monitoring location: The exact location of the device can alter be recalled and displayed using Google Earth/Satellite View (by default). With GSM enabled, the Horchbox can be accessed remotely, providing the owner with various data, from any Web browser: This is accomplished by utilizing GSM/cellular technology.
Of course, if you are interested in one of these ultrasonic recorders; a visit to the Batomania Website will explain even more.

Many thanks, to Marcus Borst, of Batomania; for the loan of the equipment and accessories.

Happy bat detecting!

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