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Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Ultrasonic Device From Pettersson Elektronik

I was very happy to learn of a New Ultrasonic Device from Pettersson Elektronik.
It's a USB-based ultrasonic microphone called The M500


There will be a new version of Batsound Software released, to run it with. Judging from this small screen-capture, it looks very promising:


Happy bat detecting! 
...And Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Update For November -And- Rescue Of An Injured Dog

Well, the cold weather conditions have finally arrived here in Southeastern New York. I've been waiting for some ideal (and "interesting") weather conditions to occur before I set the detector(s) out again.
What type of weather conditions? ...That's easy: The type that have been known to prevent bats from taking flight/foraging, etc. For example - Cold, wind & rain. It's been written that bats won't take flight or forage if:
  • Temperatures are below 60 Deg. F 
  •  It's windy (> 10 or 15 MPH winds)
  •  There is rain or heavy fog present
There's also been some speculation, in re: to the phases of the Moon having an impact on the number of bats detected. It's basically part of what might be called my on-going experiment / "research" - In my case, this translates to: Entries in my Journal(s) as well as the occasional blog post here. It's time to continue my experiment and see what kind of results I get. 

And, of course, there are still a ton of recordings from recent past months which I need to analyze, organize, etc. As I've written before: Winter is a good time to do this!

"In other news" ...As fate would have it: Two of my Nieces rescued a dog that was run-over by an automobile. They saved it's life, by bringing it directly to a 24Hr Animal Hospital. 
Since the Veterinary bills are very high - And, they are college students trying to make ends meet...They set-up a page so that Folks can make a donation, to help. - I'd like to take this opportunity to share the link Here.

Happy bat detecting!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another End Of Season Bat Detector Sale On SM2BAT+ Units

Just a quick post, to inform you that there is another Sale going on now: For ex-hire SM2BAT+

Also, I was recording bats here last night, during 13 Deg. Celsius temperatures and substantial wind. I haven't analysed the recordings yet... But, as always, I was happy to hear them!

Happy bat detecting!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shopping For A New Detector?

If you're shopping around for a new bat detector, you may want to have a look at the Wildlife & Countryside Services Site. 

If you do visit, be sure to browse detectors by (clicking on) the name brand. Here is the link to the bat detector section: Link

It will look like this:

Quick Links:

Anabat    Batbox    Ciel    Elekon    Magenta    Pettersson Wildlife Acoustics
Heterodyne    Dual Function    Frequency Division    Multi Mode
Bat Detector/Recorders    Digital Recorders
Sound Analysis Software

 

That way, you'll be able to read an original mini-review of each one.

Happy bat detecting!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Several Mini-Reviews Of Bat Detectors - With Convenient Links To The Full Reviews


More than one Reader suggested, that they'd like to see some of my detector reviews more conveniently located on the Blog. In other words, easier to navigate back & forth from - For ease of comparison, etc. One Visitor, informed me that they had trouble locating reviews of specific bat detectors they were interested in.
So, what follows, are a bunch of Mini-Reviews of bat detectors; with convenient Links to the full Reviews (including a couple of digital recorders at the end). I hope having all of these reviews in one Post proves useful for those trying to decide on a bat detector to purchase.
More than one of the Reviews are of machines that have been discontinued/replaced by newer models. But, I did not omit them, for the sake of completeness.

Beginning with some of the offerings from Wildlife Acoustics:

EM3+: The EM3+ is the latest version of a revolutionary, advanced bat detector which is packed with features. The first (and only) handheld bat detector to have a live spectrogram display. This instrument detects bats in: heterodyne, full spectrum and time expansion. It records bat calls in full spectrum, and zero cross format, with a 16-Bit/384kHz sample rate (which enables recording of Lesser Horseshoe Bats). The calls are conveniently recorded to the (included) SD card, in .wav format. It’s like holding a bioacoustics lab in your hand.


SM2BAT+: 
The SM2BAT+ is one of the best passive monitoring/recording solutions available. Researchers have used the SM2BAT+ for various studies: Many have been conducted not only for bats, but for birds, singing insects, and amphibians as well. Proof of it’s versatility. Some of it’s unique features are: Two channels for recording bats at two elevations (or locations) simultaneously, coverage may be increased by placing two microphones up at different heights. The system also features very flexible programming options.                                                                                                                     
Compared to the Pettersson D500X, The new SM2BAT+ offers: Double the battery life in full spectrum mode, and 8 times the battery life in zero cross mode. There are more than a few built-in filtering options available. And a fully weatherproof enclosure and microphone(s). All this, for half the price of The Pettersson D500X; I suppose it’s no wonder that over 10,000 units are currently in use around the Globe. Once I became familiar with it’s operation, I found it easy to use and hassle-free, for my nightly recordings.


BatBox Baton: An excellent choice for a Beginner. An easy-to-hold, frequency division detector which features simple, one button operation – Yet has amazing sensitivity, and remarkable performance for it’s price (an excellent value). A digital recorder/audio cable can be added, to get started with recording of bat calls. It is lightweight, sturdy, and very comfortable in the hand. When powered on indoors, a slight hiss is heard from the speaker – I’ve always considered this to be an indication of it’s sensitivity; and have never found it offensive. Also, this is not an issue when outside detecting bats. However, not everyone shares my view on this. This robust little detector is supplied with a copy of BatScan sound analysis software. My unit had served me well, for many years.
 
BatBox IIID: A very good quality heterodyne detector. Features a very accurate, digital display (of tuned frequency) with backlight, and the ability to operate/tune the detector with one hand. Excellent build quality; including a sensitive, broadband electret microphone element. The microphone on this unit has a wide bandwidth (greater than 16kHz) which assures excellent response and performance.

BatBox Duet: A favourite amoung many Bat Workers and bat hobbyists. This unit is very popular, and for good reason: It offers the heterodyning ability of the IIID, along with an easy-to-read, digital display with backlight - And adds the ability of frequency division. A voice commentary button for annotating recordings is another highlight. Good choice for recording to digital recorder (for call analysis later).

BatScan Software: This software’s ease-of-use, affordability, and wonderful results make it an ideal choice for hobbyists just starting out. The application displays sonograms, which are easily manipulated, along with the ability to playback (listen to) calls on the spot. May be used on recordings made with many different types of detectors; using several methods. (frequency division and up recommended). Also allows those starting out, the ability to grow with the application (as the more advanced techniques and “tricks” are learned). An ideal choice for Beginners wanting to try examining the sonograms obtained from recorded bat calls.

BatBox Griffin: An amazing machine that comes close to perfection in an advanced bat detector. This is the top-of-the-range detector from BatBox, Ltd. It features an aesthetically pleasing and informative display. Very versatile, allowing bats to be heard using heterodyne, frequency division or binaural mode. This advanced unit records bat calls in time expansion mode, and has many built-in options available. While this unit is advanced, it is also a pleasure to use. It can be set-up for an evening of unattended recording in less than 30 seconds.


Pettersson D100: I’ve had the opportunity to use one of these units while assisting a Bat Walk. I was very impressed. It’s hard to beat a detector with 3 high-quality microphones! This instrument is equipped with 1 electret (condenser) and 2 ceramic (piezo) microphones, a large front-mounted speaker, with an illuminated section of the frequency dial indicating the tuned frequency.  The D100 is a tunable heterodyne unit, which is able to produce plenty of clear, quality audio – so that everyone in a small group can hear the calls clearly. During my testing: Bats were detected (and clearly heard) even before they were within visual range. Features plenty of sensitivity, high-quality build throughout, and a built-in wrist strap.

D200: Pettersson bat detectors are known for their wonderful-sounding, high-quality heterodyne detectors. As with their other detectors, the D200 has a broad tuning range of 10-120kHz – The ability to tune down to 10kHz, allows one to try their hand at identifying singing insects, if so inclined. Personally, I happen to enjoy listening to (and recording) singing insects. 

D230: Pettersson makes outstanding heterodyne detectors, which produce the most pleasing heterodyne sounds I’ve ever heard. If you are after a high-quality heterodyne, a unit from Pettersson would be hard to beat. The bonus of the this unit, is it’s two instruments in one. While listening through the front-firing speaker: You may choose between heterodyne or frequency division (via a switch on the front). And, if using headphones: Heterodyne portion is heard on the left, whilst frequency division is heard on the right. The D230 is an excellent choice to take along on Bat Walks, it has plenty of (adjustable) volume to spare; allowing small to average-sized groups to hear the calls without difficulty.

Pettersson D240X: This bat detector is practically a legend in it’s own time. This model has been intensely popular amoung Professionals over the years. Don’t be fooled by it’s compact size: The fact that the D240X is small (fits easily in most pockets) almost belies it’s capabilities as top-of-the-range instrument. It allows you to listen to the both the heterodyne, and the time expansion activity going on at the same time (using any stereo earphones). You can hear the heterodyne sounds in one ear and the time expansion activity in the other, simultaneously. Add a digital stereo recorder, and you’re all set.
The single best-sounding heterodyne detector I’ve ever heard. A very capable and sensitive time expansion unit as well. Partnered with a Zoom H2 or H2n = A perfect combination; with well-documented set-up tips easily found on The Web. Confused about set-up? Use my settings! (approved by Mr. Pettersson himself): 
Normal X
Time Exp X
Gain: Low -------------------- (I used to keep it on High (as suggested) but, I thought that I was recording too much noise / non-bat calls, etc.)
Volume: Set to Minimum
Trig: Auto
Trigger Level Source: Low
Source: HF
Mem Size: I set it to either 1.7 Sec or 3.4 Sec.

 
Pettersson D1000X: Considered by many (myself included!) to be The King of bat detectors. Each D1000X from Pettersson Elektronik is built to order. For sheer ability, performance, and features - there's no other bat detector that comes close. Frequently selected by Professional Researchers, working on projects where accuracy is paramount.

Elekon Batscanner (The first, Original Version):
I love the very compact size, and comfortable feel it has when held. I really like the green LED display, and the ability to fit this little detector in just about any pocket. I was happy to see a line-out jack: But later learned that it’s for headphones, only. Attempting to record bat calls with this unit will leave you disappointed. As per Elekon: The Batscanner was not designed for recording bat calls.
One can immediately tell how sensitive it is, simply by powering it on, and rubbing your fingers together in front of it. The microphone on this unit, is the now popular MEMs type. When in the field (without any man-made interference nearby): Pressing the power button will cause the unit to display three dashes " - - - " on the LED display. In contrast to powering it on indoors, where it will latch on to whichever electronic signal that reaches it first.
The unit simply displays the last frequency that was detected; until a new bat flies by, within it's range. You can just look at the display and see what the detected peak frequency was.
There is something I don’t like: battery changing. You need a small Phillips head screwdriver, to remove 2 small screws that hold the battery door in place.      

Full Review Part 1 Of 3                                                    

Please note* The latest version of Elekon's New Batscanner is even better than the original!

Full Review

Elekon Batlogger M: I simply cannot say enough good things about this detector. It is simply outstanding, with unprecedented abilities: It can detect – And record bats at greater distances than any other detector I’ve tested. How far? A colleague of mine in Germany, recently tested a Batlogger M to find it able to detect bat signals at distances of over 59 Meters!                                                                 
When it comes to the overall performance of the Batlogger: Many of my Professional Friends concur with my observations. The Batlogger M from Elekon basically gets everything right: Picks up bats from greater distances, produces accurate recordings/sonograms, possesses a super-accurate built-in GPS unit, is packed with features (yet easy to use), has interchangeable (optional) microphones available, the  mic also functions as a temperature sensor (recording Temp. in Celsius), and has one of the loveliest displays I’ve seen on a bat detector. I could go on, and on, but I’m sure you’ve got the point! It’s only competition may come from The Pettersson D1000X: Long considered the King of bat detectors. But, I have not been given the opportunity as of yet…

Cons? Yes: 1. relatively high price. 

 
BatExplorer Analysis Software: If you live in Europe or The UK (or surrounding areas) then you must try this software. Where else can you find a bat call analysis software, that is not only free – But also features automatic bat call identification? Software like this is normally very costly. This awesome software package is equipped to automatically identify the calls of bat species that commonly reside in UK & Europe. Being that I live in the USA, I can only make use of the other features (which are substantial nonetheless). One of the downsides to this application, is that it only comes into it’s own when used with Batlogger recordings. It may be used with recordings from other detectors, it just doesn’t speed along as it would had they been made with a Batlogger. The best part is, that you can try it out yourself, at no cost.
 
AnaBat SD2 bat detector: This is the latest and greatest offering from Titley Scientific; a company with a long history of building bat detecting systems for Professionals. If you happen across a program on BBC or National Geographic about bats or bat research, chances are you’ll notice the Scientists using a model of AnaBat as their detector. Their strength lies in their proficiency of recording bats in Zero cross mode. AnaBat detectors are not my favorite. I find they require a bit more effort to use than I’m willing to put forth.

 
Zoom H1: As a result of being obsessed with bat detecting and recording for many years, I have come to own many digital sound recorders. I’ve owned many of the recorders that are in the same price range as the Zoom H1 – And, frankly the Zoom H1 was always one of my favorites. I have since sold mine in an effort to “thin out the herd” And, I regret it very much. It was very easy to use, with minimal fuss. The only major Con it had, was a built-in speaker with very low volume (difficult to hear). However, the Zoom H1 is excellent value – Having features found only on more expensive recorders.

Zoom H2n: Naturally, this is an even better offering from Zoom, than the Zoom H1. This unit offers outstanding value and happens to be a perfect match, for the D240X. The reason for this is that the original (slightly older model) Zoom H2 was used extensively with the D240X: By both Professionals and Hobbyists. As a result, there is typically a lot of information and well-documented set-up tips easily found on The Web. If you plan to do some recording with your Pettersson D240X, then I’d advise you to look into the Zoom H2n.

Happy bat detecting!

What To Do During The Fall and Winter Months?

First, I'd like to point out that we will still have plenty of bats around (to detect and record) during the  Autumn months. Some diehard enthusiasts might be happy to know that certain species of trees bats have been spotted during the Winter months as well!
The main thing that I always do, and I also suggest this to other Hobbyists (each year) is to go through all of the year's recordings - Double-checking, identifying, and organizing.
I also plan to compile and organize some notes, etc. regarding the different (currently available) microphones; and related technology.

And, for those of us who are not Professionals (and don't have a tremendous amount of recordings) This may not be enough to keep ourselves occupied for all those months. If you fall into this category – then you might consider building a bat detector. The average DIY detector kits are easy enough to build (for someone who is moderately skilled with a soldering iron).
Basically, the only DIY bat detector kits I can heartily recommend, are those produced by Tony Messina.
There is the 'Simple Bat Detector' Kit - Which is a very neat (Frequency division detector). For listening in real-time, you need to use an earphone.
You may also produce some recordings (with some trial & error) using various digital recorders, etc.
I've done so (successfully) in the past, so...
There is The Bat Scanner kit (which may still be available).

But now, there is something brand-new out! From (another) collaboration between Frank and Tony.
It is: The ArduBat.

Now this is something a bit different. You'll need more than just a fleeting familiarity with building electronic kits. The unit is based on The Simple Bat Detector...But, goes on to the next level. The ArduBat is aimed at the incurable tinkerer - It is best suited for someone who loves building things, electronics -And- software programming. 
Yes, the unit is designed to work on top of an Arduino Uno mini-computer unit. Yes, this is where it gets interesting...
At the same time, this unique unit has a lot to offer those who do long-term monitoring/recording of bat activity.
I haven't ordered my PCB (Printed Circuit Board) yet...So, I cannot give you much insight into the whole "ArduBat experience" but, I plan to take on the challenge - And post my findings. For now, the best way to find out more: Is by visiting the very well-laid-out Website pages: Read about The ArduBat


Neat-looking device, eh? 

I'll add some more to this post, over the next few days. The fact is that a limited supply of PCBs are now on hand, in case anyone is interested. I'll be ordering mine shortly.
In the words of Tony himself:  "This is a project for those who like to program and hack on Arduino projects... non-programmers will likely not find the ArduBat as interesting."

Happy bat detecting! (and detector building!)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: The FG Black Microphone For Batlogger - From Elekon

Review: The FG Black (optional microphone) For Elekon's Batlogger / Batlogger M
A follow-up/continuation of the recent 'First Impressions' Post Here.

I was recently considering the addition of a new shotgun microphone to my collection (of odd DIY mics) - Specifically, for the purpose of recording singing insects. But, while testing this FG Black microphone - I discovered that it has the ability to record singing insects very well, if one is inclined to do so. It has allowed me to easily record several species of Orthoptera so far.
Thanks to the fact that the Batlogger detector is able to tune all the way down to 2kHz! This bat detector also allows you to target just about all species of singing insects in the Northern Hemisphere. 
Those who are only interested in recording bat calls, cannot really begin to understand what a treat this is, for those of us who enjoy recording singing insects. 

Okay, getting back to bat detecting now...

Among those who would find this microphone most useful, are those who do passive recording. Primarily because the microphone is weather proof. It is well-made, and quite resistant to rain, humidity/moisture. It is also excellent to have installed on your Batlogger, while out in the field: doing surveys, or general bat detecting, etc. If it begins to rain, the microphone of the unit may remain somewhat exposed – allowing one to continue to record bats even during inclement weather. I will take this opportunity, to remind the reader that the Batlogger unit itself is not weather resistant: Do be careful!

(The FG Black microphone from Elekon)

Again, the advantage of this microphone really becomes apparent during passive recording. A typical scenario, similar to the manner in which I tested The FG Black microphone would be to attach the microphone to a shielded audio cable (a good quality, shielded, audio cable with 3.5 mm male/female connectors at each end). The end with the microphone plugged into it would be secured outdoors (or outside a window) - While the detector itself would remain warm and dry indoors. This also has the advantage of allowing you to listen to the bat calls, as they fly by. For devoted hobbyists or enthusiasts, what could be better? 

The FG black microphone would be a welcome solution, for many Batlogger users, who use the detector on a regular, nightly basis. Since one cannot always be sure if it will rain or not.
In general, an ideal scenario, would be to have the microphone positioned in an area fairly well shielded from direct rain.

It is an interesting and welcomed advantage: Being able to rest easy, knowing that the microphone positioned outdoors will be safe, if it should happen to rain. The FG Black microphone opens up additional opportunities for bat detecting. For those of us who set up Detectors for passive recording, on a nightly basis.

In fact, we had a bit of (unexpected) drizzle the other night - And the microphone stood-up admirably. Still working fine! Excellent.

Happy bat detecting! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

From Wildlife Acoustics's Web Site - Microphone Calibration

Directly From The Wildlife Acoustics Newsletter:

 

Are your ultrasonic microphones working
as well as they could be?

There's nothing worse than going into the field not knowing whether your microphones are working properly. Discovering after the fact that your bat echolocation data has been affected by a microphone that's out of spec can be frustrating and costly.
The good news is that our Ultrasonic Calibrator eliminates those headaches because you can instantly test and verify your SMX-UT, SMX-US and Echo Meter EM3+ microphones in the field.
Need to know whether your Song Meter SM2BAT+ recorder and microphones are working properly as a system? The calibrator's Chirp Mode will take care of that.
So remember, don't get caught on a deployment with your mics out of spec. Check out the Link.

Check out this very cool-looking tool:


Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Latest From Elekon: New Improved Version Of BatExplorer Software

From Elekon's Newsletter:

New Improved Version Of BatExplorer Software 

New BatExplorer version 1.9
Clearer and faster. One could summarize the new version of the BatExplorer software.
A new "compact view" of the spectrograms increases the overview significantly. The calls will be cut and concatenated so you can see call shapes and type at a glance. Horizontal guide lines enable quick visual distinction or grouping of bat species and thereby accelerate the manual evaluation.
Thanks to new calculation algorythms the analysis is now faster and the call recognition is improved.
By zooming with the mouse in the activity or frequency diagram, the recordings can now be filtered easily and quickly by time or frequency. Also, the map and the call list is now adjusted accordingly.
It is now possible to enter custom texts as bat species. This also allows to assign species which are not included in the library.
Further changes can be found in the Changelog.

By the way, ...
... did you know that you can enlarge the map and display it in a separate window? Clicking the \'Fullscreen\' button opens the view and makes it possible to eg. see the map on the second screen. Also, if a GPX track was recorded, its altitude and speed profile can be shown.

 


The obvious, major difference in this version – is of course the compressed sonogram windows. As described, They are smaller but show a more pronounced image of the actual bat calls. I believe this is an excellent improvement. One of the other main things that I noticed right away, is the improved look of the Statistics window: It features a more accurate depiction of data, which can be read at a quick glance. I like it!

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: The NEW Batscanner From Elekon!

Review: The NEW Batscanner From Elekon! 
Elekon - Making great bat detectors even better!

It's a wonderful thing, to see a bat detector Manufacturer making an effort to improve their products. Especially when their products are great performers to begin with. It's simply commendable. The original Batscanner from Elekon is a wonderful detector, which deserves high praise. It seems to me, that this new version has even more to be happy about.
To begin with, it's smaller than the original. In the pic below, I've placed a well-known (Tascam) recorder and a PP3 9v battery near the Batscanner - To help illustrate just how pocket-able it is:

(The new Batscanner from Elekon)

Using the Batscanner is (still) very simple: There are three buttons on the front of the unit - From left to right: The Power On/Off Button, Volume Down, Volume Up. The detector's speaker is located just below these buttons, and provides a surprising level of sound when turned up (beyond 3). Volume settings go from 0 to 5 (Zero being muted, actually).
The Headphone Socket is located on the upper right-hand side of the unit. 
And, although using this jack for audio recordings is not recommended (by Elekon) I still enjoy making an occasional recording or two (every now & then). Using a shielded audio "patch" cable (3.5mm male plugs on both ends) connected to the (Tascam) recorder pictured above: I've gotten some nice-sounding results (Blogger still doesn't have an easy way to share audio files yet).
As I've stated in the past, I'm one of those Hobbyists who enjoys the musical quality of heterodyne systems. Which would explain why I'd even bother to make a recording.

This latest version of The Batscanner, still employs the built-in, advanced algorithms as the original did. As I've mentioned in my review of the original Batscanner (Link to Part 1 Here). For those who are not familiar: The algorithms are basically a set of computerized rules that are followed when making a decision. For the purpose of our discussion, The Batscanner bat detector: The algorithms decide which sounds are from bats (desired sounds) - And which aren't. These latter sounds originate from other sources, and are therefore (largely) ignored.

The new Batscanner typically retails for under $400 U.S. Dollars, when ordering from Dealers such as: Wildlife & Countryside Services and NHBS


Keep in mind, that the Batscanner may also be ordered directly from Elekon in Switzerland (via their Online Shop).
I'd suggest you check each option to see where you can get the best deal.  

The Batscanner is a good choice for someone who'd like a bat detector that is a bit more advanced than those which are typically considered (in this price range).
The more one looks into the features of this detector, the more it seems to be a good choice. As a final bit of purchasing advice: If you're considering a bat detector in the same price range (~ 250 Pounds Sterling) then you should definitely consider The Batscanner.

Using The Batscanner is very simple: Just power on and enjoy! I normally keep the volume set at 2 and just listen. I've noticed that upon initial power-on: The volume is set at 3 (out of a possible setting of 1 thru 5). I find myself turning it down one step (to a setting of 2) when listening in typical suburban environments. In even less noisy environs (such as quiet woods, etc.) a volume setting of 1 may suffice.  

When you first power-up the unit, it begins at a frequency readout of 48kHz, this is simply by design and has no effect on it's speed/performance, or ability to detect/register a bat at either side of the spectrum.
It's a very unique bat detector: Simple on the outside; easy to use, etc. While all the "magic" is at work on the inside. Namely, those algorithms.

Something new that I've noticed with this latest Batscanner, which wasn't as evident in the first version: The Orig Batscanner had fairly low sensitivity to singing insects.
The new one is much more sensitive to their calls - but in most cases, doesn't "register" (display) the frequency.
This may be considered a mixed bag of sorts: Bat enthusiasts will be pleased that it doesn't pick-up/register the frequencies of singing insects...
Insect enthusiasts will be disappointed that the unit doesn't display the frequency of the singing invertebrates. After all, it is a BATscanner - So those who enjoy listening to Orthoptera should look for another ultrasonic device...

I really enjoy using this unit! When it does pick up bats, it does so in fractions of a second. The MEMs based microphone is fairly omnidirectional, and doesn't miss much! You needn't concern yourself with being pointed in exactly the best direction (although it always helps, of course). The point being: It is not a directional microphone.

Pros:
  • Small size - Very easily portable.
  • Excellent sensitivity, from MEMs microphone element (which is replaceable).
  • Simple operation. 
  • Great pick-up range (comparable to other detectors in it's price range).
Cons: 
  • The two-digit Frequency Display may be too bright for some. For those who prefer to preserve their dark-adapted vision.
It isn't adjustable, but I'm sure a small piece of masking tape would diffuse the light a bit (if desired). I haven't tested the unit in deep woods, so I didn't have a need to use the tape idea.
If you do try this: Be sure to use a tape with mild adhesive (masking tape, paper tape, etc.).

What's the bottom line? Whenever I'm off to a good "batty" location: Not deep woods/streams or lakes (because that is when The Batlogger M is best!); But, simply places like Suburbs fringed with woodland, or perhaps a Friend or Relative's home (which features a large back garden, etc.) - Then, The Batscanner is the choice I'd make; It would be the detector I'd reach for.
What I've done during the test period, was to bring a small notebook to jot down the frequencies displayed by The Batscanner while picking up bats. To look over later on - Pretty neat!

Note: This new version of The Batscanner replaces the original version. The original models will no longer be produced. Which means that going forward, only the new Batscanner will be available.

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, August 9, 2013

First Impressions: The 'FG Black' Microphone - For Elekon's Batlogger M

First Impressions: The 'FG Black' microphone - For Elekon's Batlogger M

If you've been keeping abreast of top-of-the-range bat recorders recently, then you're probably familiar with The Batlogger M (from Elekon AG in Switzerland).
By now, I'm sure that many of you are well aware of what an incredible bat detector it is. It's capabilities have been proven to exceed those of instruments in it's price range, and several costing much more.
Just to reiterate my thoughts on The Batlogger M: I've found it to be the best performing bat detector I've reviewed thus far.
Several distinguished Bat Workers feel just as enthusiastic as I do about the Batlogger (if not more-so!).
I'd never really given much thought to the possibility of this unit performing even better...
Then Elekon made some optional Microphones available, amoung them is one called 'FG Black' - The fact is, they have made more than one optional microphone available. And they have been available for as long as the Batloggers have...but this Post will focus on The FG Black model.
In the photo above, from Left to Right: The FG Black, The FG Green, The BL (Stock) Mic


There's this wonderful comparison chart, of optional microphones that I've been admiring recently: Elekon's Microphones

What follows, are my initial impressions and findings. I believe that I'll be able to gather enough detailed information about this mic to write a more lengthy Review. If not, I will simply update, and add to this Post. 

Just Imagine, being able to take the "stock" Batlogger, and increase it's capabilities even further.
As you may have noticed from the microphone chart on Elekon's Site: The FG Black features an integrated preamplifier (Wiki Link explaining what a preamplifier is).
Which helps to explain why this microphone upgrade has such an amazing impact on the detector's overall performance. 

I'm monitoring it's sensitivity even now, as I type; and it's simply wonderful.
It wasn't like this on the first night I tried it out! It was rather chaotic - I simply wasn't prepared for the dramatic difference compared to the stock mic (A MEMs unit, called the BL).

With the FG Black attached (using my good quality shielded audio cable) all manner of singing Insects were being detected (and recorded!)
At first, I really wasn't sure why this was happening. The first possibility that I thought of, was that certain singing insects may have just recently become active. I considered the possibility, that a certain combination of environmental conditions was responsible (for the sudden increase in insect songs).

In any case, the first thing that I did, was to go into the Batlogger's settings, and decrease the sensitivity of the trigger. I increased the threshold from a setting of 6 to 7. Yet, some singing insects were still being recorded. I didn't mind the fact that they were heard - But, at this particular point in time, I did not intend on recording them. I eventually increased the trigger to 9, in order to stop them from being recorded. 
It was obvious that this new, amplified microphone was so much more sensitive than the stock microphone. So much so, that it was easily pulling in several species of insects (residing in the surrounding trees & vegetation). Singing insects which were not detected at all, using the stock microphone.
Switching between the microphones several times confirmed this.

Thanks to the comparison chart, provided by the researcher who preferred to remain anonymous: We know that the Batlogger and Batlogger M are able to detect and record bats, at distances of well over 60 Meters... The addition of the FG Black microphone presents some fantastic possibilities, to say the least.

At this time, I have only scratched the surface of what is possible with this new microphone. I've tested it on several nights now, of course the sensitivity is terrific! And of course there's an increase in the number of bats recorded per night. But, there are more tests to be done – and more findings to report. Especially in regards to it's usefulness to those who study (and record) Orthoptera.

To be continued...

 Happy bat detecting!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

First Impressions: The NEW Batscanner From Elekon!

I'm very happy to report the arrival of The New version of Elekon's Batscanner handheld detector. The new loaner unit for test and review, arrived several days ago (to me here in New York, USA).
I was away from home, when the unit was delivered. I spent several days at a new bat detecting location: My Mother-in-law's apartment building in New Rochelle, NY. I occupied my evenings there, by performing some mini-bat surveys. Also checked all the trees for roosts during the day, etc. None found.

In any case, let's get back to the subject of this wonderful little detector! It is just so cool - I really like this one! Here is how it comes packaged, inside the box:
(similar to the way new books are packaged sometimes)


In any case, this method keeps it safe from damage, etc. The Batscanner sports a newly tooled case, that is even smaller than the original Batscanner! Cool! See pics below, where I try to convey it's diminutive size:


Preliminary tests show that it is just as sensitive as the original Batscanner, and possibly even more-so. The openings for speaker sound are different on this latest unit: It has small round holes to allow sound through (very similar to it's big Brother, The Batlogger M).
The (MEMs) microphone placement is still front-and-center (which is my preference). I prefer a bat detector's microphone to be either in the center of the front of the unit; or even a bit off-center. But, I do not like to see microphones mounted all the way to one side.

There's a lot to be said for a bat detector that is small and light enough to carry with you anywhere...You can easily place it in your pocket (just about any pocket!) on your way to an area which is good habitat for bats. It's also very nice to have with you, when serendipitous bat detecting opportunities present themselves.

If you're looking for a small, ultra-portable bat detector - Then look no further!
 
Elekon Batscanner Full Review

Happy bat detecting!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: The AR125 From Binary Acoustic Technology Part 2 Of 2

Review: The AR125 From Binary Acoustic Technology Part 2 Of 2



This is what the SPECT'R III software looks like - In action!



(The above is a screenshot of The SPECT'R application recording bat calls)

Below, is a screenshot of the SCAN'R application analysing calls from what Kaleidoscope software determined was an Nycticeius humeralis (Evening bat):

The screenshot below, shows what a detailed (zoomed-in-type) analysis looks like:


(I really liked this view, notice how the Fs, Fk and Fc are automatically pinpointed for you)


Both of the software apps that are provided with an AR125/AR180 unit, allow a user to accurately analyse the calls. And, with access to the correct bat call info (books/documentation, etc.) determine which species of bat they've recorded.


Here are two Links from Binary Acoustic Technology:

Click Here to see the SPECT'R 3.0 Product Description & Features brochure.
Click Here to read a fascinating and informative article entitled 'Digital Compensation - Creating The Ideal Sensor'

Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Revolutionary New Bat Detector From Wildlife Acoustics Is Coming!

A innovative New Bat Detector is coming soon from Wildlife Acoustics.

Sign-up to receive their special update Newsletter, and be amoung the first to know! 

Sign-Up For Newsletter

in·no·va·tive  

/ˈinəˌvātiv/
Adjective
  1. (of a product, idea, etc.) Featuring new methods; advanced and original.
  2. (of a person) Introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking: "an innovative thinker".

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The AR125 From Binary Acoustic Technology Part 1 Of 2

Review: The AR125 From Binary Acoustic Technology Part 1 Of 2

(Serial number hidden for privacy)

The AR125 is easy to hold and point, due to the durable plastic handle that comes attached as standard. I like the fact, that it also has a 3/4" threaded opening at the very bottom (of the handle) for attaching to a standard photo tripod. 

Installation is easy, and it's easy to set-up & use: One end of the USB cable gets plugged into the AR125 and the other end is plugged into your computing device.
There aren't many external "features" to describe; all of the actual features present themselves on your computer's screen.

The AR125 (and the AR180) would be ideal units for those interested in:
Transects (esp. mobile/from a vehicle, or other forms of transport)
Unattended recording, and live recording (using a Netbook/small laptop PC)


(AR125 comes with handle attached - It is removable)

When you are ready to record some bats - 
Plug one end of the (provided) USB cable into the back of the unit
Plug the other end into an available USB port on your computing device
Launch the SPECT'R software
Check the software's settings (which will typically be set the same as you left them)
Type in a new file name (for the naming of the recordings) And, click 'Record'
The application also gives you the option of saving your settings; by clicking 'File' (from the Menu bar), 'Save settings'
For my testing, I simply used the current date (ie: "7-22"). The program simply starts each recording with "7-22" as the beginning of it's name. It worked well for me.


After setting up the AR125 & my Asus Netbook (mini-laptop) for an evening of bat recording - I got into the habit of turning off the WLAN (and Bluetooth). The initial idea, was simply to have one less device using the resources of my wireless router (overnight).
Even though, I realize that the the impact is minimal (to say the least). It may seem barely perceptible - But, It seems to not only free up more PC resources (making the SCAN'R software scroll even smoother), but also quiets background hiss even further. This may be a helpful "trick" to try, if you're using a low-end Netbook/laptop like mine.

So it appears that this is a case where the more I use this bat detector, the more I like it.

Pros:
  •  Large, excellent-quality sensor (microphone element)
  •  Simple device, robust: nothing to break-off or get physically damaged.
  •  No batteries to worry about.
Cons:
  • Not compact or ultra-portable, for easy transport.
  • Not weather-proof. 
Stay tuned for Part 2 Of 2 of this review, when I'll cover: More details and pictures of the unit itself, the software packages, and the brightly-coloured sonograms... 
Happy bat detecting!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Fascinating Document From An Anonymous Amateur Researcher

I just received this fascinating document today, and wanted to share it right away - Below, is a document that was graciously provided to me, from a Naturalist who preferred to remain anonymous. It was originally provided in the German language, so I've pasted it in German first. Followed by a translation (attempt) made with Google Translate, into English.

In German:


Ergebnisprotokoll Fledermausdetektor Empfindlichkeiten        1.7.2013
 
Aufgrund von fehlenden Einschätzungen der Empfindlichkeit verschiedener Ultraschallempfangsgeräte haben wir uns entschlossen, einen diesbezüglichen Test durchzuführen. Die Ergebnisse sind natürlich nur als Richtwerte zu sehen und können von Gerät zu Gerät (innerhalb einer Serie) unterschiedlich ausfallen.
Mit einem UltraSoundGate Player BL Light wurde eine Ruf-Sequenz der Zwergfledermaus wiedergegeben. Die Verstärkung lag nach Einstellungen am Gerät bei 20 dB. Die Testumgebung befand sich in einer 70 m langen Lagerhalle, die völlig leer war. Die Entfernung wurde mit einem 50 m Bandmaß festgestellt.
Alle Geräte wurden mit ihrem Mikrofon direkt auf die Schallquelle ausgerichtet. Bei Geräten mit Kopfhöreranschluss entfernte sich die Person mit dem Gerät in der Hand langsam von der Schallquelle weg. An der Stelle, wo das Schallsignal nicht mehr in den Kopfhörern zu hören war, wurde die Entfernung gemessen.
Bei Geräten ohne Kopfhöreranschluss wurden alle 10 m Aufnahmen von Hand ausgelöst und später am Rechner mit der zum Gerät zugehörigen Auswertung Software begutachtet (zum Beispiel Batcorder).
Bei Geräten, die live die Rufmittelfrequenz erfassen und anzeigen (zum Beispiel Batscanner, Batlogger) bildete die Erfassung der Rufmittelfrequenz die Empfindlichkeitsschwelle, d.h. nur bis zu dem Punkt, an dem die Rufmittelfrequenz noch angezeigt wurde galt die Erfassung. In manchen Fällen waren die Rufe darüber hinaus noch hörbar, wurden vom Gerät jedoch nicht getriggert.

Ultraschall Empfänger
Typ
letzte Signale bei
Bemerkung

BATLOGGER alt
Echtzeit Ultraschallgerät mit Aufnahme auf SD Karte
58,70m+
Messbereich durch Hallenende begrenzt

BATLOGGER neu
Echtzeit Ultraschallgerät mit Aufnahme auf SD Karte und Mithörmöglichkeit
58,70m+
Messbereich durch Hallenende begrenzt

BATCORDER
Echtzeit Ultraschallgerät mit Aufnahme auf SD Karte
30m


PETTERSSON D240x
Mischer/Zeitdehnungsdetektor ohne eingebaute Aufnahmemöglichkeit.
16m


PETTERSSON D1000x
Mischer, Teiler, Zeitdehnungsdetektor mit Aufnahmemöglichkeit auf CF Karte
33m


BATSCANNER alte Version
Mischerdetektor mit Rufmittelfrequenzanzeige
17m


BATSCANNER neue Version
Mischerdetektor mit Ruf Mittelfrequenzanzeige
10m


SSF BAT2
Mischerdetektor mit Frequenzskala
23,5m


BATON Batbox
Teiler Detektor mit eingebautem Lautsprecher
5m


CIEL CDB105 R2
Mischerdetektor mit Frequenzskala
18m


CIEL CDB205 R2
Teilerdetektor
31m



Die Mini Horchbox von Battomania erreichte eine Reichweite von 3 m. Hier wird der Testaufbau noch einmal wiederholt, da das Ergebnis zu negativ ist. Die Batlogger werden ebenso noch einmal getestet, um die tatsächliche Reichweite zu vermessen, da bei der angegebenen Entfernung die Halle zu Ende war, jedoch nicht die Triggerung des Gerätes. Des Weiteren kommen noch andere Geräte zum Test. Hierzu zählen die alten Geräte von Sky, das Mikrofon von Dodotronik und andere Geräte, um deren Leihgabe wir ersuchen.
 

In English:


Results log bat detector sensitivities               1.7.2013
Due to the lack of estimates of the sensitivity of various ultrasonic receivers, we decided to perform a test in this regard. The results are of course seen as a guide only and may vary from device to device (within a series).
With an Ultrasound gate Player BL Light a call was - sequence of pipistrelle reproduced. The gain was on the settings on the unit at 20 dB. The test environment was in a 70-meter warehouse, which was completely empty. The distance was determined using a 50 m tape measure.
All devices were aligned using her microphone directly at the sound source. For devices with a headphone port, the person slowly removed with the device in hand away from the sound source. At the point where the sound signal could no longer be heard in the headphones, the distance was measured.
For devices without a headphone jack every 10 m recordings were triggered by hand and later on to the computer with the device associated analysis software assessed (for example batcorder).
For devices, the live capture and display (for example Batscanner, BATLOGGER) the Rufmittelfrequenz capturing the Rufmittelfrequenz formed the sensitivity threshold, ie only up to the point at which the Rufmittelfrequenz was still displayed was the capture. In some cases, the calls were also still audible, but were not triggered by the device.

Ultrasound receiver
Type
signals at last
Comment

BATLOGGER old
Real-time ultrasound machine with recording to SD card
58,70 m +
Range limited by Hall End

BATLOGGER new
Real-time ultrasound machine with recording to SD card and listen-
58,70 m +
Range limited by Hall End

Batcorder
Real-time ultrasound machine with recording to SD card
30m


Pettersson D240x
Mixer / recording time expansion detector without built-in option.
16m


Pettersson D1000X
Mixers, dividers, time expansion detector with option to CF card
33m


BATSCANNER old version
Detector mixer with Rufmittelfrequenzanzeige
17m


BATSCANNER new version
Mixer detector with call center frequency display
10m


SSF BAT2
Mixer detector with frequency scale
23.5 m


BATON Batbox
Divider detector with built-in speakers
5m


CIEL CDB105 R2
Mixer detector with frequency scale
18m


CIEL CDB205 R2
Divider detector
31m



The mini Horchbox of Battomania reached a distance of 3 m. Here is the test structure is repeated once more, because the result is negative. The BATLOGGER also be tested again to measure the actual range, since at the specified distance, the hall was over, but not the triggering of the device. Moreover join other devices for testing. These include the old equipment from Sky, Dodotronik of the microphone and other devices to the loan we ask.

                                                               ------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Amazing stuff, huh? I have some additional (positive) statements to make myself, in regards to The Batlogger M - In an upcoming Post. I'm very surprised by what this Author found with the Petterssons. I would like an opportunity to check these out myself. When testing the Pettersson D240X, I remember that it had very good pick-up range (distance)...

...Next Post will be the full review of The AR125 from Binary Acoustic Technology!