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Monday, February 3, 2020

Review: The AnaBat Scout From Titley Scientific Part 2 of 2

Review: The AnaBat Scout From Titley Scientific Part 2 of 2

Let's begin with a quick summary, or overview of The AnaBat Scout - some of my first impressions:
As can be seen in the preceding posts (in Part 1 of this review, etc.) the AnaBat Scout arrives very well packaged and protected. I like the overall aesthetic of this unit; I can see that they have molded The AnaBat Scout into an ergonomic design. It is lightweight (with batteries installed), and it feels natural and comfortable in the hand.


A short video, demonstrating powering on The AnaBat Scout (with display set to Low brightness).

Amoung some of The Scout's features, are:
  •  The ability to record voice notes (as previously mentioned, the Mic for this is located above the display screen).
  •  Glow-in-the-dark buttons. In practice, I found that the buttons were not easy to "charge" (expose to a fairly bright light source). And not at all easy to see in the dark (out in the field, etc.).*
  •  It includes a protective case and lanyard.
*I couldn't help but to immediately think that Tritium would've been very effective, instead of the material currently used for the buttons. Although I have a feeling, that some Ecologists might object to it's use...

The built-in Bat Counter of The Anabat Scout will be a welcomed feature for Ecologists / Bat Workers performing emergence surveys, etc. It will record the date, time, and location with each button press, into a .csv file (commonly read with Microsoft Excel). By default, the increment (each In or Out button push) is 1, but may be increased up to 10. Interesting, and no doubt useful for unique situations.

The AnaBat Scout comes with the free version of Anabat Insight software, which you may download Here (there is a version for Mac as well as Windows). You will notice that the User Manual may also be obtained on that Web page.

I installed the 2 AA sized batteries required, as well as a new 16GB SD memory card (I happened to have available); and pressed the OK button to power on. The user is greeted with the OLED display, featuring text (and icons) of a yellowish-green colour.

Changing the brightness level, from High to Low


My (point & shoot) camera did not give an accurate representation of the display. It appears a bit too bright in this video. In reality, it looks clear, crisp, and not too bright.

I was glad to see that the display brightness is adjustable, from High to Low. Because I prefer to keep bat detector displays as dim as possible; especially when in the field.

Short video of powering off The AnaBat Scout.

To power off the detector, hold down the OK button - The display will read "Would you like to shutdown?" And you press the Yes soft key (on the right).

The Anabat Scout has the ability to have it's sensitivity (event trigger) changed; you may choose Low, Medium, or High (High is the default setting). Very useful, for those instances when bats are flying low and/or close.

Minimum frequency is 10 kHz, and maximum is 160 kHz (both are the default settings). Either/or may be adjusted to suit the situation, under Trigger Settings on the unit. Also by default, the Recording Mode is set to triggered mode; and this may also be changed to Constant Recording Mode, when and if needed.
 
Some of the features of The Anabat Scout, which I particularly like as seen on the display are: The GPS indicator, Number of Satellites in View indication, % of SD Card Memory Available, and Tuned/Peak Frequency.
Again, those doing emergence surveys will be pleased to see the Out and In Count.
A very clear representation of these features, may be seen on Page 6 of the (freely available) User Manual.
I would encourage the reader to have a look at pages 12-14 of the Manual, which describe further opportunities to fine tune aspects of: Triggering, Recording, File preferences, and various Audio Settings. 
For audio output - You may choose between heterodyne, frequency division (which is divided by 16) - Or, if using earphones, both! In other words, heterodyne is heard in one earphone, whilst FD is heard in the other.

Some additional features which I liked were: 

When a recording is triggered, a recording symbol appears, on the bottom center of the display.
The Heterodyne auto-tune - Described on page 14 of the User Manual. 
Transect Mode - Which uses the built-in GPS to save your track as a .gpx file (it checks GPS points once per second).
The Anabat Scout also has the ability to run diagnostics on itself (should the need arise).

A user may also subscribe to receive email alerts, whenever Scout firmware is updated; very neat!
The process of updating the firmware is just what you might expect: You copy the (scout.adx) file to the root of the SD card, insert SD card, and power on the unit. At which point, you will be asked "...Would you like to update now?". At which point you'd press Yes, and wait for it to complete the update. After which, it will restart itself.

During my extensive testing, I found the the AnaBat Scout's microphone to not only be substantially sensitive, but to produce accurate-sounding results (audio tones) from the front-facing speaker. Careful analysis of the recorded bat calls, further confirmed the sensitivity, range, and overall accuracy of it's recording abilities.

I found The Anabat Scout to have sensitivity and range comparable to many other Professional-level bat detectors. Especially within it's price range. A couple of species of my local (North American) bat species, were recorded at distances of 100 meters.
See pages 20 to 21 of the User Manual, for a concise answer to the question: How far away can a bat be detected?

Pros:
  •  Bat emergence In and Out Counter (separate button for each).
  •  Excellent sensitivity and pick-up range of bat calls.
  •  Pleasing (and adjustable) OLED display, preserves a user's night adapted vision; while providing live pertinent information.
  •  GPS/transect and logging capabilities.
  •  Adjustable sensitivity, and frequency range.
  •  All metadata recorded on The Scout is saved to files in the GUANO (Grand Unified Acoustic Notation Ontology) format.

Cons:
  •  Not weatherproof.
  •  Glow-in-the-dark buttons need improvement.

The Scout has excellent features of value to Ecologists and Bat Workers who are tasked with doing bat emergence surveys. In addition to many of the capabilities one would expect from a Pro-level bat detector, it possesses some which are specifically geared towards bat emergence surveys.
The Anabat Scout also records metadata -
All metadata recorded on The Anabat Scout, is saved to files in the GUANO (Grand Unified Acoustic Notation Ontology) format. This format is now the industry standard in the field of bat acoustic studies. Details regarding this configuration may be seen on page 20 of the User Manual.



More will be added to this (part 2) Anabat Scout review soon...

Amoung the next items to be reviewed here, are some interesting new microphones designed by Titley, for use on their AnaBat Swift detector.

Happy bat detecting!