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4. Receiver Station Set-up

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    Site Selection.  Elevated locations with a clear line of sight are ideal.  Other things to consider are power source (solar vs. AC outlet) and the structure to which antennas will be mounted.  If you are setting up your own tower and powering the SensorGnome with solar, then the receiving station can be set up just about anywhere.  

    Tower & Antenna Set-up.  Antennas can be mounted to a pre-existing structure (e.g. lighthouse or fire observation tower) or to a tower you install yourself.  A guyed tower, like the one in the photo below, is a good option for scenarios where a pre-existing structure is unavailable.  The main components of these towers are a 10 ft tripod (TRM-10L), 30 ft pop-up mast (30A), and 1/16" inch, 7x7 construction aircraft cable for guy wires.  Aircraft cable is available in both galvanized and stainless steel.  To date, we have used galvanized because it is considerably cheaper than stainless steel; however, galvanized is more susceptible to corrosion, so stainless may be a better long term investment, especially in salty environments.

    Inner Double Head Shot.JPG

    Guy wires are attached to guy rings positioned at the top of each of the bottom two 10 ft sections of the pop-up mast. The third guy ring should be positioned (just) below the antennas on the uppermost section of the pop-up mast so that the guy wires do not interfere with the antenna beam pattern. 

    The distance from the base of the mast at which to attach guy wires to the ground should be no less than 70% the height at which the wire is attached to the mast.  So, for a 30' pop-up mast where guy wires are attached at or near the top of each 10 ft section, the attachment points on the ground should be at least 7 ft (shortest wire), 14 ft (middle wire), and 21 ft (uppermost wire) from the base of the mast.

    The Gallery.

    Examples of tower setups from across the Motus Wildlife Tracking System:

    It is important for stations to be generally higher than the surrounding landscape giving antenna clear lines of sight in the direction they're facing. Antenna can be affixed to just about anything. If you have any pictures that show different setups than what is featured below, please send to motus@birdscanada.org

    Antenna affixed to a railing on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. Operated by Bird Studies Canada (Motus).

     

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    Antenna affixed to a wooden pole atop a mountain in Colombia, operated by Selva.

     

    BSCHQ.JPG

    Antenna affixed to a TV tower attached to a telephone pole. Operated by Bird Studies Canada (Motus).

    DSC_0707.jpg

    Antenna affixed to a lighthouse on Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. Operated by Acadia University.

     

    DSC_1516.jpg

    Antenna affixed to a railing on a lighthouse, Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. Operated by Acadia University.

     

    Old Cut Upgrade.JPG

    Custom TV antenna setup at Long Point Bird Observatory.  Operated by Bird Studies Canada (Motus).

     

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    Impressive station operated by University of Rhode Island.

     

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    Affixed to the top of a meterological tower in southern Ontario. Operated by Bird Studies Canada (Motus).

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    Tripod-less setup in southern Indiana. Operated by Southern Illinois University and Texas Tech University.

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    Motus station, 0. Moose, 1. In Alaska operated by Southern Illinois University and Texas Tech University.

     

    Kristin Bianchini - IMG_3116.JPG

    Motus station atop a grain elevator near Chaplin Lake, Saskatchewan maintained by the University of Saskatchewan. Photo: Kristin Bianchini

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    'Local' monitoring station with 5'-element antenna operated by Bird Studies Canada (Motus).

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    5-element antenna affixed to a mast.

    NetishiTower.jpeg

    Motus station on the coast of James Bay operated by Environment Canada and Bird Studies Canada (Motus).

    Moosehorn sensorgnome tower.JPG

    Pop-up, custum alumatower. Moosehorn NWR, Maine. Operated by USGS and USFWS.

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