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Monkey Tracking Adventures (part 3)

11 Jan 2009

Not much to say about today. I spent the whole day in camp, and much of it in the bathroom, getting intimate with the local microflora.

The researchers use dictaphones to record vocal notes on their observations. My first question was why not use the PDAs (model Palm Z22) to record vocal notes as well as the written notes?  Tony pointed out that the dictaphones are very small and easy to hold up to your mouth to speak into quietly, whereas the PDAs are not, particularly when they are in a dry bag.

Another item that could be handy: Coaxial cable repair kit. The coax cables that attach the telemetry antenna to the base unit go bad a lot.  Repair would save money on new cables.

We did a very slapdash test of the XBee radios in the forest today. I was hoping to see what kind of penetration we can get out of 2.4GHz radios in the forest. I put a receiver radio (XBee series 1 radio as a receiver) on a datalogger, and a second radio (XBee series 1 pro as a sender) on an accelerometer.  The received signal strength was surprisingly noisy considering that the distance between them was relatively constant.  We could see a clear dropoff, though, when he climbed the canopy tower. Will do more rigorous signal strength tests later on, I hope.

Published in environment monkeys networks physical computing research

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