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GPS-Simplex - A Small, Programmable Collar with Remote Transfer of Stored Positions

Leif E. Loe
UNIS, Postboks 156, 9170 Longyearbyen Svalbard, Norway

Per A. Lemnell
Televilt International AB, Box 53, 711 22 Lindesberg, Sweden

In late May 1997, a 750g GPS collar was attached to a female Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) in Semmeldalen (7755N, 1520E), about 30 km SW of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The collar contained an 8-channel GPS-receiver with an active antenna, a micro processor with a memory, a VHF-transmitter and lithium cells.

The collar was programmed to make 8 positioning attempts every day, and to transmit stored positions to a remote receiver once every third week. In addition, the VHF-transmitter was programmed to be transmitting, for tracking purposes, during daytime every day.

The animal was tracked from the ground, using a hand-held 4-element Yagi antenna and a portable RX-900 data logger. The same equipment was used to receive stored data from the collar.

The reindeer was successfully located, and stored data were received, in four out of five transmissions. As the collar was programmed to repeat transmission of stored data, no data were lost.

Only 30% of the positioning attempts resulted in a stored position. However, this fairly low proportion was due to a programming error in the collar.

To summarize, the collar provided positions of an amount and at an accuracy which had been hard to obtain by traditional radio tracking techniques. Thus it should be a very useful tool in studies on animal home ranges and medium-scale migrations.

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