What is the range of radio download?

One thing first: Understanding the antenna options

Each base station comes with two antennas that are easily interchangeable by the user: omnidirectional and directional. They have following characteristics:
  • omnidirectional antenna - this is most commonly used one. It works in all directions and provides standard downloading range.
  • directional antenna - this one provides extended range, however it has to be pointed at the direction of the logger that you want to download.
Here is how base station looks like with omnidirectional antenna attached (you can click to enlarge the photos; ruler on the photo is in centimeters, plug at the end of the cable is standard USB):

Antenna can be bended by 90 degrees:

Here is how base station looks like with directional antenna attached:

Downloading range

Downloading ranges differ by the device:
Device nameRange with omnidirectional antennaRange with directional antenna
RadioTag-141.6 kilometer5 kilometers
NanoRadioTag-31.3 kilometer4 kilometers

Additional remarks to this table:
  1. Even though we declare 4 and 5 kilometers range for directional antennas in the table above, we received multiple reports from our users who successfully downloaded from greater ranges: oftentimes 10+ kilometers. This was probably in some good conditions and away from the civilization (so very low background noise). So, chances are that you will achieve greater distances then declared above. But, to be on the safer side, we declared them conservatively.
  2. Above distances are for the line-of-sight situation. In other words, the situation when there are no obstacles between antenna of the base station and the logger. If there are obstacles in the way, those ranges will be reduced, possibly significantly. It's impossible to tell how significantly, because it depends on the obstacles. If obstacles are sparse (e.g. some small grasses/bushes) then there might be no impact. But if obstacles are dense, the range might be reduced by multiple times. So generally, it's rather expected that you will get line-of-sight situation for downloading data from the animals. In actual field work this is usually not a problem.

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