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Open source VHF radio data logger for wildlife. If you want me to build you one please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or cell: 778 789 4907 in Canada.
The data logger creates a new excel file for each day and logs the time stamps.
For some radio collars you can tell if the animal is alive or not by the distance between time stamps. Since it logs into excel, you can upload the file to google data and have it do the math for you.
The file can be downloaded via local wifi signal. Without any modification the wifi range is about 300 feet. With a directional antenna and a wifi signal booster installed the range can be much larger. On paper, we can get to 20kms away with direct line of sight but that has yet to be tested. Sign up to our newsletter as we will be testing those ranges in the future.
For tough terrain like mountains and thick forests, the wifi download is ideal for aviation. The range is wide enough for an airplane or helicopter to circle the area while downloading.
We’re offering a fully built kit (currently without waterproof housing, just the electronics) for $60 CAD plus shipping. As usual with our projects we offer links to the parts you need if you want to build it yourself. You would still be supporting our cause by using the links on this page as we get a small commission for each one. If you find a cheaper part than what we link to here please let us know so we can update it.
In the photo above from left to right:
$49 Canadian SA-828-V module – Comes with antenna and programmer Choose VHF
$27 Canadian SA-828-v from Aliexpress with no programmer. Note Below*
$6 Nodemcu – Main processor and provides wifi signal for download
$3 MicroSD card reader for storing data
$3 DS3231 clock with backup power
Please note: To change the channels on the SA-828 you will need an FTDI programmer. It’s a usb board that connects your computer to the SA-828. The $49 price comes with one, the $27 one does not.
To program the NodeMCU you’ll need to install arduino IDE and a few libraries. This software is available for free online.
The programming code that you’ll need is something we give out for free but you must be subscribed to our newsletter. Sorry this is part of how we raise money to build and design electronics like this. Please email Ryan@starairvision.com for your copy of the code for this project. There is not cost for the newsletter or the code.
This project is under construction, more information coming soon.
Please comment below if you have questions on how to build this project, we’re happy to help. This page will be updated regularly and I plan to add a map of the wiring.
3.3v and 5v
The SDcard reader uses 5v taken from the VIN pin on the nodemcu.
The VHF receiver and clock use 3.3v from the pin on the nodemcu.
Power for the Nodemcu is through a cable plugged into the slot from a power bank. (5 volts).
For the my builds I’m using a small 5v solar panel to an 18650 battery bank, more on that part of the project later.
Nodemcu to VHF Receiver
D0 to Pin 1
D3 to Pin 2
D4 to Pin 4
S03 to Pin 8
A0 to Pin SPK (there are two use the top one)
Nodemcu to Clock
3.3v to VCC
GND to GND
D2 to SDA
D1 to SCL
Nodemcu to MicroSD Card Reader
D8 to CS
D7 to Mosi
D6 to Miso
D5 to SCK
FTDI Programmer to SA-828