Orion Receiver Overview:
The Orion is extremely adaptable, and the most feature-rich Digital Signal Processing receiver on the market.
Not only is the Orion capable of listening to many different frequencies, it listens to them simultaneously. It’s equivalent to having 200 narrow band receivers in one package. If you are currently using a narrow band receiver to cover a large frequency range, transmitters passing by your antenna quickly can be missed. This is due to the dead time on each channel while the receiver is scanning through the frequencies. However, the Orion receiver is capable of decoding many different types of transmitters, over a 1 MHz bandwidth, all at once. Consequently, the receivers flexibility makes it suitable in many different environments.
Moreover, the Orion receiver can discriminate between tags as little as 5 kHz apart on the same band. When large groups of animals are being studied, the Orion can also be incorporated into a MITAS receiving system as a MITAS node. Each node in the MITAS system has the same capabilities as the Orion receiver, but instead of storing the data locally, data from all receivers is stored on a server. This server can then send out alerts and data reports to researchers. To find more information regarding the MITAS system, please click here.
Parts needed for communication with the Orion receiver such as a null modem cable and an MMC/SD card reader/writer can be purchased from most computer and/or business stores. However, most modern laptop computers are equipped with an MMC/SD card reader/writer. We carry null modem cables and normally have several MMC/SD cards in stock, which are available for purchase separately. The Orion comes equipped with one SD memory card to write and store data, and facilitate easy downloads to your computer. A recent software update will also allow you to use most available SD cards, as long as they are 2GB or lower in capacity.
Communicating with the Orion
There are 3 ways to currently communicate with the receiver, wired, TCP/IP connection, and Bluetooth.
The wired connection is the most straight forward, simply connect to the receiver by connecting a RS232 null modem cable and a RS232 to USB adapter. These cables can be purchased directly from us or from 3rd party retailers.
A TCP/IP connection is suitable when users wish to have the data accessible from anywhere in the world. This is done by connecting a regular RS232 cable to a modem, and giving it either cellular or WiFi access. Currently, we are using the Microhard Bullet Plus as the modem to pair with the Orion.
The last way, Bluetooth, is suitable for when the user is in close proximity to the Orion, but physical access is difficult or troublesome. A RS232 to Bluetooth adapter is placed in “Serial A” on the receiver, and an Android™ device running the OrionTool app can interface to it. Currently, one limitation of the Bluetooth setup is that data cannot be downloaded through the bluetooth connection. However, all other functionality such as monitoring the Orion make contacts and setting/retrieving configurations is still possible.
Our OrionTool software for programming the Orion receiver is also free, and available here.
Features of the Orion:
- 148-175 MHz
- Up to 200 channels in one band (within 1MHz range)
- Up to 5 bands may be enabled (Orion will scan each one for a set time)
- Coded or beeper tag options
- -120 dBm decoding sensitivity (minimum discernible signal not applicable)
- Multiple antenna option
- Exchangeable MMC/SD card
- Up to 2GB SD cards, approx. 100 million contacts
- Free firmware updates
- Upgradable hardware
- RS232 configuration port
Hydra Antenna Switch Upgrade (Optional)
The Orion can also has the capability to monitor up to 8 external antennas by using the Hydra antenna switch. Orion will listen to each antenna for a programmable amount of time before moving onto the next. To use the Hydra antenna switch, the Orion receiver must have the antenna switching board add-on as well.