Entel HT720 gives New Zealand conservation a helping hand

Blue ducks are uniquely specialised feeders in the white water of turbulent, fast-flowing mountain rivers in New Zealand, but tracking these birds and other “at risk” species isn’t easy in the forested and mountainous terrain of the South Island. But now, thanks to their HT720 VHF portable radios, the Sustainability Solutions team can keep in touch with each other and even track the birds themselves.

Supplied by Two-Way Radio Sales Ltd, Entel’s Auckland-based dealership, the HT720 radios are programmed to allow voice communications on channels 1 to 4, while channels 5 to 17 receive signals from the radio transmitters attached by a harness to the backs of the birds themselves, which also send tone and burst transmissions.

Trackers are able to point a Yagi antenna down the valley where the birds live and get a rough location by triangulation, and any one of the team can then use the hand portables’ antennae as they move in closer. It used to be said that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but when it comes to protecting endangered species, conservationists find a bird in the bush is definitely worth an Entel HT720 in the hand.

Being constructed to Military Standard 810C/D/E, the HT720 has no problem coping with the rugged terrain, while its unmatched IP68 submersibility rating means that rainfall and even dropping it on the river present no problems. With its Lithium–Ion battery capable of delivering a duty cycle of between 14 and 18 hours, communications can be relied upon even in the remotest of the South Island’s locations.