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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.




RADIO TELEMETRY

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RADIO TELEMETRY. Telemetry can be defined as the art and science of conveying information from one location to another. With radio telemetry, radio signals are used to convey that information. This field of science is used in the MISSISSIPPI RIVER around Dubuque to monitor fish and their movements.

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The tracking method of choice for most freshwater research is radio telemetry. Biologists can equip fish with amazingly small radio transmitters and track their movements and behavior with the aid of receivers. Radio telemetry system designs commonly use antennas to establish "listening" zones to detect signals.
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Biologists put the captured fish to sleep using a prescribed drug. A small cut is made on the fish's belly, and a small radio transmitter is placed inside. This small radio has an wire antenna attached to it which is located outside of the fish's body. The biologist then uses stitches to close the opening which prevents the radio transmitter from falling out of the fish. After surgery, the fish are released back into the river.

Fish may be located during migrations and more frequently during spawning to determine what tributaries are used for spawning and other migration information. Locations of radio-tagged fish are made from the ground using a truck mounted directional whip antenna, by hand with a three-element antenna, or from a small fixed wing aircraft with a three element antennae mounted on a wing strut.