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High End Research Gear And Equipment

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norseman
BFF Donor

^ Kifaru stuff is good but super pricey. I used Tactical Tailor gear and packs for the last 10 years of my Army career. Made in the US, lifetime warranty, and a little less expensive than Kifaru.

I own some of there stuff and wasn't aware they made packs, thanks!

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Guest

Recently purchased a yukon #YK28041 ranger with the matching audio/visual recording unit and donated to a BF research group. What say?

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Explorer

Thermalman, others,

Do you think this Thermal camera is as good the the ad claims?

For $2,600 it ain't cheap, but it appears to offer better quality and features than Flir Scout at a lower price.

https://nightvisionops.com/shop/tm-x-thermal-camera-50hz/

I am not familiar with this brand. I am only familiar with the National brands like Flir and Flake.

Below is the product description. I like the fact that it has a refresh rate of 50Hz and has a SD card that can store video for several hours.

However, I am not tech savy on this gear and not sure if it is worth it.

The TM-X is quite possibly the best value thermal imaging camera on the market.

Packed with features normally found only in scopes priced up to triple the amount, the TM-X allows professionals and dedicated hobbyists a more affordable opportunity to enter the thermal imaging world.

With a refresh rate of 50Hz and an impressive 160 x 120 sensor resolution which is digitally enhanced to a 320 x 240 display output, the resulting smooth images are similar to cameras costing several times more.

The 25mm Germanium lens captures video which can be digitally magnified with a press of a button for 2x zoom.

The polarity of display images can be changed between white (hot) or white (black) or you can choose between 8 other full or partial color scheme display options.

Settings allow the user to view an onscreen reticle and activate a live, object motion tracking square.

Equally impressive, the camera accepts an removable SD card for several hours of recording and the video signal can also be exported through RCA or USB cables.

The TM-X runs on 9v DC power or 4 (AA) batteries.

Recently purchased a yukon #YK28041 ranger with the matching audio/visual recording unit and donated to a BF research group. What say?

PTangier,

Not sure if the Yukon Ranger you bought is the same as the one in the link below (which I bought 2 years ago).

http://www.opticsplanet.com/yukon-digital-night-vision-ranger-28041.html

For those who are not familiar with this unit, it is a Night Vision monocular that sends out an IR beam (it is not a Thermal Imager).

It does not have internal video capability or SD card.

It does have an outlet where you can plug a portable DVR and record video (but not audio).

My experience with the Yukon ranger is mixed.

I have used it several times in UT, AZ, and CA (in search of BF).

Pluses

+ The unit performs very well in dense forests (at less than 100 ft) at night where you want to see in complete darkness, because the high intensity IR beam illuminates well. (I was able to find a fox hidden in the forest, plus the usual rabbits, butterflies, bugs, etc.)

+ Once you get the unit calibrated and setup properly with the DVR, you can record for hours.

+ Inexpensive way to get access to Gen2 NV.

+ Uses 6 AA batteries (as opposed to some new high tech batteries that you need to recharge). Thus, I simply carry spares.

Deltas

- I don't like having to attach a portable DVR with cables hanging. Last time in Utah I lost a cable in some branches and miraculously somebody in the group found it.

- No audio in the DVR setup so I can't record any noises that might be happening co-currenlty with a sighting.

- Does not work very well at long distances and it takes a long time to focus.

- The IR beam is visible by humans (at least everybody I point the Yukon Ranger at tells me that they can see the source), so any BF would be able to see it too.

- The unit is heavy and not fun when you have to lug it in a backpack for miles.

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thermalman

I'll have a look and let you know. The price seems decent enough. :)

Edited by thermalman

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Guest

Explorer have you used the TM-X? If you have does it have a red/black color scheme for the viewer?

I have read that the Yukon Ranger ruins your ability to see at night once you look through the finder. Not an option for me.

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Explorer

Explorer have you used the TM-X? If you have does it have a red/black color scheme for the viewer?

I have read that the Yukon Ranger ruins your ability to see at night once you look through the finder. Not an option for me.

I don't have the TM-X yet. A friend wants to buy it this year. I might buy it later on depending on reviews and budget constraints.

I do have the Yukon Ranger, and you are correct that once you look thru the monocular for a few minutes (which is really bright) and then look outside, you are blinded and need to wait for your eyes to adjust.

The better thing to do is to look at the DVR image (which is connected to the unit) instead of thru the view-finder and this does not blind you.

But this only works if you have a tripod (which I have used in CA in camp).

The portable DVR monitor is also bright, so BF or anyone out there will see you.

This equipment is not stealthy.

I think the better strategy might be to stay in camp and use tripod and let BF come to you, instead of hiking at night. (Based on many postings from others in this forum).

Thus, maybe setting up a tripod at camp (regardless of whether I use NV or thermal) might be the way to go.

The Yukon Ranger has its uses and merits, despite its flaws - so I probably will continue bringing it to camp.

Would I buy it again if I went back in time with what I know today, probably not.

I would have gone with internal video SD card and thermal instead of NV.

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Guest

Explorer- yeah thats the øne. Do you have any input for tips such as battery life or recording tips?

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thermalman

I had a look at the camera Explorer. I'd like to point a few things out for you.

With a refresh rate of 50Hz .......... that is a very good refresh rate. Most value cameras are below 30 Hz.

an impressive 160 x 120 sensor resolution which is digitally enhanced to a 320 x 240 display output....... My concern here is that the enhancement might cause pixelation that will blur the image?

The 25mm Germanium lens captures video which can be digitally magnified with a press of a button for 2x zoom..... Zoom is not really a good option as it pixelates the picture. I have 4x zoom on mine which I rarely use.

The polarity of display images can be changed between white (hot) or white (black) or you can choose between 8 other full or partial color scheme display options....... How is this feature implemented? Its nice to have, if not cumbersome? I have software for my camera, which I can then adjust the palette. In my opinion, its the only way to go.

Settings allow the user to view an onscreen reticle and activate a live, object motion tracking square..... A nice feature to have.

Equally impressive, the camera accepts an removable SD card for several hours of recording and the video signal can also be exported through RCA or USB cables..........Nice feature, to be able to swap up with more memory.

The TM-X runs on 9v DC power or 4 (AA) batteries......I prefer to have a single rechargeable lithium battery, which has longer life and that I can switch up quickly.

Before jumping into it, research other cameras in the same price range and compare the specs. If you need me to help you out further, just PM me. Best of luck.

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Explorer

Explorer- yeah thats the øne. Do you have any input for tips such as battery life or recording tips?

PTangier,

Battery life depends on how you are planning to use the unit.

Most of the time I keep the unit off and only turn it on to see an area of interest.

This allowed the batteries to last over a year and multiple trips.

But, you don't get a warning when the batteries die.

So last year they died in the field, and I quickly loadead another fresh 6.

I tried using the video almost constantly on in another trip (the unit was on for ~4 hours) and the batteries lasted fine.

But I really have not tested how long I can run the unit on until the batteries discharge.

I always bring a fresh battery pack in all my trips - since I never know how much life is left.

Also, I understand that if you use the high intensity IR beam instead of the low intensity one, that you will consume more battery power.

Thus, I only use high intensity IR beam when the area I am looking at is further away.

I don't have much recording tips to offer.

Much of my DVR videos suck - because I am moving the unit.

The best video is when I have the unit on a tripod and can scan the area slowly.

I had a look at the camera Explorer. I'd like to point a few things out for you.

Thermalman, thanks much for the review and insights on this thermal unit.

I will take your advice and do more research and comparisons.

Edited by Explorer

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Guest

Explorer, that does look like a really good deal on that thermal. The fact that it has video capture built in is huge, especially for that price. Thermals definitely use up batteries quickly and I really recommend to anybody to use the lithium batteries. I use Energizer ultimate lithium and they last much longer than regular batteries.

This past weekend we were out and two guys in one area had the good thermal. They were out of lithium so were just using regular batteries and they died after an hour. Shortly after they died they saw two red eyes up a hill looking at them. The eyes were 4-5 inches apart and they even saw them blink. This was in an area that they recorded a squatch on thermal in the past and those batteries dying probably cost them some amazing footage. They were very frustrated to say the least. My point is, as you also mentioned always have plenty of backups and use good batteries.

My night vision is an I Gen http://www.amazon.com/Night-Owl-Optics-20-Processor/dp/B000OV8FB6 and it is really good in my opinion. It has image capture, but not video capture so I have to use an external dvr. The dvr does put out some light, but you can get some red see through plastic and put over it to make it not as bright. I hook my night vision to my tripod and strap the tripod on my shoulder when I hike. Having a tripod really helps.

Explorer or anyone else can I ask what dvr you use? Mine is ok, but I don't completely trust it because it seems cheap even though I paid almost $200 for it. All writing is in chinese and I ordered it through ebay. It came straight from china with no English anywhere. 4 of the guys in my group have the same dvr that I do and they don't like it too much either. Three of us have had the cables that it came with stop working after a few uses and it's not easy to find that particular cable. It is about 3"x2", which is a pretty good size. Some of the other guys have another brand, but I'm not sure what it is and it's much larger and harder to carry around.

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Explorer

JRid,

Yes, the AA bateries that I use are all the Energizer Ultimate Lithium (worth the extra $ for the time).

With regard to my DVR, I bought a Bolide Portable Digital A/V Recorder (see links below).

I bought it from B&H Video over 2 years ago but the link below says that they don't sell it anymore.

The 2nd link shows also shows it is un-available.

I went to the Bolide website and it appears that they discontinued it.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/661247-REG/Bolide_Technology_Group_BE_PVR_V5_2_5_Portable_Digital_A_V_Recorder.html

http://www.amamax.com/botepv5podia.html

I am very happy with the unit and its features.

I had no problem with the cables that came with this unit.

I like the ability to review videos quickly in the DVR to see what I captured, and it has an easy menu driven software.

The biggest source of head-ache with the setup is with the cable that came from the Yukon Ranger to connect with DVR cable.

The Yukon connection comes loose with time and while you think you are recording, all you get is white noise.

Thus, you need to constantly check the DVR image and the Yukon connection (not a problem with the DVR though).

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Guest

Thanks Explorer. It sux they don't make it anymore. From what I've seen there aren't that many portable DVR's available.

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Guest

Explorer- thanks for all the feedback on the NV binoculars. Can I just ask you this- what tri pod do you have for the yukon Ranger?

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Explorer

PTangier,

I have two tripods. They all have a standard screw that fits Yukon ranger (or maybe it is the other way around, Yukon ranger designed its unit to fit standard tripod screws).

An inexpensive and lightweight Slick that I bought over 15 years ago (Slick Insta-Lok 960 G-QL).

Good to take backpacking because it is light, but it has poor swivel motions and it is not smooth.

A more recent acquisition for my video camera is the Pearstone VT-2100.

This is a much better unit with smooth movements in 3 dimensions.

It is heavier and I won't be taking it backpacking, but it would be good for car camping.

I have only used it once, though, so don't have much experience with it.

But its performance is order of magnitudes better than the slick.

BTW, I am curious of what tripod JRid uses.

He mentioned above that he straps it around his shoulder when he hikes.

Must be a light weight unit.

I guess for all this equipment one needs to decide if you are going to be hiking/backpacking with it or car camping (in terms of the weight of the tripod and all equipment).

Tripods really help on video quality, and I noticed that my new one avoids jerky movements on the video and it is much easier to move positions.

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