Before the buoy could be tested on the ocean, the basic functionality of the electronic system was to be tested on land.  This test was done when the electronic system of the buoy was not entirely complete.  Therefore, temporary equipment was needed in order to carry out this test. 

Date of test: June 28th, 2002

Location of test: Clover Point and surrounding area

Equipment Used:

Set-up:

One handheld FRS radio was connected to the buoy via the microphone jack.  This was used to transmit the GPS data every 10 seconds.  The second handheld FRS radio was used to receive the GPS data and was connected to the PC with a serial cable.  HyperTerminal was used to monitor and log the received data.

Test Procedure:

The following steps were taken during the land test once on location at Clover Point:

  1. All equipment was set-up and powered on.  The buoy was placed in a vehicle to be driven from test point to test point.  The computer and associated equipment remained set-up at Clover Point.
  2. Before the buoy was moved any distance from the receiver, the entire system was tested to ensure that the buoy was transmitted data and the PC was receiving it properly. 
  3. The buoy was driven to the first test point.  Cell phone calls were at check points and enroute to the first test point to ensure the signal was still being transmitted.  On the receiving end, HyperTerminal was also being monitored to ensure the GPS data was still being received.
  4. If the signal was lost before Test Point #1, the audio on the receiver was adjusted if the signal was too weak.  Otherwise, vehicle with the buoy back-tracked until an adequate signal was received.
  5. Steps 3 and 4 were repeated for Test Points #2, #3, and #4.

In the map below, all the locations of the Test Points (TP) are shown.

Background map courtesy of MapQuest (Copyright 2002 MapQuest.com, Inc.; Copyright 2002 Navigation Technologies

Results:

Test Point # Location Distance from Clover Point Comments

0

Clover Point 0 km Receiving signal with no errors.

1

Ross Bay Cemetery ~ 0.9 km Still receiving signal with very few errors.

2

Chinese Cemetery ~ 2.2 km Still receiving signal but errors occurred enroute.

3

Lookout Point ~ 3.0 km Still receiving signal but errors occurred enroute.
4 Oak Bay Marina ~ 4.0 km No signal received.

From this test, it was determined that the range of the buoy was the distance from Clover Point to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.  This is a distance of ~3.8 km.

Some possible causes of signal interference are:

The handheld FRS radios were just temporary and will be replaced with higher-powered marine radios.  Therefore, the transmission range should be far greater once these radios are obtained.  Also the ocean does not have structures or hills to block the signal path so this will also improve signal range.