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Pivot Irrigation Systems using Raveon Data Radios

Raveon Technologies RV-M7 UHF radios provide an excellent communications link for Pivot Irrigation Systems using UHF and VHF radio modems.

In the course of maximizing crop yield, daylight hour efficiency, and limited natural resources, farmers today must utilize every technology available that gives them an advantage in the market place. To attain this advantage, however, it must come with a transparent technology approach so the farmer can focus on his expertise and strengths and allow the technology to operate seamlessly. Pivot Irrigation systems employing Raveon Technologies UHF or VHF GPS enabled radio solutions provide just that balance to the farmer.

As pivot irrigation systems improved farming efficiencies by an order of magnitude decades ago, adding “smart communications” to the irrigator is the next logical step. Data such as moisture, pivot location, weather, operability, and failure/faults which where once gathering by the farmer entering the field and making a visual inspection, can now be effectively done at the farmhouse (or even further away) using low cost UHF GPS enabled radios. Data can also be tracked and stored to be reviewed between growing seasons to better improve next year’s yields.

Two main methods of radio communications have been employed, cellular and UHF. VHF/UHF data radio modems far and away trumps cellular due to the fact that there are no monthly recurring data charges along with higher reliability as there are no risks of losing a signal due to heavy phone traffic volume. Add to the fact that UHF can transmit much farther (up to 50 miles), can send/receive unlimited data without added charges, operate in grid power failure modes, and be free of annual cell contracts that are inefficient in short Upper Midwest growing seasons (where data transmission may only be required for as little as four months), the choice of radio communication becomes obvious.

The Raveon Technologies RV-M7-U-GX radio modem solves the radio decision by providing highly reliable, ruggedized, low power, precise GPS enabled radio control operating in the licensed UHF frequency band (450-470Mhz.). The M7 is ideally suited as it is a proven design with a proven track record, has shipped in volume production for seven years, and has a low system and operating cost. Raveon’s RV-M7-UC data radio modem has all of the features of the RV-M7-U-GX except the internal GPS receiver.  It is ideal for sending/receiving data, remote control, reading remote sensors, and any other data communication need where GPS position information is not requried.

The systems solution includes the pivot irrigator itself, sensors that monitor weather, moisture, fault, pivot arm position, etc. along with the Raveon Technologies RV-M7-U-GX to perform radio communications. To complete the bidirectional link, a second RV-M7 radio along with a PC would be placed at the farmhouse for monitoring and control.

With the system in place, the farmer from the farmhouse or base station can monitor and adjust the exact position of the pivot arm, adjust for irregular shaped fields, water only when water is needed, change watering cycles during the changing growing season, spot a fault or failure with the pivot long before any crop damage can occur, flag locations of concern for visual inspection, and can store and save statistics and data to be reviewed between growing seasons.

In summary, Raveon Technologies low cost UHF radios provide a highly reliable data link between farmer and pivot irrigator to enable new levels of efficiency and crop management in modern farming.

Raveon Technologies is located in Vista, Ca. They can be reached at or 760-727-8004.

Filed under: Industry information | Posted on October 11th, 2010 by John Sonnenberg

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