Transmitter Range Test of the Loc8tor Pet Radio-Tracking System

The Loc8tor Pet (now call TabCat) is a small radio-tracking device that can be attached to a cat’s collar.  The radio-tags (i.e. transmitters) are only 5 grams each and the receiver is a little larger than a credit card.  The maximum advertised range of the Loc8tor Pet is 400 feet.  The Loc8tor is available on for under $100.

I placed the Loc8tor Pet radio-tag on a stuffed rabbit and placed it under the porch on the SW side of a house in a suburban neighborhood.  The radio-tag is marked in green, and the maximum ranges that I picked up on the Loc8tor Pet receiver are marked with yellow pins.  I also did a similar test with the radio-tag placed on my dog inside of the house.  In that case, the range was only about 50 feet.  The maximum range I was able to get was 411 feet from across the parking lot.  Removing the minimum and maximum numbers, the average range of the Loc8tor Pet in a suburban area was 212 feet.

I did a similar test in two different wooded areas.  The transmitter range in the woods was 163 feet to 400 feet with an average of 312 feet.  In both the suburban area and the woods, the range was strongly effected by the topography.  When the signal had to travel through buildings or hilly landscapes, the range was significantly reduced.

So far I think the Loc8tor Pet is worth purchasing as an additional safeguard in case you lose your cat.  Both indoor and outdoor cats would benefit though finding a lost outdoor-access cat would probably involve a lot more walking.  However, I did find one potential flaw with the design.  When you push a button on the receiver to select a radio-tag to locate, the receiver will search for 45 seconds, and if it doesn’t locate the radio-tag signal in that time, it will stop searching.  It makes a small two-tone beep to alert you when it stops searching, so you can press the button again and continue searching.  However, it is also very easy to accidentally switch the sound off, and then you might not know when it stops searching.  If you don’t press the search button again within another 45 seconds, the entire unit will shut off.  Basically, you need to remember to press the search button every 45 seconds until you pick up a signal. I assume that these features were added to ensure that you didn’t accidentally turn the receiver on and drain the battery, but they compromise the effectiveness of the whole system, especially for people that are not aware of the issue. If you can afford it, the Marco Polo may be a better radio-tracking option though I haven’t had an opportunity to test this system yet.

Demo of the Loc8tor Pet receiver

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