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Anabat is a system designed to help users identify and survey bats by detecting and analysing their echolocation calls. It is most widely used for passive detection, where the detector is used as a logging device to monitor bat activity in the absence of human intervention. But it is also very well suited to active monitoring, where the user watches bats in much the same ways as a birder watches birds. In that case, a bat detector is substituted for binoculars as the main enabling technology. 

For passive monitoring, there are three main components to the system, a Bat Detector, a ZCAIM and software. In the current SD2 model, like its predecessor the SD1, the detector and ZCAIM are combined into one housing. The detector and ZCAIM can be placed in the field and protected from the weather, so they can monitor bats all night long, every night for months or even years at a time, while saving their data to a Compact Flash memory card (like those used in cameras). The card is typically swapped out in the field with an empty card, and then downloaded to extract the stored data, which can be viewed and managed in the AnalookW software. Often, solar panels are used as the source of power.

For active monitoring, the ideal setup is an SD1/SD2 with an attached PDA, which allows in-the-hand monitoring of bat calls in real time. This arrangement gives the user maximum freedom of movement to follow bats on foot. Surveys can easily be conducted on foot or from a moving vehicle. The ability to see bat calls in real time has many benefits, making it much easier to associate different bat call types with the bats and their behaviour, which is vital for learning how to identify bats from passive recordings. See here for more details.

The Bat Detector is used to produce audible output from the ultrasonic (and therefore generally inaudible) sounds which bats generate in order to echolocate. While there are many types of bat detectors available commercially, those used in the Anabat system are the ANABAT II and SD1 detectors, now both obsolete and replaced by the SD2. The SD2 combines a detector and ZCAIM (see below). These are frequency dividing (FD) detectors which provide a broadband frequency down-conversion, which generates audio signals with frequencies directly related to those the bat is producing. Many authors have treated Frequency Division detectors as poor cousins of the more complex detector types, because they provide less complete detail of the recorded bat calls. However, there are many tradeoffs in bat detector design, and the Anabat detectors provide a number of very important facilities which are not possible with other detectors. Anabat detectors make it very fast and easy to see the output which is of most value for species identification (the frequency-time characteristics of bat calls), and they provide this in a manner which is extremely efficient in terms of data storage requirements and power consumption. Furthermore, the nature of the data generated by Anabat detectors is ideally suited to analysis using Zero-Crossings Analysis (ZCA), which provides very clear depictions of the important call details without the blurriness inherent in displays made using FFT (which is necessary for other forms of call analysis, and is also much slower and requires relatively huge amounts of data). FD and ZCA are used in combination to allow Anabat detectors to provide realtime displays of bat calls, and to facilitate long term passive monitoring. Other techniques, such as time-expansion, may give more complete depictions of call detail, but these extra details have little if any value for species identification and they impose other costs (such as not being able to record all the time, not being able to provide realtime displays and demanding vastly greater storage space) which limit their use in other ways. 

The ZCAIM (Zero-Crossings Analysis Interface Module) is a piece of hardware which interfaces the audio-frequency signal from the Bat Detector to a computer, such as a PC, laptop or PDA. The ZCAIM is necessary to efficiently provide the fine temporal resolution required for ZCA. It is NOT true that normal computer sound cards can be used effectively for this purpose. The ZCAIM is included inside the SD1 or SD2 detector, which provides the functionality of both the detector and ZCAIM in the one box. The older CF Storage ZCAIM is a separate piece of hardware intended for use with an Anabat II bat detector.

The software consists of two main programs, both of which are Windows programs. They can run on any machine running Windows XP or later, including a recent Mac, and they will also run in Wine under Linux.

CFCread allows management of the ZCAIM (inc SD1 and SD2) for passive recording and downloading of data from CF cards.
AnalookW allows viewing and manipulation (such as call parameter extraction) from saved Anabat data and has many facilities for data management.

There are also two utility programs:

PicLoad which allows upgrading of the firmware in the older CF Storage ZCAIMs and SD1 detectors
AnaSun which provides computations of sun and moon rises and sets and twilight times.

and PIC firmware for the SD1 and CF Storage ZCAIM.

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Latest AnaLookW software

You can get the latest version from my Beta site.

To get the version, click on Help, About and look at the top where it says "Version".


Latest AnaPocket software

You can get the latest versions from my Beta site.

Please note that there are two versions - the PC2003 version should only be used with the older PDAs using the PC2003 Windows Mobile operating system. The IPAQ 2215 is such a device. Any more recent PDA using Win Mobile 5 or later should use the WM5 version.

To install AnaPocket, connect to your PDA using ActiveSync for Win XP. In Vista, there is a built-in Mobile Device Center which should connect to your PDA automatically. For Windows 7, you need to download the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) from Microsoft before you can connect. Don't establish a partnership or anything. In WMDC, choose the "Connect without setting up your device" option once a connection has been made, then "File Management" and "Browse the contents of your device". This will open an Explorer window into your PDA. Copy the AnaPocket.exe file into the Windows, Start Menu folder on your PDA.

Don't try to run AnaPocket.exe on your PC!! It won't do anything.


Latest Storage ZCAIM  and SD1/SD2 Software / Firmware


The version of CFCread you use should always be the latest available, as new functionality and bugfixes are often implemented. Earlier versions will encounter problems when an SD2 is used.

You can get the latest version from my Beta site.

To check the version number, click on the system menu icon at left of the CFCread dalog title and open the ABOUT box.


PIC Loader

Software required to upload storage ZCAIM or SD1 internal firmware via a serial port.

You can get the latest version from my Beta site.

To check the version number, click on the system menu icon at left of the PICload dalog title and open the ABOUT box.



You can get the latest versions from my Beta site.


Other Utility Software

ANASUN Version 1.0a

A utility which generates tables of Moonrise, Moonset, Sunrise, Sunset and Twilight times for either a whole year or a single month. Enter your position in degrees and decimals for latitude and longitude, and your time zone in hours relative to GMT (west of Greenwich is negative). Output is a text file, tab delimited for easy access by spreadsheet programs. Requires Windows 9x, NT or 2000.

You can get the latest version from my Beta site.



AnaVolumes is sofftware and documentation to help you understand the zone of reception of a bat detector. It is technical and complex, but should provide valuable insights if you are interested in this subject.

You can get the latest version from my Beta site.


Beta Site

Latest software versions are accessible from my Beta site at

which is case-sensitive.

Or jump to it here

For the sofware, just copy the .exe file onto your hard drive. Make sure any shortcuts you use point to the new version, not an older version. There have been many problems from people accidentally loading an old version after installing the newer version. Note the explanations above about how to find out what version is running.

There is also a fair bit of documentation on the Beta site, which could be very helpful to new users.

Please be aware that these are offered as is, for free, but with no guarantees whatsoever that they won't destroy your data, cost you money, start forest fires etc. I take no responsibility at all for anything bad which happens to you from using my free software!

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Technical Notes

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Contact Information

I am always anxious for feedback, and welcome criticism just as much as positive feedback. If you have any suggestions for improvement, or any corrections to make, please contact me by Email. I am also very interested to hear from anyone who thinks I have misrepresented anything, as I want this to be a web page which is useful and informative, and I don't mind including alternative viewpoints.