Anti-theft options for unattended equipment?Posted by kjac on September 8, 2019 at 12:14 am
What are you guys doing to help prevent or deter theft of your expensive toys? I’m looking at these
American Earth Anchor – Anti-Theft Anchor Kit reusable anchor screws with cable tie-offs as an option, but I think they are a little overkill at 18″ long 1-3/4″ thick… they do sell a 10″ version though and can be installed with a cordless drill. Does anyone have any experience with something like this or a better suggestion on keeping a tripod and instrument from walking off?
Are there any anti-theft options for the tribrach screw to prevent it from being unscrewed? I thought about a knob lock something like this:
but it’s probably too large and not really ideal… perhaps just a wire cable and lock would work, but the idea of having weight hanging from the tribrach worries me.
- 22 Replies
- MemberSeptember 8, 2019 at 5:14 am
I’ve played with a number of ground anchor schemes, and for the most part I find them not worth the time and trouble. However, on the rare occasions that I do feel it necessary, I use a driveable trap anchor. They’re not practical to retrieve, so there’s a sunk cost in using them, but the only cost a few dollars each and they work well.
For the instrument attachment I loop a 1/8″ stainless cable through the tribrach, on which I’ve run the lock screw all the way in and filled the hole with a piece of rubber cut flush with the face of the lock handle. Assuming a thief knew enough about tribrachs to figure out why he can’t turn the lock handle, he’d have to find a suitable pointed tool to pick the rubber out of the hole and then come up with a screwdriver small enough to back out the lock screw in order to release the instrument. Either that or just use pliers to snap the lock screw and leave the trashed tribrach behind. Even easier yet would be to use a cable cutter to cut the cable, but that requires some forethought, and the kind of thieves I’m most likely to encounter don’t travel with much of that.
- MemberSeptember 8, 2019 at 11:56 am
I have never done anything more than put the case in the truck and leave the truck standing guard. If it is too sketchy to leave a set of legs up I would consider that an environment appropriate to bring another person with for safety concerns.
You could disable the release knob on the tribrach, remove the bell housing screw and replace with a 5/8 course threaded nut secured overtight to the tribrach, that would make it mighty awkward to remove the instrument without some tools and knowhow, but I think it is standard for thieves to pull the whole thing legs and all and throw in a truck bed lickety split. They may not have had the importance of proper care of instrumentation drilled in to them during the course of their apprenticeship.
- MemberSeptember 8, 2019 at 4:08 pmPosted by: @party-chef
I think it is standard for thieves to pull the whole thing legs and all and throw in a truck bed lickety split.
This is the reason I usually lock the cable around a fixed object like a fire hydrant, utility pole, sign post, tree, vacuum breaker, bench or anything else that’s not easily dislodged.
When I’m not able to site the instrument near something fixed, my fallback is to cable it to the folding cart I use in urban areas to haul everything around. With the cable run through the tribrach, the tripod and locked to the cart, it’s not an easy matter to pick it all up and toss it into a truck. It’s doable, for sure — especially with two people — but it makes for an awkward bunch of stuff to handle, and might just slow them down enough for me to see what’s going on and get back to the gun in time to interrupt the theft.
- MemberSeptember 9, 2019 at 2:14 pm
My number 1 recommendation is to not set your base up by the side of the road. Setting it even on the far side of the ditch will reduce your chance of theft substantially, and probably improve your data as well.
- MemberSeptember 9, 2019 at 5:15 pm
Possibly, but I was thinking along the lines of a better trained dog, one that didn’t have to be tied, but who knew their job was to stay close.
- MemberSeptember 12, 2019 at 11:11 pm
I have tried various things, best is locked to fixed object that is going to require serious work and tools, I think most of the lost gear is due to a grab and dash opportunity. I have even used various signs too.
A cargo trailer to be used as a portable CORS station is one good investment I made, boot the trailer, solar on the roof, RTK antennas on the roof, receiver and radio inside, only seriously exposed piece is the tripod and antenna and I lock the tripod to the trailer with a long cable. I have thought of deploying a camera system on he trailer too just to observe what goes on, even if a theft doesn’t occur, how many birds land, how many folks check it out.,etc.
Best option though is not to leave in view, 2nd best is some sort of security and always have good insurance!
I have lost two receivers since striking out on my own in 1995 (a battery was found from one of those, otherwise totally gone to never be heard from again) and my previous employer lost a couple in the 1990-95 time frame.
I sure like RTN’s when they can be used for task at hand!
- MemberSeptember 13, 2019 at 2:19 pm
One block of C4, a primary, pressure plate circuit. yeah, you’ll lose the gear but one more thief morphed into a pink cloud and one less.
Watching with an attendant is the only way to keep stuff from disappearing. And not working in those environments too.
- MemberSeptember 13, 2019 at 4:50 pm
Base stations do disappear from time to time around here. The best “passive” anti-theft deterrent imho is to NOT make the base easily accessible. I have the luxury of possessing keys to fit the fence locks on all the local power substations and the gates on all the transmission R/Ws. I have a number of permanent points there and I rarely (if ever) experience any TX/REC problems.
I also am in the same areas enough that I know a good number of the local population. There are also 4 or 5 good folks that I’ve asked about leaving a base on their property away from the road and opportunistic thieves and they just wave at me now as I scoot up the hill. One of the benefits of working in the same 5 counties all the time.
- MemberSeptember 13, 2019 at 9:57 pm
I had one of my setups disappear with an attendant about 50 feet away with his back turned, head a noise, turned around and they were throwing the whole base setup in the get away car, gone in seconds. He was on the radio to me and I was back there momentarily, law called, direction of travel and rough description of car (color at least) and still no recovery.
An attendant is no guarantee and in some locations thieves use force to commit an armed robbery of gear. It can be dangerous business this surveying.
- MemberSeptember 13, 2019 at 10:24 pm
We used to have a sign that we stuck to the tripod that said a few things, including that the setup was under remote camera surveillance.
- MemberSeptember 13, 2019 at 10:47 pm
Leave a machine in the nearby brush that plays the sound of a shot gun cocking.
Back when we ran RTK all of the time, it’s all VRS now for us, I made a trailer that you just plugged in when you got back and that central plug charged everything. It also had a 25 foot flag pole and rings to chain the setup too. You would park it, flip it to “on”, run the antenna up, plug in the antenna to the permanently mounted receiver, remove the tongue and throw it in trailer, lock it up and go to work. It worked very well
- MemberSeptember 14, 2019 at 3:42 am
I once hired five college students to watch four GPS receivers on control points and one to go around with my helper to various sites.
I wasn’t so worried about losing the receivers as I was with the data therein. Ten hours of data isn’t easy to replace.
The cost was less than 7% of the price.
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