Drill with Ease

How and Why to Perform a Downhole Frequency Change in HDD

With the ever-changing landscape of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and the contractors constantly being asked to provide more; being able to conduct a downhole change quickly and reliably is imperative. The old days of running single frequency transmitters are a thing of the past, and technology has progressed tenfold over the past decade. With the Echo 75XF transmitter paired with a Mag X Pro, Underground Magnetics is at the forefront of this technology. The need for user-friendly locating systems with intuitive downhole change capabilities is at an all-time high. It doesn’t get easier than doing it with a UMAG System.

Combating active and passive interference during the bore is simple when using the Echo 50XF or 75XF transmitter. Giving the operator unmatched capability. With frequencies ranging from .325 kHz to 41 kHz and multiple power levels, these transmitters can handle just about anything thrown in their way. From a precise gravity sewer bore, under a thick concrete slab filled with rebar, to a deep river crossing requiring more range and anything in between. Identifying problematic areas along the bore path is made easy with the built-in Range Forecasting tool. Simply walk the bore path with the locator prior to placing batteries in the transmitter. Cycle through the frequencies at anticipated trouble areas throughout the bore to see which frequency will yield the most effective range at that location.

Once this is done, place the transmitter in the appropriate frequency to begin the bore. Whether using, Tracking on the Fly or Bore-To the downhole change process will be the same. The downhole frequency and power change can be done from the display or the receiver. Place the receiver directly over the drill head in the ground.


With the latest Mag Series receivers, you can make all necessary changes directly from one device. This enables the operator to specify the frequency and power level they would like to change at any point during the project. This is done through the settings menu from the Downhole Change screen. Once you have specified the frequency and power level, you simply press Enter to confirm and a step-by-step guide for the process will appear on the receiver screen and display on the drill.
This allows the locating operator and drill operator to interact effortlessly. When all 6 steps are successfully completed, a check mark will appear on the screen. This confirms that both the transmitter and receiver have been updated.

Return to the locate screen and within a few seconds the transmitter data will populate. At this point the operator is ready to navigate the rebar portion of the bore. Upon completion of this section, repeat the same downhole change process to return the system to 22 kHz. Note: You should calibrate each frequency individually prior to using them.

The downhole change capability is paramount to the safe and accurate completion of HDD projects in today’s high interference environments. Contractors are demanding more out of their locators and Underground Magnetics has answered that call. Delivering the unmatched capability of their transmitters, incorporating rebar frequencies into their standard product and the providing the ability to perform an unlimited number of downhole frequency and power changes on a single bore.

For a full step-by-step guide scan the QR code below or visit umaghdd.com.

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Corbin Stephens is regional territory manager at Underground Magnetics.

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