Amateur Television (ATV)
Our current project is 1.2 and 2.4 GHz ATV (Amateur TV). The plan is to install a color camera with pan, tilt, and zoom at the 155 foot mark of my tower (at our acreage site). The camera will be controlled remotely via 440 MHz (DTMF tones) from Sherwood Park and the live video will be transmitted back into the Edmonton area on the 1.2 GHz band. The controller can also be given the command to switch to different cameras on site. Some of these cameras will be hard wired, some will be using a 2.4 GHz video link (powered by solar arrays and located in other remote areas of the 153 acre lot). One of the 2.4 GHz video signals will come from a transmitter/camera installed in my truck (so my wife can see what I'm up to when I'm working in our acreage area). There will also be a number of B/W cameras installed in various locations at ground level. Each of these B/W cameras will have its own motion sensor. If a sensor is triggered, a time-lapse VCR will start recording from that particular camera. A radio will then transmit back to my home telling me that # ?? motion sensor has been triggered. I can then remotely (from home) switch from one of the tower camera outputs to the VCR output and play back to recorded video. The controller that will allow me to do all this is currently under construction by Barry VE6SBS. Many more features are being programmed into this controller (too many to list). The pan/tilt assembly has been mounted on the tower along with all feedlines, antennas, and control cable. We are hoping the remaining parts will be mounted soon.
Below are a few pictures of the project:
Control unit currently under construction
Some video overlay screen shots
Check back for more pictures coming soon.
More path tests - this time from the top of the Tory Building on the U of A campus. We set up my control unit in my garage and via remote control from the Tory Building turned on the 1.2 GHz transmitter. Picture was P5 at the Tory. We then remotely switched it from camera video output to a 2.4 GHz receiver output (turned on 2.4 GHz receiver). We then transmitted a 2.4 GHz signal from the top f the Tory Building towards my place in Sherwood Park. Whatever 2.4 GHz signal was received there, was re-transmitted back to us on 1.2 GHz. Pictures were P5 quality both ways (even with a lower gain antenna on 2.4). Just for fun, we tried using Barry's short range 1" stub antenna on the 2.4 GHz transmitter. We thought for sure the signal wouldn't be detected but it actually was (only P1 but still a real surprise). Only 30 mW too!
Progress is being made on both my acreage unit and the NARC repeater.
Barry VE6SBS has created a web site that shows more detailed info and updates on this project. Click HERE to check it out.
He's also got lots of other ATV info, G1MFG mods, and project updates on his other pages. Click HERE to check that out.
Barry VE6SBS and I did some path testing around Edmonton city. We had a wide variety of antennas for both 1.2 and 2.4 GHz. The tests gave some very interesting results. It was amazing how little power and low antenna gain gave such good video (P5 quality on some paths).
All other 1.2 and 2.4 GHz antennas are in and are awaiting installation. Barry VE6SBS and I are also using some extra antennas for some detailed path testing around the Edmonton area (to be done very soon). This not only helps us in our future repeater/pass-through decisions but will help NARC in their decision of what equipment to order for their ATV projects. The only thing we're waiting for is the 2.4 GHz receivers and further progress can be made.
The controller (seen in above pics) is also nearing completion. A bit of programming still needed, a 2.4 GHz receiver to be added, and a few other odds & ends and we can install it at the acreage site.
The main tower camera is complete but the weather proof housing still needs to built. This won't take long.
All should be completed by later this year.
We were successful today in the first 'real video' path test from Sherwood Park to the Miquelon Lake site (a path distance of 42 Kms). Video was P4 quality (nearly perfect) with wet terrain conditions and higher feedline loss than the final install would see. Video quality can only improve from here on out. The other thing we learned today is that we'll definitely have to set up an ATV repeater for those in Edmonton city itself being that Sherwood Park is much higher in elevation than most parts of Edmonton. Plans are to install the ATV repeater at David's VE6DXX QTH sometime in the summer/fall of 2003. It will probably be a 'cross-band repeater' with 1.2 GHz input and 2.4 GHz output.
Although not really an efficient reflector (reflecting only about 7% of the signal that hits it), the moon is capable of reflecting enough of a VHF or UHF signal back to Earth to allow communication between well equipped stations. Working range on EME (Earth Moon Earth) is primarily limited by moon visibility. If two stations can simultaneously see the moon, they will be able to make contact (assuming adequate power, antennas, etc. for EME work). However, due to variability in conditions, several attempts may be required to achieve success so it can be a challenging task. The round trip path is nearly half a million miles.
I've been collecting material to build various EME arrays at the acreage when we build out there in the coming future. Planned arrays are as follows:
- Four stacked 76 foot boom antennas for 50 MHz
- Large multiple element 144 MHz array
- Large stressed dish with dual feeds for 432 and 1296 MHz
- Andrews 4.6 meter solid dish for 2304 MHz
Plans seem a bit aggressive I know. Much time will be spent building each array so it certainly won't happen over night.
More info coming soon!