AREDN Mesh Weather Camera
|PTZ HD weather cam on the mesh!|
Last week Randy (KD9FGO) and I mounted a pan-tilt-zoom (ptz) camera up on a grain elevator. At 250 feet, the view is great. The purpose of the camera is to be able to watch the weather roll into the area. We do send out weather spottters occasionally, but there are few locations where you get such a great view as from 250 feet above the surrounding terrain! We used a Sunba 1080p HD IP camera, sold for $330 on Amazon. A single shielded CAT5 line runs from the camera to a Power Over Ethernet+ (POE+) injector, and then on to an ethernet switch where the AREDN mesh 5GHz node is connected.
We’ve added another AREDN node at the fire station (EOC) so that the camera can be viewed from there. And of course, it can be viewed from other nodes on the mesh. Right now, that means at the home of another ham and my shack as well. (Our other mesh sites are un-manned repeater sites.)
The picture above was taken with a cell phone, taking a picture of a laptop at the EOC. The actual picture quality is HD – it is absolutely amazing.
The next step is to add another ptz camera 5 miles north of town at another grain elevator. This site has a better view to the north and north west, while the first site has a great view from south to north west. We are also planning to showcase this solution to a couple of the other area emergency managers. Now that we have a solid mesh backbone established, adding additional sites is as easy as adding a $100 mesh node and a $330 camera.
That’s awesome, Michael. I think this is an area of ham radio that the majority of hams don’t understand.
Can you offer some online resources for someone looking to set something like this up? Any good how-to articles or videos?
There is a whole subset of commercial wireless equipment that can be modified for cool (and useful!) projects like this.
Hi Matt! The best place to start is the AREDN.org website. Here’s a deeper link to an overview along with a video: http://www.aredn.org/content/announcing-aredn-amateur-radio-emergency-data-network-0 Check out the equipment section as well. Good, used gear can be had on eBay starting at $50. It’s a fun way to use out ham allocations at 2, 3, and 5GHz!
Awesome. Great work. Excellent execution.