Last week I noticed that the Raspberry Pi camera was available. At the princely sum of £20 including VAT, I ordered one from CPC It arrived very quickly but I didn’t have time to do anything with it until yesterday.
The camera is a PCB on the end of a ribbon cable – all very simple. I found the following instructions on the CPC site for installing the camera. OS and firmware updates are required to the Pi in order to use the camera. I followed the instructions through and didn’t encounter any problems, although somehow I managed to download the wrong script for the rpi-update (in the end, I used the procedure here https://github.com/Hexxeh/rpi-update)
I did have to take the Pi out of its’ case in order to connect the camera – and I have seen some correspondence which suggests that a case which accomodates the camera might not be far away.
Getting the camera going was fine, although this is where the CPC instructions fell down. They mention software on the Pi called raspicam. I tried running it, only to find that the software wasn’t there. Initial reaction was that I’d messed up, but actually no, the software had been renamed and you need to look for raspistill and raspivid
I found the easiest way to attach the camera to something to hold it still was BluTack although trying to make that work on an odd angle, pointing the camera out of the window was a little frustrating!
Picture quality was good. It struck me that you could easily use the Pi and the camera for a shack webcam.
My other Raspberry Pi is dedicated to running my DSTAR gateway. I thought that I would upgrade the OS in the same way today, although I’ve not upgraded the firmware as I didn’t want to use the camera on that machine (doubtless there are other improvements). The upgrade procedure took over 2 hours.
I also took the opportunity to upgrade Jonathan, G4KLX’s DVAPNode and Gateway software to the latest version. First time I brought the system up, the processor went to 100% and stayed there and I wondered what I had done! However, after a rather inelegant shutdown, involving removing the power – and bringing the system back up everything seemed to be working as it should, once again.
Proving it, I had a really nice DSTAR QSO with Horacio LU1BJW in Buenos Aires. I understand that DSTAR is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does enable some very interesting QSOs to be made.