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802.11 video

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Old 11-26-2003, 04:07 PM
  #1  
jdavis
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Default 802.11 video

Hello all! I have been wanting to mount a camera for a while now... However, I have been disheartened by the facts that the cheaper setups that do not require a ham lic. are... well... cheap. So, I went over to the fcc ham site and was totally lost... and well, anyway, I have been looking for something in between and was thinking about the new WiFi tech that is coming out. Has anyone looked into a wireless 802.11 camera?

I started looking about a year ago and could only find one, that was about $600. However, I found one today that was only $300. But looking at the web page, I think I may have answered my own question. The video looks kinda choppy.

http://www.veo.com/Observer-Wireless/default.asp

So, if one of you fine lad/lasses could maybe set me on the right path for the ham lic. (cost and study guides (i dont have to learn Morris code anymore, do i?)) that looks like that only way to go. Or, if there is a good camera/xmiter that will work, that doesnt require a lic. that would be ok too.

-Jim
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Old 11-26-2003, 04:57 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

OK, here's what I've done so far.....

Got a 2.4 gig setup from Wirelessvideocameras.com at about $350 and it works pretty well.....

Got a 900 mhz setup from supercircuits.com - about $350 + tax - very poor performance in a plane.

Went to www.grz.com and got their book from Gordo on getting your Ham license (no code) for $15. Read thru the book and have passed the test at qrz.com 4 times so I think I'm ready. Cost all of $10 to have the test administered.

Get the ham license - it's worth all the other good things you can do in R/C.

I am currently undertaking the arduos chore of registering and licensing under FCC Part 90. WOW! What a paperwork nightmare! But it allows me to use 2.4 gig commercially.

Go from there and then let us know how you do!

CenTexFlyer
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Old 11-26-2003, 05:20 PM
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jdavis
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Default RE: 802.11 video

um... is there an english version of that web site?

ARGH! You're telling me that after the ordeal of passing the fcc test, I still have to file more paperwork?! or is that just if I want to make money off of it? As cool as all the clips I have seen from this board are, I am thinking it is not worth the hassle! Too much government around here, eh?

-Jim
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:37 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

Ha! Yeah, it does seem that way.... but it's really not that bad. You only have to go thru all the paperwork if you plan on using your video system for a fee or as part of a business. Otherwise, you can pass the test and buy/use just about what ever legal system is out there to your hearts content!

CTF
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Old 11-26-2003, 10:16 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

He is looking to use his 2.4ghz or 900mhz equipment for commercial purposes which is not allowed under an Amateur Radio license. The Ham ticket is strictly for non-commercial (hobby) use only and is needed to operate the equipment as you or I intend. The FCC Part 90 is for commercial use licensing.
Get your Ham ticket and that is all you will need to do for what you want to do with wireless video, either using 2.4ghz or 900mhz or whatever.
ORIGINAL: jdavis

um... is there an english version of that web site?

ARGH! You're telling me that after the ordeal of passing the fcc test, I still have to file more paperwork?! or is that just if I want to make money off of it? As cool as all the clips I have seen from this board are, I am thinking it is not worth the hassle! Too much government around here, eh?

-Jim
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Old 11-27-2003, 12:16 PM
  #6  
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Default RE: 802.11 video

ok, color me silly... but is that grz site in german? its going to be hard enough for me to study for my ham lic, prvt pilot lic. work and train my unruly puppy but to have to learn german frist?

ok, next question. i have been reading through most of the posts in this forum and the two systems that seem to float to the top are spylinker and black widow. would either one be a good choice? can one of ya'll that have used both give me a qucik pro/con of each, to include dealing with the company, cust service, etc.

thanks! maybe for Christmas, Santa will give me enough bucks to go forth and record!

-jimbo
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Old 11-27-2003, 12:22 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

I'm pretty sure he meant [link=http://www.qrz.com/]QRZ[/link] instead.
[link=https://secure.qrz.com/store/w5yi/index.html]Study Materials on QRZ[/link]
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Old 11-27-2003, 01:53 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

Spylinker systems operate on 1.2ghz which is illegal in the US. They are very cheap, work well, but use CMOS cameras which are not exactly great. The work fine with good light but not so fine with low light such as on cloudy days.
BlackwidowAV systems cost more but operate on 2.4ghz which is Ham legal. The power output listed is supposed to be actual power out not a rating based on power consumption such as the Spylinker setups.
Blackwidow systems come in various setups if you go the component route and use CCD cameras. I have one of those cameras and it works great. He also sells systems that operate off of 5v. Im gonna get me one of those.
In my case, I got one of the Spylinker systems due to the very cheap price. Bought a second one and bought one of the little tx/cam all in one 200mw systems also. Then I found out (after bragging them up to everyone here) that they are illegal in the US. Got a bit of crap for that.
Anyway, if you can afford it, I would go for a BlackwidowAV system. He ships fast also. He also posts in this forum regularly and I know he will answer any question about his systems you might have. The BlackwidowAV systems are much better systems overall. Hence the higher cost!
I have my eye on the 5v 600mw system he sells...

ORIGINAL: jdavis

ok, color me silly... but is that grz site in german? its going to be hard enough for me to study for my ham lic, prvt pilot lic. work and train my unruly puppy but to have to learn german frist?

ok, next question. i have been reading through most of the posts in this forum and the two systems that seem to float to the top are spylinker and black widow. would either one be a good choice? can one of ya'll that have used both give me a qucik pro/con of each, to include dealing with the company, cust service, etc.

thanks! maybe for Christmas, Santa will give me enough bucks to go forth and record!

-jimbo
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Old 12-01-2003, 08:40 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

I bought one of these Hong Kong systems too. Mine is the so called 800mw system - which cost me $33 total ($5 + $28 shipping). I know everyone complains about the shipping charges on these things, but if you bought one, look at the postage on the package. The person I bought mine from had $29.10 postage on it! I found it hard to believe, but apparently international airmail really is that expensive.

As far as legality is concerned, most of the 1.2 gHz band (23 cm) is open to HAMS in the US. It is not illegal. Here are the [link=http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/Hambands_color.pdf]legal HAM frequencies[/link]. The problem is that these transmitters are not accurately controlled, and most of them appear to be skirting just outside the lower frequency limits. The output frequency is dependent on the power supply voltage. Sometime I'm going to hook mine to a spectrum analyzer and see just how much the power supply voltage really affects it.

I have a HAM license, and I definitely don't condone breaking the rules. However, the power output of these things is ridiculously low, not enough to interfere with anything more than a few hundred feet away. That certainly doesn't make it OK, but from a practical standpoint, it's extremely unlikely that one of these things will ever cause any disruptive interference.

The CMOS camera that comes with these HK systems certainly leaves a lot to be desired. The dynamic range is poor and the AGC circuit makes the ground appear very dark if a portion of the sky is visible in the frame. The camera is also plagued by problems with internal reflections... it really needs a small lens hood. I've heard that many of these cameras have a voltage regulator encapsulated in their power cord, mine apparently has it internal. I accidentally hooked the 9v battery to mine backwards once. The camera got very warm, but it didn't kill it. Once I realized my mistake and fixed the power connector the camera still worked OK!

A CCD camera such as the Panasonic CX-161 or SuperCircuits PC-87 is definitely a major improvement. Black Widow A/V sells the CX-161 for a slightly lower price than I paid for my PC-87, and they appear to be identical based upon the description. Wish I had noticed it sooner.
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:10 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

I think one that we tested was sending on 1190 or somewhere around that so they are definitely not broadcasting on the Ham legal freqs. I dont think anyone has found one that was broadcasting anywhere near 1240mhz or higher. So, the Spylinker systems do broadcast on an illegal freq.
Personally, I have two of the 800mw systems and one of the "updated" 200mw systems and and I dont think you can beat em for the price. I wanted something cheap and figured that even if it was crap, I was out a lot less than I paid for my first CRAP system. Truly junk. So I was and am very happy with the Spylinker systems I have.
I learned a lot with them, still use them, but am moving up to better systems now that I know that this aspect of the hobby is something I plan to play with for quite a while to come.
In fact, I built up an enclosure using one of those tx's and the CX-161 camera that I can rubberband to the top of my Ultra Stick 60 wing for some totally sick video I plan to shoot.
I HOPE to try it out next weekend if we dont get the Santa Ana winds again like last week.
ORIGINAL: Kamikazi

I bought one of these Hong Kong systems too. Mine is the so called 800mw system - which cost me $33 total ($5 + $28 shipping). I know everyone complains about the shipping charges on these things, but if you bought one, look at the postage on the package. The person I bought mine from had $29.10 postage on it! I found it hard to believe, but apparently international airmail really is that expensive.

As far as legality is concerned, most of the 1.2 gHz band (23 cm) is open to HAMS in the US. It is not illegal. Here are the [link=http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/Hambands_color.pdf]legal HAM frequencies[/link]. The problem is that these transmitters are not accurately controlled, and most of them appear to be skirting just outside the lower frequency limits. The output frequency is dependent on the power supply voltage. Sometime I'm going to hook mine to a spectrum analyzer and see just how much the power supply voltage really affects it.

I have a HAM license, and I definitely don't condone breaking the rules. However, the power output of these things is ridiculously low, not enough to interfere with anything more than a few hundred feet away. That certainly doesn't make it OK, but from a practical standpoint, it's extremely unlikely that one of these things will ever cause any disruptive interference.

The CMOS camera that comes with these HK systems certainly leaves a lot to be desired. The dynamic range is poor and the AGC circuit makes the ground appear very dark if a portion of the sky is visible in the frame. The camera is also plagued by problems with internal reflections... it really needs a small lens hood. I've heard that many of these cameras have a voltage regulator encapsulated in their power cord, mine apparently has it internal. I accidentally hooked the 9v battery to mine backwards once. The camera got very warm, but it didn't kill it. Once I realized my mistake and fixed the power connector the camera still worked OK!

A CCD camera such as the Panasonic CX-161 or SuperCircuits PC-87 is definitely a major improvement. Black Widow A/V sells the CX-161 for a slightly lower price than I paid for my PC-87, and they appear to be identical based upon the description. Wish I had noticed it sooner.
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Old 12-02-2003, 02:46 AM
  #11  
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Default RE: 802.11 video

Hi all. Just a quick note...
You might want to try 802.11 G instead of the popular B series.
Just looking at this "Best buy" advertisement and it states that the B version is 11Mbps and the G version is 54Mbps... what that translates too (if I am right is...)
B 11Mbits/second /8 = 1.375 Mbyes/second
G 54Mbits/second / 8= 6.75MBytes/second


Good luck!
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Old 12-02-2003, 10:34 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

ORIGINAL: Fubar-One

I think one that we tested was sending on 1190 or somewhere around that so they are definitely not broadcasting on the Ham legal freqs. I dont think anyone has found one that was broadcasting anywhere near 1240mhz or higher. So, the Spylinker systems do broadcast on an illegal freq.
Some earlier messages seemed to imply that transmitting video in the 1.2 gHz band was illegal. I was just trying to clarify that was not necessarily the case. There are HAM legal frequencies there. The Hong Kong systems may well all be transmitting outside the legal frequencies.

On another note - I recently bought a Supercircuits PC-87, but haven't tried it with the HK transmitter yet. I decided to crack open the HK camera tonight to check into this voltage regulator mystery. All the info I've read seemed to indicate that these cameras have a regulator embedded in their cord. As you can see from the picture below, that is not always the case. Mine has an internal 5v regulator.

A few other interesting things were noted... The CMOS sensor board can be rotated 180 degrees if you want the mount the camera with the cord coming out the other side. This could be handy if you are mounting the camera on the under side of a wing or fuselage.
My sensor board was also a little loose - I noticed that the focus would sometimes change when the camera was jarred. That problem was easily fixed.

I also found that lenses from some webcams I had sitting around fit perfectly. One in particular, from a Phillips Vesta Pro had a much larger lens (brighter image) and was noticeably sharper at the corners of the field. The focal length seemed similar and it gave about the same field of view.
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Old 12-03-2003, 09:44 AM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

Is the 78L05 the voltage regulator? Where can I get one of those lenses? The microlenses for the panasonic board cameras look to have a larger thread.
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Old 12-03-2003, 07:46 PM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

Not disagreeing about the Ham legal 1.2ghz possibility just stating that of the two systems that were actually freq tested, both were under 1.2ghz.
Both of the Spylinker 800mw systems I have and the one my father bought did have the regulator on a PC board inside the camera cable. We found this out when my dad fried his after removing the cable.
Systems sold by other Hong Kong dealers would most likely have different cameras with them plus I am sure what Spylinker sells changes as availability changes.
Anyway, the ones we have do broadcast below 1240mhz.
ORIGINAL: Kamikazi
Some earlier messages seemed to imply that transmitting video in the 1.2 gHz band was illegal. I was just trying to clarify that was not necessarily the case. There are HAM legal frequencies there. The Hong Kong systems may well all be transmitting outside the legal frequencies.

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Old 12-24-2003, 12:48 AM
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Default RE: 802.11 video

Try here for info also... remember, range is inversely proportional to frequency... higher freq... less range!!

http://www.hamtv.com

and

http://www.hamtv.com/pdf.files/R-C.pdf

ciao
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