After our recent experience with Hurricane Sandy, we learned that its important to monitor the impact that high winds are having on our antennas so that they can be pointed to minimize wind loads. We cannot directly see our antennas from inside our shack where our rotator controllers are located so this involved many trips up and down the stairs between our shack and the outside where we can see how the antennas are doing in the wind. To solve this problem, we decided to take advantage of the Video Monitor that is installed in our shack and install a camera that lets us view our antennas on the tower from inside the shack.
There are many closed circuit security cameras on the market that are designed for close range surveillance of entry points but it is more difficult to find a camera that does a good job at the 100 ft+ distance between our house and the antennas on our tower. After some research, we settled on a Long Range Outdoor Security Camera from LOREX. This camera has a lens that is well suited for longer range viewing and also features higher resolution and frame rates than most security cameras. The first step in the installation was to install the camera in a sheltered area on our house facing the tower.
Mounting the camera so that it would look up at the antennas was a bit of a challenge (most security camera mounts are designed to look down, not up) but we were able to work this out after some experimentation. It was then an easy matter to run the single cable which caries both the video signal and power from the camera to the Video Monitor in our shack. As you can see from the video which follows, the setup worked out pretty well and we can now see what our antennas are doing from inside our shack. It’s also nice to be able to monitor the rotation of the antennas when we are operating.
– Fred (AB1OC)