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Central Illinois weather camera

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kg9dw's picture
Central Illinois weather camera
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 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 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. 
kg9dw's picture
Here's a picture....The picture 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.

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AE6XE's picture
Wow, the price is right.    
Wow, the price is right.     This sounds like a  thumbs up on this camera?   Any negatives so far?   ONVIF is full featured?    I've been itching to upgrade a site :) . 
kg9dw's picture
I haven't found any faults
I haven't found any faults with it yet. It comes with the CMS program that a lot of the cheap Chinese cameras come with. CMS allows PTZ capabilities. I can't speak to the ONVIF capabilities...I'm just not knowledgeable enough to know any better. I used it briefly with Blue Iris as well.

The web interface requires all the usual Active-X controls or other extensions that I refuse to use. So if you want PTZ use CMS or Blue Iris...if you just want to view the stream then VLC works very nicely.

It is just a 20x optical zoom. But holy cow...that works pretty sweet. We can see traffic flowing on an interstate 10 miles away. 
How is the camera holding up? (& power question)
I'm thinking about buying this camera and was wondering how it's holding up for you. Couple of questions too assuming all is well with it.

1) Can you stream RTSP from it?
2) What software are you using?
3) What are the power requirements? Amazon page says 30 watts! That seems like a lot. I'm concerned about battery life for a deployment. Would this be better as a base station camera?


K7OPA's picture
I have this camera and can
I have this camera and can bring it up in Blue Iris but no PTZ.  PTZ setup does not show Sunba cameras of any sort.  Any ideas on how to get PTZ to work with BI?  It does work with VMS

tx Ron K7OPA

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