Tower CAM

Tower CAM In The Shack

Tower CAM In The Shack

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.

Tower CAM

Tower CAM

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)

5 thoughts on “Tower CAM

  1. Hi. Are you able to use the Internet to remotely view the Tower CAM and remotely operate the rotator controllers to minimize wind loads?

  2. Hi Rick,

    At this point, we are not planning to put the antenna camera on the internet. We are considering an IP “Shack CAM” that would provide a view of operations in our shack. When we do this, that camera will most likely be on the internet.

    – Fred (AB1OC)

  3. How do the cables attach to the antenna(s) so they don’t wrap around the tower as the antenna rotates? I wouldn’t imagine that one has to rotate the antenna the opposite way once in a while.

    • Hi Andy,

      The Yagis use what is called a rotator look – a length of slack feedline and control cable which allows the antennas to rotate around the mast or tower without damaging the cables. The rotator only allows the antenna to rotate +/- 180 degrees from north (actually a little more in each direction). One the operator picks a heading beyond 180 degrees, the controller is smart enough to turn the antenna around in the opposite direction. For example, if I point my antenna to 175 degrees, it will rotate clockwise to that heading. If I now set the controller to 185 degrees, it will turn the antenna counterclockwise to this heading. By doing this, the cables never get wrapped around the mast to the point of damaging them.

      – Fred (AB1OC)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s