Goldstream Intertidal Camera - Microwave Link
Thursday, November 23 2006 @ 02:54 PM EST
Contributed by: richardpitt
I've just returned from 2 days on Vancouver Island installing a wireless microwave link from the Ecology center, out to a marina and from there to a private residence where we can get Telus ADSL service.
The Ecology center has a slow satellite link for internet that is not suitable for video, and this microwave link is the only way we have found to get the pictures out in real time at a reasonable cost.
We still have to put the encoders and the rest of the computer equipment in, so I'll be back over there tomorrow to finish up - but the hard part, putting up the radios and the antennas, is now done. Of course all this outside work had to be done in the midst of one of our West Coast rain storms. Fortunately I had help from Darren, the resident biologist (more about him in other articles) and Bob Chappel, our Victoria resident camera guru.
Read on for some more pictures.
We're using integrated radios from Engenius. They have models with built-in antennas as well as the ones we used which can be matched up with the very directional antennas we have already aquired (Thanks to Bill Gosse, an ex Telus microwave expert)
I've been getting things ready for a number of days - setting up and burning in the radios in my workshop, building a weatherproof housing for the power supplies for the site at the marina - where there is no actual internet connection, so the two radios are simply connected to each other by the purple Ethernet wire you can see in one photo, passing the signal through in both directions.
The antenna at the Ecology center is just above their array of conduits that lead camera signals from the estuary into the center. We'll put a couple of computers just inside where the leads all come together, tap off the video and audio, and send at least two of them out to the world via our Hancock Wildlife Channel web site. The people in the Ecology center can aim and zoom the main camera and we'll all ride along, watching what they watch.
While I was there, there were a number of eagles already feeding. The salmon are coming up, but the heavy rain and high tides meant that the birds could not get at them - and the main run has yet to show up.
While at the marina, we saw one of what apparently is a pair of brown pellicans - birds not normally found in the area. I didn't have my camera out at the time, but I'll try to get a picture from Bob's sent to me so I can post it.
Lots more pictures in the Media Gallery