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Author Topic: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!  (Read 13090 times)

WA4STO

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Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« on: September 26, 2012, 05:08:25 PM »
White Tiger recently commented about trying to determine how to get telemetry and SSTV shots (both for remote security purposes).

So I was pleasantly startled to see this in my mailbox today.  You know, the snail mail kind...



Now, the author(s) are suggesting the use of a non-contract cell phone to the tune of twenty five cents, maybe, per photo.

Trouble is, that makes one huge assumption.  Two actually:

1.  The remote location (BOL?) even has cell phone coverage.  The remoter, the worser the assumption, methinks.

2.  The remote location will have cell phone coverage during/after SHTF conditions. 

As for number two above, well, that's not why we're here.

That ham radio license allows us to  do better.  a LOT better.

So, WT, whatchathink?  I can readily see the data logger capturing a telemetry flag which says "yup the 'inside activity' has just occurred" = a single "yes" bit, which triggers the cam and sends a lo-res SSTV pic.

Or a trigger that proclaims that the water level is greater than zero (!) or that the temperature is nearing the freezing point inside.

This is seriously cool!

Frosty

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 06:24:38 PM »
Would want to hide the transmitter and the antenna, and the sensor itself too, I'd think.  At least for security purposes.  Power might be an issue.  My BOL has cell service, but no utilities for example.

Before I bugged out from the burbs, I would leave a motion activated alarm (just a siren) inside the BOL when I left.  Hoped they'd just pull the door closed and go away when it went off not knowing who else was being notified.  When I later picked up a trail cam for hunting purposes, was thinking of hiding one to capture a pic of the burglers without their knowledge.  Least get some payback if anybody broke in.  Never did it tho, never found one small and clandestine enough to be able to hide easily/cheaply.  When I moved to a much closer (within LOS) location from the old retreat, I bought Dakota Alerts, and that's what keeps an eye on the place when I'm not there now - but it's strictly a 1 or 2 mile solution obviously.  Woe to any thief that attempts to break in now though, we've had plenty of practice on the response plan due to false alarms from low batteries and bugs.

White Tiger

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 01:50:09 AM »
Uh WA4STO - that is absolutely phantasmic!! It's exactly what we have been discussing - can we switch out the cell phone option, for the SSTV option easily?

And Frosty - found this interesting link in my DX Engineering catalogue - that ALSO came snail mail today!



It's here on the DX Engineering website:

Multiple Images DX Engineering Auto-Tuned Multi-Band HF Stealth Antenna Systems ATSA-1

If you click on the "Instructions" link (.pdf file), on page 14 (out of 20) you see that they suggest ways you can hide the antenna system in the bushes and illustrates how to string up a stealth multi-band antenna between a house and any nearby tree...


and specifically, Luck:
I think I have all the necessarry components to set up my Omni D, the fan dipole covering 80-10 meters, an antenna mast, and a multi-band antenna (ALL of which would have been UNDOABLE without WA4STO). I want to get this set up to at least start listening in...I take the licensing tests in a little more than a week...then I have a plan to get started on digital IMMEDIATELY afterwards - so Luck, if you want to know what I think...I only hope you can get the coding deciphered in time!  ;D
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 01:52:24 AM by White Tiger »
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White Tiger

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 01:56:31 AM »
Maybe this would be a good place to get WA4STO to show us some pictures of the robot he built? I think you said that has a little camera that you had set up to send a picture of an intruder via SSTV?

I'm telling you - some of you guys are unbelievable - I am so pleased we have a forum where these things aren't just theorized...but actual pictures can be posted!!

Have I said lately how much I love this place?
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

WA4STO

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 10:22:44 AM »
]
Uh WA4STO - that is absolutely phantasmic!! It's exactly what we have been discussing - can we switch out the cell phone option, for the SSTV option easily?

Uh, easily?  Nah.  Hey, where's the fun if we don't have a challenge?  The way I see it, we each have a project at this point:

1.  Me, I'm finishing up my vertical's ground-radial plate installation today and tomorrow and will start in on the telemetry aspects of the above project this weekend.  My little Parallax robot that you mentioned previously utilizes an older generation PIC chip as the brain, but the article makes a very compelling argument for switching to the newer style.  I'm so lazy that I'm hoping the programming will be the same or at least very similar.

2.  You've already zeroed in on  your project; getting the antenna up, connected, and ready to rock 'n roll.   Wait, never mind the "getting ready" part.  Just do it.  Rock.  Roll.  Squirt out RF.  Listen much, transmit little.

Got your logging program up and running yet?


WA4STO

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Meet WA4STO-bot
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 11:27:31 AM »
Maybe this would be a good place to get WA4STO to show us some pictures of the robot he built? I think you said that has a little camera that you had set up to send a picture of an intruder via SSTV?



More like "assembled from a kit".  Think "heathkit".  Although, back then, there was no programming, no analog to digital conversions, none of that stuff.

Ladies and germs, meet WA4STO-bot



Notice the "eyes", which are the sensors (rather than a camera at this point).  These particular sensors operate at "ultrasonic" frequencies and are very adept at quickly measuring distances.  Thus, if WA4STO-bot was watching inside the BOL, for example, it could determine that the distance to/from something was less than it was 100 milliseconds ago.  Ergo, it's moving!

Poor ole WA4STO-bot has been gathering dust for a couple of years now.  Time to bring him back to life; time for him to pursue a more noble goal.

White Tiger

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 12:30:22 PM »
That is awesome! Did you use him as a security bot, or was the purpose just to see if you could?
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WA4STO

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 02:08:13 PM »
That is awesome! Did you use him as a security bot, or was the purpose just to see if you could?

What attracted me to this project several years ago was that the ARRL's instructor's team utilized the Parallax stuff to teach their students about 'wireless'.  And programming.

OK, so my background was in programming before I retired.  Back then, it was horrendously complicated and absolutely hideous to keep up with.  Not this stuff.  With this, I could program everything in BASIC.  Yee-hah.

As I was building WA4STO-bot, I discovered that new and interesting parts were available at a very reasonable cost, and that the whole matter of taking analogue "signals" (temperature, movement, moisture levels, etc. etc) was quite easy to program.

Most of the effort was in getting the bot to move.  Infrared sensors were used, and things like TV remotes could be used -- and ARE used, at least by mine -- to "transmit" signals (infrared, ultrasonic/sonar) after going through the analogue to digital conversions. 

It was downright fun. 

And I've now found a viable reason to get back to it again.  Thanks, guys!  :)


White Tiger

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 03:34:34 PM »
Hmmm...you said infrared - isn't that the same thing motion detectors use...?

...like the one I encounter as I'm dashing out of my neighbors garage at 11:30 at night because he left his garage door up...and just as I trip over his cat...I hear his garage door going BACK UP (because I inadvertantly crossed the infrared safety beam running across the floor - put there to insure that "tikes on trikes" don't get caught under the door, as it's coming down)?

...and his motion sensor that triggered his flood lights on the side of his house...as I tumbled over his cat, out into the yard, and on top of his garbage cans?

(..he's still laughing at the spectacle he met when he came out to see what caused all the comotion)...I may not not know much about how they work, or how to employ them - but I can attest to the fact that if you use them - those infrared thingies REALLY do what they're designed to do!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 03:36:30 PM by White Tiger »
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WA4STO

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2012, 05:36:18 PM »
WT:

Yup, them be the ones.  In the case of WA4STO-bot, the IR range of frequencies is used not only for navigation, but also by the TV remote to control the bot's movements. 

One particular coded signal, caused by the press of the TV remote button causes the bot's left servo motor to function, while another might cause the right servo motor to go backwards.  You get the idea.

It's interesting to note that the only difference between IR and amateur radio transmissions is, guess what? The frequency being utilized.  One could therefore assume that a long-range frequency could be used to control the bot from much farther away.  Exactly!!

I was reminded today that there are little receivers (and transmitters) on a chip that operate in the 433 mHz region.  Hey!  That's right smack in our "440" band.  How could that be?  Uh... That band is a SHARED band, we are forbidden from complaining about interference there, and must suffer any consequences. 

I think that's how WA4STO-bot is going to be controlled, in pretty short order.


White Tiger

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 01:02:27 AM »
As I was thinking through your descrition, I was wondering How do you employ a TV remote to steer the WA4STO-bot?

Do you simply depress one of the button of the remote, and the bot responds each time you depress it - or can you employ the direction buttons of the remote (reverese/FF)?
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

WA4STO

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2012, 08:41:41 AM »
As I was thinking through your descrition, I was wondering How do you employ a TV remote to steer the WA4STO-bot?

I appreciate you "reminding me" that it's time to get WA4STO-bot going again, now that the work on the ham radio antenna is completed.  Durn, I wish they had contests going during the week; I couldn't begin to turn the dial without hearing a not-yet-logged DX station caling "CQ TEST".  Either that, or maybe a law could be rammed through the congress-critters stipulating that all hams could immediately retire at 100% benefits, based on their best paid quarter in the last 50 years.  Yah, that would up the availability of signals on 7.029.5!

The TV remote is one of the BIG ones I got from Bed, Bath and Beyond that is made for old pharts like me who perhaps don't have the best of visual skills.  My excuse for buying it was two-fold:

1.  It implements the Sony TV protocols.  In other words, if you press the "1" it sends a specific, known, digitally encoded pulse.  Thus, I can program WA4STO-bot to crank it's left servo motor.  Other buttons will put it in left reverse.  I've got one servo motor that is strictly used to move the sonar sensors.

2.  The remote is so huge that visiting kids can easily control the bot.

The other day I tore all the electronics out of WA4STO-bot and started learning anew.  It's been way too long and besides, I wanted to do some entirely different stuff.  I won't be implementing the bot's movements but rather, I'll be teaching it to send CW on 10 meters, based on what the sonar sees.  Sounds like fun, and particularly useful for this group.

73 de WA4STO


White Tiger

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 01:34:10 PM »
I will follow this closely!
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WA4STO

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Re: Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 03:10:14 PM »

I appreciate you "reminding me" that it's time to get WA4STO-bot going again, now that the work on the ham radio antenna is completed.

Here's the latest on WA4STO-bot.



It presently has three servos in place.  Two that you can't see are for WA4STO-bot's 'propulsion' system, which has been disabled for the moment, by removing the firmware routines that cause him to move.  The third servo can be seen just below the ultrasonic (sonar-like) "eyes".  That servo will allow the eyes to move 90 degrees in either direction from center.

The hollow points in the background?  Doubtful they'd be of much value in this particular project, although if I could get one to fire off, STO-bot just might be induced to skitter forward a smidgen.  Dunno.

Some weeks ago, WhiteTiger was ruminating about how the ability to send and receive "telemetry" via ham radio was a key point in his quest for a ham radio license. 

Telemetry?  Yah, think of it as 'data'.  It might be the voltage of a battery in your remote BOL.  Or the present current draw on the solar panels on a ham radio satellite.

In WA4STO-bot's case, well, he's an attempt to capture the fact -- and speed -- of an intruder in the house.  It will likely be tested with the bot on a shelf, such that the sonar won't "see" cats, dogs, or cats trying to escape from dogs. 

At present, I have a little audio transducer mounted on the perf board that will eventually send Morse Code.  The CW might be triggered by the detection of an intruder; it might also be keyed when the batteries get too low.  Or both.

Could these chores be done much less expensively?  You bet.  I just happened to have this platform in my junk box and although more modern programmers seem to like the Arduino and/or Propeller platforms, the lowly BS2 seems to have all the I/O I need.  For now.

73 de WA4STO



White Tiger

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Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 02:14:52 AM »
Luck, I am researching a DIY antenna switch box...aaaannnddd now the ol' a.d.d. Swerves me BACK into the WA4STO-bot!

I like how the bullets-for-scale in your background....sends the subtle (and dual) message of security in for the BOL...still VERY interested in this! Thanks for posting again!
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Radio Preppers

Telemetry from the BOL -- via ham radio!
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 02:14:52 AM »