ATV under seagull
A TV CAMERA ON THE BELLY OF A GOELAND
Some additional informations about our activities:
We used a seagull, (Jojo) like carrier for our mini video transmitter on 1255 MHz. The experiment took place only three times with very variable results. Here are the reasons:
Jojo is not completely tamed. I would even say that it is perfectly wild though very accustomed with us.
1. History :
Two years ago, this bird, during its tours used to plunder my dustbin. It even took food from our hands. After thaty, it disappeared, and a few days later, returned, always with the only idea "eating".
A few months ago, I had produced a very small ATV transmitter on 1255 MHz with 100 mW output power, and a delirious idea came to me. My dog, a small poodle,wasfrequently running away, and I had theproject to equip it with a small beacon to find it. And why not withe the HF camera ?
And more fantastic, why not equip the seagull too?
It has 1,5 meter of wingspan and can doubtless carry a 1 Kilogram fish in the airs, then, a fortiori it can take 300 Grams of hardware very well.
2. First experiment :
Capture of the animal with some pecks, and Jojo is equipped with rubber bands at the first time, to retain the camera, and it is released. We had to release it several times, because it had decided to come back to the fishes we had by us to recover the camera. Good, after many tests, it endly fly away. To about thirty meters at the beginning.
For the reception, we used a small parabola 60 cm in diameter, illuminated by a horizontal dipole, and it was necessary to permanently point towards the bird. A broadcast satellite receiver (900 MHz with 2,4 Ghz) and a small B/W television se. The pictures are excellent, but very bad at the same time. The antenna on the transmitter is a small wire 6 cm long, and changes of polarization make fading on the received signal. We had no video tape recorder functioning with 12 Volts, but the pictures are very impressive
The feeling of flying is very strong but we cannot drive " the machine "!.
It was relatively easy to recoverf the hardware, "Jojo" inevitably returns to us as soon as a fish or even a simple rag is showed to him. But it should then be caught, without wounding it, and especially recover the transmitter. That takes time and patience.
3. Second experiment :
Obviously, after the first experiment, we had released our carrier. It came back a few days later. I was alone, without anybody to help me. On the other hand I was ready with a new system for the camera: with adhesive to stick the camera directly to Jojo's breast making easier installation and recovery of the hardware.
But Jojo is suspicious nows, it knows what we intend with it...
The receiver is in the shack, the antenna is a quarter wave with a BFR90 preamp and a satellite receiver (Thundered XL 200 C), a PC with a video card is ready for acquisition of the pictures.
But the inversions of polarizations are still present.
The pictures are not sensational, the fields around the QRA...viewfrom a few meters high. In fact, what can be seen from the hills in the vicinity.
4. Third experiment :
Now,everything is ready, men, hardware, vehicles.
The place: the edge of sea. The transport of Jojo, in a paperboard
The flight proceeded well... at the beginning.
Seeing that there is nothing to eat Jojo get an offing! Horror... and the hardware? The camera sends pictures (approximately 20 minutes autonomy ) but the bird is very high and the quality of optics do not make it possible to get high quality pictures.But it's better than noything. The recording takes place in an old portable video tape recorder bought a few Francs in "a deposit sale " and which failed very quickly. The tape was crumpled, and had to be cut to extract it, a few centimeters only will be saved.
The recovery of Jojo was not easy. We thought it definitively gone. And then it came back, the camera was wet but always hung to its feathers.
We had not thought he could land on the sea...
5. Conclusion :
The seagull is undoubtedly an amusing experiment and doubtless transportable on other types of birds.
A goose or an eagle for example. At this time, Jojo is absent. It is laying time for the seagulls and may be were we wrong, Jojo is possibly a lady what would explain its absence. Will we rename it " Gigi ", who knows?
I have in construction a 100 mW transmitter a 10 Grams camera , objective included.
The whole, transmitter, camera and battery, enter in a matchbox.
F6dtl - George Bellezit
It was to be done...
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