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 Using a wireless network camera to monitor targets at 300-10000(los) meters
cybrguy  [Team Member]
4/15/2009 11:54:15 PM EDT
Has anyone tried this before? I'm thinking about setting up an Axis 214 PTZ(high optical zoom high res camera) with a wireless adapter and an external antenna. The camera setup would run off a 12v battery. On the other end I would use a laptop with a high gain antenna to link the two. Then I could punch paper, at whatever range I wanted, with whatever bullet size I wanted, and still be able to watch hits on my laptop screen right next to me. Total system cost estimate... $300 in parts, excluding the cost of the camera.

I would position the camera system 30-50 feet to the side and 50-75 feet back from the target for an ideal viewing position and to keep it well out of the path of the bullets.
And before you think of the poor image quality your used to from most network and webcams, I can read the ingredients off a pop can at 50 feet with this camera.

Any one have any thoughts on how well this would/wouldn't work? Is there a need for a system like this anywhere other than my head?

Update: Ive got the hardware figured out now. It was right under my nose. Its cheap, runs on 12 volts, only uses 1 watt of power for the radio, way more bandwidth than I need, is rainproof, and they are very inexpensive.
Oh, and yes, the range is 10Km.

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Mach  [Team Member]
4/16/2009 12:02:25 AM EDT
Typical wifi works out to 300 feet. that is about 100 meters. You could extend that with some directional antennas and higher power equipment, but then it gets more expensive. What is wrong with a spotting scope. You could get a nice one for $300.
cybrguy  [Team Member]
4/16/2009 12:04:42 AM EDT
I have a wireless link from my house to my office which runs 1100 meters, and it runs on two 80 dollar radios with built in antennas. And these get 20 mbit. The technology part isn't a problem. Its more of a practicality and conceptual issue.
FrankSymptoms  [Team Member]
4/16/2009 12:32:42 AM EDT
How about a couple of wireless routers to act as repeaters?
ArimoDave  [Team Member]
4/16/2009 5:56:30 AM EDT
That camera idea sounds good. It saves having someone in the pit doing your spotting. Or if you don't have a pit, it saves on a long distance runner. There is no spotting scope that can reliably resolve .224 size hole at 300 yds. much less at 600 or 1,000 yds. For solitary practice, would like to find a camera system like that. I thought that I would have to go hard wire to get the range. If you get it to work, I'd be interested in the specs.
FM18  [Member]
4/16/2009 6:01:09 PM EDT
Great idea! I too would be interested in the specs!
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yagotme  [Member]
4/20/2009 8:09:55 AM EDT
Have thought about this too. Usually shoot by my lonesome, and it's a pain to start the vehicle up and drive down to check your target every so many rounds. Would speed up long range sight-in, too.
cybrguy  [Team Member]
4/21/2009 11:01:56 PM EDT
I'm about to order the parts to make this a reality. The last part I'm not sure about is how to best inject the power. Do I need any additional electronics to control the voltage? And how do I best insert a fuse into the system.
TheGrayMan  [Team Member]
4/22/2009 1:59:13 AM EDT
This is an outstanding idea. Let us know how it goes.
doubldwn  [Member]
5/7/2009 3:29:33 PM EDT
Cool concept!

Here is how I would do it

Axis Camera––ethernet cable––Wireless Router––antenna cable––external antena . . . . . external antenna ––antenna cable––Wireless Router––ethernet cable––laptop

For electricity, use solar panels

No Power over ethernet injector is needed if you are using solar panels & inverters. If solar is too expensive, look for used APC ups battery backup on ebay. Same as your 12v idea except it has 120v AC outlets built in to the case.
For the Routers & antennas, sites like these tend to carry components for long range links instead of indoor consumer grade stuff.

Dont buy a wireless adapter for the camera, typically those are intended for close range wifi and do not allow access to TX/RX power levels and other settings for fine tuning a long link. While some linksys routers do offer third party firmware that allows some tweaking, the radio components are as cheap as they get and put out a dirty signal when you crank up the output. Using a third router as a repeater in between the two main routers will not work well with long distances and streaming video.

Your biggest issue will be mounting the external antenas. They require Near Line of Sight or Line of Sight with no obstructions. A pole sticking up at a range is a problem though. You could

1. Try to get the lane to the outside and mount the antenna & router 30 yards to the side and run ethernet cable to the camera
2. prop the antenna up on the ground and try to get a good enough link
3 If you are not at a range and in the middle of no where, you can pretty much do whatever, mount the antenna on a 4' piece of PVC pipe etc.

Good luck, would like to know if this works out.
jmt1271  [Team Member]
7/1/2009 3:38:28 PM EDT
A guy I have shot with, and member here, has one. The only time I saw him using it he was having some tech issues. IIRC, we were shooting 500 yards with it. It was wireless and he was running it on his laptop.

IIRC, his handle here is MaxPaul.
captrichardson  [Team Member]
7/16/2009 6:31:14 AM EDT
I have been after the same thing, sort of, for a while.

I was looking at using a Wireless System based off of a 1.2 or 2.4 GHz transmitter/receiver, versus using a computer wireless router system.

I did not think that a computer wireless router system would be able to go the distance out to 1,000 yards.

Problem for me was the cost. After buying camera, transmitter/receiver, battery/power supply, and monitor, I was looking at $800-$1,000.

It is still on my list of things to try and do, but on hold until I can get the financing.

Some more info on some of the stuff which is already out there:


If anybody gets anything up and running please let us know.

Thanks, Best of Luck,
Capt Richardson
godspetmonkey  [Member]
9/18/2009 2:41:43 AM EDT
I am looking at doing the same thing for my .408 since the targets are typically placed at 1500, 2000, and 2500 yards. Pretty sad when you have to drive out to your targets to see groupings.

With that said, do you have a Bill Of Materials for this project?

1) NanoStation M
2) Laptop with USB 802.11a/b/n ––> my guess would be n for the bandwidth and range?
3) Axis 214 PTZ
4) ? Which 12V Battery
5) ? Tripod for Axis

Any help would be much appreciated!

W_E_G  [Team Member]
10/4/2009 1:57:11 PM EDT
Here's a low-tech solution.

From the sound of this, firing is not being done on some "official" range where there will be some RSO to have a shit-fit if you use a forward observer.

Forward observer with spotting scope, and offset from target enough to ensure safety.
Radio or cell phone to communicate shot location.

wantone  [Member]
11/4/2009 8:37:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By W_E_G:
Here's a low-tech solution.

From the sound of this, firing is not being done on some "official" range where there will be some RSO to have a shit-fit if you use a forward observer.

Forward observer with spotting scope, and offset from target enough to ensure safety.
Radio or cell phone to communicate shot location.

I'm 'fraid Murphy would show up at any range that I tried that on...

FrankSymptoms  [Team Member]
11/4/2009 11:03:13 PM EDT
I should 'a mentioned this before.. Amateur radio licensees are permitted TV transmissions, at fairly high power levels.
GTLandser  [Member]
11/5/2009 12:01:26 AM EDT
oh so tagged
FlashMC  [Team Member]
11/7/2009 5:34:49 PM EDT
At the last few gun shows I have gone to I have seen a company selling setups to do just this. Their website is, but their website is in dire need of help. I have the flyer from their booth right here.

They have three products:
Model V T300 - good out to 300 yards - $299.95
Model V T2000 - good out to 2000 yards - $499.95
Model V T3000 - good out to 3000 yards - $529.95

Their contact info is:
Remote VideoTeck Inc.
1802 N. Carson St. Suite 150
Carson City, NV 89701
775-291-9190 Cell
775-841-1124 Office
Wingnut116ACW  [Team Member]
11/20/2009 7:50:16 PM EDT
Wow, I am sorry I missed this. I can help you folks out a bit with this. I'm a wireless communications engineer with experience in such an endeavor. Let me look at a few things and throw together a bill of material.

That Ubiquiti Networks device I've never seen before but it looks interesting.

Link Budget Calculator

Using those Ubiquiti Bullet mini bridges, you would have more than enough link margin using 3dbi rubber duckie antennas to make a link at over a quarter mile using just quick and dirty estimation. If you were to build something at the distant end that all fit in a small Pelican 1200 case with a small LiPo battery and a foldable solar panel, you'd be golden. Incidentally, I like the looks of the Ubiquiti bullet because it also has a built in signal strength indicator which can be quite handy in the field for antenna alignment.
livinlawatertown  [Member]
1/27/2010 10:00:58 AM EDT
My buddy and I rigged something like this one weekend in the middle-of-nowhere VT. He had a really nice webcam we hooked up to a netbook tethered to a cell phone. On the other end of the range we had another tethered netbook. We used a free video conferencing service and ran everything over the web.

The only problem was that we had to get the netbook pretty close (10ft) to the target for it to pick up .223 holes - we ended up digging a mini bunker in front of the target, reinforced it with a few logs and some sandbags, and set the netbook below ground level at an angle. The phones dropped the network connection about once an hour, but we just used that as an opportunity to stretch and change our targets. Otherwise, it work perfectly for about 4 hours of shooting.
mlwartman  [Team Member]
2/22/2010 1:40:38 PM EDT
were it me, being a guy who solves network riddles like this for a living, the KISS solution would be burial coax cable to the location with a low voltage line buried with it for power with an indoor/outdoor security camera. after that you can plug into a standard TV and watch it in whatever def your camera is. hook up a dvr to record/ff/rw.

if i were looking for something portable, self powered and longer range, i'd get a linksys WRT54G router, flash it with DDWRT, get a desktop UPS and an HD ip camera. i'd then construct a 1/4" plate steel housing to protect it. obviously thought process will have to go into the design to ensure any hits get deflected into the ground. the entire housing would probably be 14"l x 10"w x 8" high, mainly to fit the footprint of a desktop ups to run the router and camera for hours. at that point i can connect to it with my laptops built-in 802.11 and pull the feed for the ip camera. the beauty of this system is it's intended location, a firing range, is pretty much guarenteed to be free from solid objects that will reflect the signal and degrade it, thus degrading the range. you'd be amazed what a linksys router can do line-of-sight. you'd be even more surprised what one can do with DD-WRT and the ability to boost power to the transmitter.

ETA i run a linksys wireless router flashed with DD-WRT on standard transmit power in my basement. i can log onto my wireless from inside my uncles garage with the metal garage doors closed with 40-60% signal strength. this is a solid 1/10th mi away and most people have to step outside the garage to use their cell phone reliably.

ETA again: damn now you have me thinking about rigging up my ranges. i suppose 50yd isn't too bad to walk, but i have a 150 a 250 and a 400 marked out as well, and the shots for the 250 and the 400 are over a gully and it'd be more like a 1/4mi walk around to get to the targets.
wuzup101  [Member]
5/7/2010 9:31:26 PM EDT
I have a pair of nanostationM5's, and while I've never used them for this application, I can tell you that you would have plenty of bandwith and signal strength to form a link at 2500 meters through a clear LOS. Honestly, they are pretty damn easy to setup, and nice little units. You would probably have to be creative in powering them though.
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