Capture and Transmit Photos Remotely with a Solar-Powered Camera and Radio
There are few things that get me more excited than radio technology (…at least for the time being; I will probably find another obsession in a month or two). Add to that off-grid power and photography, and you’ve got my attention.
This creative setup uses a Raspberry Pi, some extra wires, a BaoFeng UHF/VHF handheld radio (have a couple of them myself and love ’em), and some scripting to capture images, convert them to radio waves, and transmit them via slow-scan television (SSTV) to a remote location…all run off solar power.
NOTE: The radio frequencies here fall within the ham (amateur) radio spectrum, and the FCC has a billion other rules you might want to investigate, so please implement legally and responsibly. There, I’ve done my civic duty.
The Raspberry Pi is modified to control the transmit and receive relay on the radio and then connected to the input/output ports on the BaoFeng.
A few program installations enable the Pi to take the photos and convert them to sound waves.
A programming hack enables the user to overlay their ham radio call sign (a legal matter) over the image.
The setup is connected to small solar panels via a Y-configuration and capacitor.
Everything is loaded into a clear, watertight housing and deployed.
A radio-connected computer with decryption software on the other end receives the signal and converts the sound waves to an image file.
ANOTHER NOTE: Anyone listening to that frequency with the proper equipment can decrypt the image as well. Save your naked selfies for your cell phone.
[Images: Shared under CC license from HackBP]
Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.