This Saturday I held the annual entry-level D-ATV training for TV operators for BCARES, including some hands-on time with the new prtable ATV packsets I donated.
Thanks to Jim KH6HTV for his presentation on the Boulder ATV repeater.
Fairly soon I will add an upper-level class covering the portable repeater, quad box, and streaming ATV onto a network. We’ll also get into how to plan and run an event involving ATV. Stay tuned!
Last night I gave a presentation on digital ATV to the Adams County ARES (R1 D1) team including a live demo of a portable transmitter and my quad receiver box. It was the 90th anniversary of the first modern TV transmission (7 Sept 1927).
I also talked about streaming TV signals over a network using several different hardware devices and technical approaches. This week YouTube introduced ultra-low latency for live streams. I tested it at home over my wired network, and found that end-to-end latency from camera through RF and conversion to an IP stream, out to YouTube, and back to my browser, all happened within about 2 seconds. That’s fantastic!
In this case I was streaming through a Matrox Monarch HD. I’ve also tested an Epiphan Webcaster X2 but it kept changing the stream latency back to “normal” (15–30 seconds!). I have confirmed with Epiphan that this is an issue that will need to be addressed by a firmware revision.
YouTube live streaming gives us an option when RF alone can’t deliver the picture to a distant command post — provided that we have a suitable internet connection where we operate the ATV receiver. (One catch, however, is that only folks with some type of Google or YouTube account can be invited to watch a private stream, while an “unlisted” stream is accessible to anyone who has the URL.)
See the slides from my presentation: DATV for ARES Sept 2017
Another year’s gone by, and football season is coming soon. We use the CU home games (planned events) to prepare our members to run TV for emergencies. Here I am explaining how DVB-T works. At far right I have some equipment to demo; I usually leave a transmitter up during the class (it’s off to the left of the picture, watching the attendees :-).
Thanks to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management for the use of their facility. See the BCARES web site for more information on how we serve the community.
This Wednesday the Denver International Airport ran its mass-casualty drill at the DIA fire training center. BCARES members ran four digital ATV cameras to provide real-time situational awareness as well as record the event for after-action analysis. Three of the cameras were in the “infield” around a mock airplane and near where the casualties were placed; the fourth was a half-mile or so away covering the fire/medical staging area. We covered the fire response to the burning airplane as well as medical and “fatality management” (!) handing the casualties (nearly a planeload of volunteers with moulage).
This was another opportunity to run my portable quad receiver/processor. Thanks to the University of Colorado for the loan of their cameras and portable transmitters.
Thanks to George KAØBSA, Don NØYE, George NØRUX, Dosha KBØNAS, Starr NØAES, Tom KDØUOI, and Ron K2RAS.
This past Wednesday CU hosted the controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos, a week after his visit to the University of Washington produced violent protests. We had about 150 protesters show up, but the excellent security team kept things safe and running.
BCARES provided two camera teams around the Math building, one on the roof and one on the ground. Given our location on the southeast corner of the building, the ground transmitter had to run on high power (3 watts) to bounce a signal off the nearby buildings and west towards the stadium antennas. Thanks to the new 20 Ah LFP batteries we got last fall, that was not a problem.
Last night I gave a presentation on digital ATV and the DVB-T standard to about twenty members of the Arapahoe County ARES group, followed by a live demo of a backpack transmitter sending to the quad receiver box, which then streamed the picture over IP to a laptop.
BCARES again provided digital ATV support for special events at the University of Colorado, including the make-up visit of the Dalai Lama 6/23 and two evening concerts by the Dead & Co. during the Independence Day weekend.
BCARES camera crews provided real-time situational awareness for medical and law-enforcement issues as well as crowd and traffic control before, during, and after these events.
Yesterday a team of eleven BCARES members provided nearly eleven hours of digital ATV coverage at the GOP debate in Boulder, assisting the University of Colorado PD and the Colorado State Patrol who ran security for the event. In addition, we provided video to the Boulder County EOC for about six hours with the help of two more members who staffed our cube there. Here one of our cameras operates near the VIP entrance.
For this event we extended our reach across campus to a much greater degree than ever before. Pretty much all the coverage areas did not have a strict line of sight back to the stadium; instead, we depend on reflections off the stone faces of campus buildings to help get the signal to the receiving antennas.
We used the same TV antennas at the football stadium that we’ve used for actual football games. Here our quad box is showing the two early cameras; we went to four cameras later in the day. The quad output was streamed over IP through the campus network to the command post, providing a view of protesters as well as VIP arrivals and departures.
By increasing the DVB-T forward error correction (FEC) coding rate to 1/2 or 2/3 we were able to maintain a low power level (300 mwatts) in most locations even in the face of interference from commercial TV production trucks with their powerful satellite uplinks. For some locations close up against buildings, we need to raise the level to 1-2 watts to maintain a good signal.
We used the BCARES portable VHF voice repeater for the first time, installing it on one of the tallest buildings where it can cover the entire campus. Here Mark KØLRS finishes programming it before the event.
Many thanks for the hard work of Mark KØLRS, Dave KIØHG, George NØRUX, Doshia KBØNAS, Mark NØXRX, Ron KCØNEV, Tom KDØUI, Ron K2RAS, Bill KDØYYY, Steve WBØNFQ, Steve KS3FOX, Jerry NØOUW, and Joe KCØJCC!
I spent this Sunday morning at the BCARES table showing off digital ATV transmitting from a backpack set. Live TV made a good draw to our table in the back of the room. Lots of folks came over to ask about BCARES as well as ATV and the equipment on display. I also had the DVB-T portable repeater as a static display (i.e., it wasn’t running).
I made a couple of tours around the swap meet recording as well as transmitting.
This Saturday 9/12 I and six other members of BCARES ran digital ATV cameras at this year’s first home football game at the University of Colorado. This marks our first all-digital ATV operation providing TV for situational awareness to the CU police department.
This operation was also our first use of the new HDMI-based quad box, allowing up to four digital ATV channels to be combined in high definition. The resulting output was streamed over an IP network from the press box to the command post located away from the stadium.
While the stadium has fixed cameras, our mobile cameras allow the CU security team to focus on areas around the stadium that are not well-covered as well as to get close-ups of incidents as they happen, particularly on the move. For BCARES, supporting CU football offers us a great training opportunity as well as a safe environment to prove out new technology.
The DVB-T transmitters were able to work with and without line-of-site to the antenna location on top of the press box using only 300 mW while sending a perfect 720p picture at nearly 6 Mbps.
Thanks to Mark KØLRS, Dave KIØHG, George KAØBSA, Pete WB2DVS, Tom KDØUOI, and Bill KDØYYY for all their hard work!