The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2022.02.28 - Getting it all on Video

One of the more irritating aspects of having Naiad 80 miles away is not knowing what she is doing. This has been tested to the extreme over the last few weeks with the three major storms in Britain and I wondered at times if I even had a boat left any more. Not that I could have done anything about it if I had known that she was in trouble, but at least I would have known.

So I resolved to do something about it, I am an engineer after all. It didn't take long to find that there is a device on the market just for such a situation and although it is really meant for land-based uses, it will serve pretty well for what I want to be doing.

My requirements were quite straightforward. I needed a solar-powered camera that would transmit to my phone over the 4G mobile network. It seems that there is a big market for such a device for areas where a wi-fi or a wired network connection is not available or even possible and nor is power. Keeping an eye on nature trails, for example, or livestock out in the country away from built up areas.

Needless to say I bought one. It is a Reolink Go PT and there is a solar panel accessory for it from the same company. It arrived today and I have already set it up in the field outside. It is very well thought out and the entire process took less than 30 minutes including mounting it on a pole.

Now it does cost money to send video to my phone, but I have set it to its lowest bit rate and also not to detect motion and switch on and record for five minutes so it will be interesting to see how much I am charged over the course of a month.

Having now seen the unit and also reviewed how other people are using theirs, I plan to make a simple, wooden carriage that can be hoisted up the mast and to mount the camera and solar panel on that. There will be a downhaul to help pull it down when required but also to tension the cords around the mast that will stop it from flapping around the the wind or with the motion of the boat.

The 4G signal on the mooring is surprisingly good, so I should get a decent reception for this. During the more extreme weather conditions I may choose to record some footage and post it here, but that is a nice-to-have rather than a requirement. There is a Passive Infra-Red or PIR function on the camera that will register movement and start recording to the SD memory card as well as optionally send me a notification, but this will probably be triggered by every passing gull and not worth the trouble. I'll try it out once it is installed, just to see how it goes.

Despite the main function of the Go PT being a security camera I shall not be using it for this purpose. Rather I shall be using it to check the weather on the mooring as well as keeping an eye on how Naiad is coping with the weather.

Mind you, since I know that she survived three major storms in less than two weeks and winds gusting in excess of 85 mph, I feel that she is going to be able to cope with just about anything.

But it is going to be nice to be certain.