Welcome to the home page for the Fountain City Flyers (“FCF”) flying field camera. Here you will find some background information, a brief description of the FCF flying field camera, some detailed instructions on how to view the FCF flying field camera pictures and some questions you may have along with answers. Since this web page contains some important information that you will need to access the FCF flying field camera, recommend that you bookmark this page for later reference.

Background

        It seems that web cameras are everywhere these days. You can sit at your computer and watch eagles hatch in a nest 2000 miles away or check out the beach closer to home. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some RC flying clubs have web camera pictures on their club websites. These cameras allow folks visiting the club’s website to see current activity at the club’s flying field. Two clubs that come to mind are Georgia Jets and RCACF down in Apopka, FL. Generally speaking, both of these clubs use a web-type camera that takes pictures, sends it to a on-site computer that  pushes the picture out to their website. We are not able to replicate what these clubs are doing because we don’t have internet service at the flying field.

Description

        The FCF flying field camera is a simple wireless scouting or trail camera sold by a company in Kentucky called Covert Scouting Cameras (“Covert”). The camera takes pictures and uses a Verizon cell phone signal to push low resolution versions of the pictures out to Covert’s web server or portal.  FCF members have access to the pictures by going to the Covert web portal and typing in the “code” or “key” (provided below) which is similar to a password like we all use to access our email. The low resolution pictures reside on the web portal’s server for 30 days. Higher resolution versions of the pictures are stored on a 32GB SD card housed inside the camera. The camera is setup to over-write onto the SD card when it reaches full capacity. The camera is setup to take pictures every 15 minutes using a picture timer and whenever the motion sensor is triggered. Night time pictures are in black and white. The camera is powered by 12 Duracell 2500 mAh rechargeable AA batteries that are charged by a solar charger.

Instructions

        There are two ways for FCF members to access the FCF flying field pictures on the Covert web portal. Either way, you will need the following guest code. (The guest code letters are case sensitive, so be careful if you choose to enter them yourself rather than doing a copy/paste as recommended in step 1.b. below.)

cncQVm4H6y7c

 

  1. a. The best way to view the flying field pictures is on your desktop or laptop computer. Go to the website www.covert-wireless.com (open in a separate tab so you can refer back to these instructions). Click on the green bar that says Login as guest (see picture below).

Covert Wireless Pic02.PNG

b. Copy the guest code shown above and paste it in the box that says “Guest Code.” Then, click on the green bar that says Sign Up (see picture below).

Covert Wireless Pic 03.PNG

c. It will then ask you for your email address. You can enter it or leave this field blank. (I have not figured out the advantage of entering your email. Recommend for the time being that you just leave that field blank.) Click on the green bar that says Continue (see picture below).

Covert Wireless Pic 04.PNG

d. Find the FCF Flying Field Camera in the upper left corner and click on it. This should take you to the portal page with the FCF flying field pictures. The latest picture always appears in the upper left corner. There is a day/time stamp at the bottom of each picture. The temperature reading at the bottom of the picture does not appear to be consistently accurate. (After asking the folks at Covert, it is my understanding that the temperature reading we see at the bottom of the picture is actually provided by a third party [e.g., weather.com or wunderground.com, etc.] based on the location of the camera - not by a temperature sensor contained within the camera.)

e. To view a larger version of a picture, roll you mouse over the center of the picture and click on View in the red box. To return to the page that has the smaller pictures, you can use your browser’s back button or click on the FCF Flying Field Camera on the left side of your screen.

2. Another way to access the FCF flying field pictures is with your smartphone. Using your smartphone, go to the Apple app store or the Android app store (Google Play) and find the app for Covert Wireless. If you see multiple Covert apps, look for Covert Wireless. It has a picture of a grey wolf and the word “Covert” (see picture below ).

Covert Wireless Pic.PNG

This is a FREE download. Download and open the app. Then, follow the instructions for desktop and laptop access outlined in paragraph 1. above.

Note #1: The layout for the smartphone app is not exactly like the desktop and laptop layout, but you follow the same basic steps. For example, in paragraph 1. b.  above for desktop and laptop computers, you enter the guest “code” and click on “Sign up.” When using the Android app, you enter the guest “key” (same as “code”) and tap on “Submit”.

NOTE #2: When I sign into the Covert web portal using my Android phone with the Android Covert Wireless app, my phone shows the last 5 pictures that were sent to the portal. If I tap on any one of the 5 pictures, I can then see all of the pictures currently stored on the portal with the most recent picture being in the upper left corner. Then, when I tap on any of those pictures, I see an enlarged version of that picture and I can scroll to see the other large versions and zoom in to see more detail.  I am not sure about iPhones.

TIP: It is easier to see the pictures if you rotate your smartphone sideways when viewing.

Anticipated Questions

Here are some questions I anticipate club members may have along with the answers.

Q#1. Can you zoom the camera in or out?

  1. No. There is no zoom feature on this camera.

Q#2. Can you improve the resolution of the pictures I see on the Covert web portal?

  1. No. That resolution is set by the manufacturer. I can adjust the resolution of the pictures stored on the SD card, but not the images pushed out to the Covert web portal.

Q#3. How much does did this cost?

  1. The camera, 32 GB SD card, security box, lock, rechargeable batteries and solar charger will run about $425. The Verizon service is $19.99 per month for 5000 pictures and 30 days storage on the Covert portal. If we switch over to use an AC adapter, there will be an additional expense - about $20 for the AC adapter and something for the extension cord to reach from the bathroom storage house to the camera.

Q#4. Has the club actually purchased this?

  1. No. I set this up as a demo so members could try it out. If the club votes to keep it, then I will submit paperwork to be reimbursed for my actual cost of the camera, security box, lock, batteries, solar charger, and the monthly Verizon phone service, either by the month or year.
  1. Yes . The club voted at the April meeting to purchase the camera, related items and the monthly Verizon service.

Q #5. Did you install new items or used items?

  1. Everything I installed at the flying field was brand new except the lock and chain. In other words, I installed a brand new Covert Blackhawk camera, a brand new 32 GB SD card, a brand new security box, 12 brand new Duracell rechargeable batteries and a brand new solar charger. If the club purchases this system, it will need to also purchase a Masterlock Python cable lock or something similar and I will remove my used lock and chain.

Q#6. How long did it take to install the camera?

  1. I spent 3 1/2 hours at the field the day I installed it. I did some other work, so I would say about 2 1/2 hours were spent on the camera system itself. About half of that time was spent clearing the Chinese privet to give the camera an unobstructed view of the pit area.

Q#7. Do you do this as a business to make money?

  1. No. I do NOT do this as a business. The club will only pay paid what I had to pay for the items and the Verizon cell phone service. I am not interested in making any money off of this. My only interest is in improving our flying field for our club members.

Q#8. What happens if the club does not vote to keep the camera system?

  1. If the club does not vote to keep and pay for the camera system, I will remove it without any hard feelings.

Q#9. Can you set the camera to take pictures more often than every 15 minutes?

  1. Yes, that can be changed, but it will generate more pictures to the Covert web portal which means we need a more expensive monthly Verizon plan. I believe that pictures every 15 minutes and the pictures triggered by the motion sensor will keep us close to, but under the 5000 pictures per month allowed with the $19.99 monthly plan. If I see that I can set the camera to take a picture every 10 - 12 minutes or so and stay under 5000 pictures per month, then I will change the camera setting to better utilize our 5000 picture per month allotment.

Q#10. Does the Verizon part of the camera system require a contract like some of their phone plans?

  1. No. The service from Verizon is month-to-month. There is no contract involved.

Q#11. Can you turn off the picture timer during the night time so that during the hours of darkness the camera only takes pictures when triggered by the motion sensor?

  1. No. The camera has an on/off timer (two on/off timers, actually), but the on/off timers turn the entire camera on and off. Since the camera is setup to take pictures by a picture timer and by a motion sensor, It is not possible to turn off just the picture timer and turn it back on. Likewise, it is not possible to turn off just the motion sensor trigger and turn it back on. Either the entire camera is on or it is off. Since the current set-up involves the picture timer and the motion sensor, both are on or both are off.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions, problems or suggestions.

Enjoy the FCF flying field camera!

Mickey Avery

FCF Club Member

avery.mickey@gmail.com