Equipment - Camera and lens

The SonotaCo UFO Detect software supports a range of CCTV cameras and video decoders. Best choice is Dazzle DVC range

Modified CCTV camera with Fujinon lens

The SonotaCo UFO Detect software supports a range of CCTV cameras and video decoders, the choice is yours. However a number of stations are using the following CCTV configuration;

Camera: KPF 131 HR or VE-6047EF/OSD Lens: Fujinon YV2.8×2.8LA-SA2 1/3€³ 2.8-8mm / F1.4, (IR) or Tokina 3-8.2 mm F0.98 (IR) There are better cameras and lenses available, but these were chosen because the offer the best overall price / performance. This is considered very important given our aim of affordability. Low cost solutions will increase participation, extend the network more quickly and will help to grow the UKMON community.

The Camera

With larger sensor and higher sensitivity, Watec CCTV cameras are a popular choice for meteor monitoring applications, but cost significantly more than the VE-6047EF/OSD. We are achieving very good results with the VE-6047EF.

The table below provides a simple comparison between the KPF 131 HR, VE-6047EF/OSD and the Watec 902 H2 Ulimate CCTV cameras.

Item KPF 131 HR VE-6047EF/OSD Watec 902 H2 Ultimate
Sensor 1/3" Sony Super HAD II 1/3" Sony Super HAD II 1/2" Sony Ex View HAD
Resolution 582 x 500 960 x 582 752 x 582
Sensitivity 0.0002 lx 0.01 lx 0.0001 lx
S/N > 50db > 120db > 50db
Est. Cost £60 £40 £230

The Lens

The Fujinon lens gives good brightness and a good overall image quality. It's field of view on a 1/3 camera ranges from 35 degrees to 99 degrees but for our purposes operating much beyond 70 degrees is not ideal and optical aberration becomes very significant. A fixed focus auto-iris lens may offer better image quality. We have not yet looked at this option. The Tokina 3-8.2 mm F0.98 (IR) also provides good quality images or other tested alternative is Tokina 3-8.2 mm F0.98 (IR).

The auto iris is required to protect the CCTV sensor from direct sunlight. The camera will be outside day and night and direct sunlight could burn the CCD sensor. An auto iris is a simple solution; the iris should close whenever the camera power supply is disconnected, A timer on the camera power supply therefore protects the CCD from damage (see Cabling and Power). There are other options but this is perhaps the simplest. An alternative to a timer is to use a daylight sensor to switch off the 12v supply in the daytime

Video Decoder

Dazzle video encoder DCV100

The CCTV camera produces a composite video output that needs to be converted into a digital format for the PC. There are many video capture devices available but the Dazzle DVC 101 provides a very simple plug-and-play package that is cost effective package.

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