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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:32 am 
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If someone were to attach them to an array of tethered high altitude balloons around your homestead would it provide a good visual at long distances?

If it can it sounds like a winning idea to me but I don't recall ever seeing an aerial view from one save for low flying drones & police helicopters...oh & Predator & Reaper Drones but I have no idea what their maximum altitude is.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:44 am 
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It depends on the type of thermal imaging camera.

I have access to tiny ones that can see up to 100m, all the way up to the ones used on the aforementioned police chopper.

pretty decent bit of kit, but it might be more effective to surround your homestead with IR security cameras, they're cheaper and less obvious than a weather balloon.

also...how are you getting the signal down from the weather balloon? I would be interested in hearing your solution

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:36 am 
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taipan821 wrote:
It depends on the type of thermal imaging camera.

I have access to tiny ones that can see up to 100m, all the way up to the ones used on the aforementioned police chopper.

pretty decent bit of kit, but it might be more effective to surround your homestead with IR security cameras, they're cheaper and less obvious than a weather balloon.

also...how are you getting the signal down from the weather balloon? I would be interested in hearing your solution

If it's tethered to the ground couldn't a cable be used with some kind of wireless relay station on the ground? It'd be a long cable if you wanted to get the balloon high enough that it's not blatantly obvious but it's not out of the realm of possibility.


Last edited by KillerForHire on Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:58 am 
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This would only really be useful for watching roadways "IF" a thermal camera can detect an approaching vehicle from far enough away to give you a fair early warning.

Even if it's looking into an open field with no tree canopy it just wouldn't be practical to raise the alarm at every passing deer.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:51 am 
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The balloon would be affected by wind. These would result in oscillations that would make it difficult to keep a camera pointed in the right direction. A ball on is not a stable platform.

Basically the range of such optics is solely dependent upon your budget.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:28 pm 
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raptor wrote:
The balloon would be affected by wind. These would result in oscillations that would make it difficult to keep a camera pointed in the right direction. A ball on is not a stable platform.

Basically the range of such optics is solely dependent upon your budget.

I realize that thus the array. All it would take is a quick glimpse of a vehicles heat signature to tip someone off that someones coming. I only meant it as a crude early warning system not necessarily a security camera & if a good one can detect something miles away it's just an extra defensive measure one can take givin' the means to do so.

It couldn't hurt.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:53 pm 
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Interested in FLIR as well.
Maybe a combo of this and NV.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:16 pm 
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raptor wrote:
The balloon would be affected by wind. These would result in oscillations that would make it difficult to keep a camera pointed in the right direction. A ball on is not a stable platform.

Basically the range of such optics is solely dependent upon your budget.


Wind does affect balloons, but it can be compensated for. The military used balloons (large ones, actually more like tethered blimps) with various sensor packages, including FLIR cameras, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Enemy activity within visual range of any FOB deploying one dropped dramatically.

As far as spotting things, the the range is going to depend on your budget. The Army's LRAS3 (which at this point is over 15 years old) could detect (meaning "Hey, there's something out there") a vehicle size target at up to 15 km (terrain dependant - it's a ground mounted system), recognize that target at around 10 km ("OK, that's a tank/APC/truck") and identify at around 5 km ("T-80/BMP/HMMVW" or whatever. For a human sized target, the ranges get much shorter.

There's a significant tactical downside to using a balloon for observation, in that it's going to call attention to the place that the tether ties down, and that balloon is going to be visible from a long way off, probably much further than your sensors can see. Which can lead curious undesirables to conclude that there's something worth protecting at the base, and thus, something worth stealing.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:20 pm 
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Langenator wrote:
Wind does affect balloons, but it can be compensated for. The military used balloons (large ones, actually more like tethered blimps) with various sensor packages, including FLIR cameras, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Enemy activity within visual range of any FOB deploying one dropped dramatically.


Good point. Aerostats have been in use for quite some time with both radar and optics used on them.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:34 pm 
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If you have trained in Israel then you have seen their balloons go up somewhere nearby...LOL
It's been tried many different ways but it is so susceptible to weather as witnessed by many in theater and the Great Army Balloon Escape! (See RAID or aerostats)

As already stated, the cameras are only limited by what resources you have in exchange. Check out the STAR SAFIRE III (HD) for instance. It sits on top G-BOSS. Facial IDs at kilometers, and tgts lased out past 20Km.

I find the standard trail cameras get enough quality for facial ID if placed wisely.

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