There has been a growing interest over the past several years from served agencies for BCARES to provide ad-hoc video service. Two specific scenarios have been presented:
- At the POD flu drills, use video to show where the end of the line of cars is located.
- Provide video coverage of county incidents back to the EOC. This may include live video as an incident is progressing, or damage assessment after the fact. Currently, recording of video streams is not a requirement.

To cover the whole county, we must recognize the different distances that need to be covered, and the terrain that's involved. The closest point from the Delaware River (our most common incident) to the EOC is at New Hope, with a distance of 10 miles. The terrain in that direction is fairly even, until you get within a mile of the river itself. At the south end of the county, Tullytown to Warminster is a distance of 20 miles; and at the north end, Reigelsville to Warminster is 30 miles over highly variable terrain.

Because of the varied nature of the three regions of Bucks County, no single solution is going to be the best answer in providing video. For distances under 2 miles, we can use a combination of Part 15 2.4GHz cameras, transmitting from either a remote control vehicle or a tripod mast. Normally, such a camera would only work for about half a mile; but adding a high-gain directional antenna at the feed point should be able to extend this range quite a bit. If intra-site video is all that's needed, or to monitor a relay feed, we have a few 3.5" TFT Monitors available that can work off a portable 12V supply.

The second option is to use the Icom ID-1 23cm transceivers from the SEPA field cases. Running a program called D-Star TV (which needs to be installed ahead of time) on the included laptops will allow us to use the laptops' webcams to send video at 1.2GHz. This, however, is probably the weakest solution unless the site is within range of a D-Star 23cm repeater. The antennas included with the SEPA field cases are tri-band mag-mounts. Being omnidirectional, their range is limited; but is also highly affected by changes in altitude, terrain, and weather.

The third option is to use a 4W 420MHz ATV setup with Yagi antennas. We currently only have one HamTV TX705, since there are a lot of questions about how effective this will be in meeting the criteria. Included with the 4-channel transceiver are a video overlay board, and a robust color camera. With the Yagi antennas, the line of sight distance at 4W can theoretically range from 20 to 30 miles and beyond, depending on atmospheric conditions. However, our scenarios will rarely be line of sight. By adding a passive relay (2 Yagi antennas, pointed in different directions, connected by a very short coax jumper) between the video feed site and the EOC, that range may be able to be extended. Being an analog signal, even if it is weak, some information may be received well enough to be useful.

The real answer to providing video services throughout Bucks County will be in taking advantage of the combination of each of these solutions together. To make this successful, BCARES members will have to come together as a team. The relay stations, whether active or passive, will be the critical piece to the puzzle.