I'm working on a project that basically consists of sending an automated boat powered by a RPi into the ocean. The problem is that I can't find a cheap way (I'm working on a low budget) of transmiting information and pictures or video from the automated boat to me. Is there a cheap (cheap would be like under 50$ for all the necessary equipment to do so) way to do it or do I have to go with a Rockblock or something like that?

  • 1
    Do you think it might depend on the distances involved?
    – joan
    Mar 7 '16 at 13:15
  • You could use 433 MHz transreceiver for more range in terms of distance but won't take you very long. For far off distance you can try creating a multi-hop scenario where data from your boat travels through other boats and then reaches land.
    – Shan-Desai
    Mar 7 '16 at 13:19
  • From the RockBlock developer's guide here: 'Sending images, or GRIB files, is usually not sensible'. I looked into sat-comms a fair bit while I was still marine engineering. You're not going to be able to pull this off without some fairly serious budget and a much bigger boat.
    – goobering
    Mar 7 '16 at 14:53

Mid ocean video communication can't be done for the $50 price range. The Rockblock is for "short messages" meaning text or data under 340 bytes. Videos are more like 1,000,000,000 bytes.

and just to give you an idea of how small that is;

> echo "Hello, this message is exactly 340 bytes when gzipped. It's actually some text but it's no video. This is 469 charictors. The Rockblock is £8.00 per month, and £159.00 + tax up front. 100mA @ 5V is required but likely you would want to boost that so that would cost more. 7z and zip actualy make this file bigger with default/max settigns but gzip can accomplish some compression. Googles Brotli tools is not much better than gzip. I have run out of things to say/b." > test.txt
> gzip -k test.txt
> stat -f %z\ %N test.* 
469 test.txt
340 test.txt.gz

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