This is a fun project that combines inexpensive components to create an instructable that can provide exciting upclose video and sound on any body of water. This is a simple Mallard duck decoy that has radio controlled propulsion, and a wireless video and sound system mounted inside. Video is transmitted to a receiver on shore that is either connected to a camcorder or DC television. Color video and sound can be transmitted over several hundred feet away! The decoy and camera is powered by rechargable nicads and provides 6 to 8 hours video, allowing wildlife obsevation never before possible. By watching thru your video monitor the duck can go into areas you can't see from shore. It's been great fun driving along the shore and watching and listening to people who don't realize it's radio controlled! Then when they notice it's a toy duck, they still don't know it has a video camera and a microphone! And they can't see me, I'm in my house watching on my big screen TV and recording on VHS tape! You can't buy this in any store, and for under $100.00 and a few hours easy work you can have one too! The instructable community love to build and create, and this is so easy that I hope you build one for yourself.

Step 1: Getting what you need

First is the Video system. These are packaged units that are usually sold to home owners to observe their front entry, or perhaps the baby's nursery. It has a color camera with a built in transmitter and sound card. It transmitts on 2.4 Ghz so there is no interference problems from the radio control being mounted so close. The camera system I chose is from a company called X-10. They have a web site, http://www.x10.com and sell this unit as model VK49A for about $75.00. I found mine on E-bay for $35.00. Simular systems can be found in the large electronics stores (And their websites) and could be easily adapted. Once you see how easy they are to modify, you'll see they can be installed into teddy bears or picture frames to become "nanny cams", model airplanes become UAV's, and a bird house becomes a educational experience for the entire family! Even Harbor Freight has a low cost B/W unit.

The radio control and propulsion are from a toy Jetski. These are available in toy stores like KB-Toys. They sell for $19.00, and are easy to dismantle. I found two more in secondhand store toy bins, so don't be afraid to check there too. (E-Bay too) There are other toy boats that could be used, but I like the motors underneath. They allow for differential steering. Without a rudder, it becomes less complicated to rig a duck to steer. The motors run independently, both on for forward, left on to turn right, right on to turn left. It will rotate in place, so its easy to keep a baby duck in frame, and is quick enough to follow a family around the lake without their attention. The Jetski is from a company called Echo, and uses a radio frenquency of 27mhz. Range is a bit restricted, about 100 feet, but on a body of water thats pretty far. You could easily install a more powerful RC and electronic speed control, but costs will really run away if you do.

Last is a duck decoy, and you will need two. Males and females are available in nearly all species. I chose a Mallard male, and somtimes tow a female behind. They cost about $4.00 each, and are made by a company named Flambeau Products. They are available in sporting goods and hunting supply stores, online and mail order. They are a bit seasonal, but not too difficult to find. I purchased two for $3.99 ea. The reason for two, is the first is cut open with and oversized opening to cover the back of the second, to provide enough overlap that it becomes somewhat water resistant. This may seem a bit wasteful, but they are inexpensive, and its too important that you protect the camera from moisture.
The extra decoy makes a great planter, or use it as a pencil box on your desk or maybe a cereal bowl or even a dog dish!
Thats it! Simple tools are needed, a drill, and a Dremel tool is handy, a few connectors, and some NiCad batteries. (A broken hacksaw blade cuts the back easily if you don't have a Dremel.)
The sealant is silicone. Silicon is a hard element.
My face is hurting from laughing at the result of my angling friends who keep whinging about ducks interferring with their 'sport', Im gonna have a go at making this and pimp it up with a recorded fish warning. Smart.
Oh blow, my glory has been stolen. I made a duck-cam last winter. I had to build the duck entirely from scratch in order to hold my entire camcorder. Had a nice prop-shaft made with oilite bearings, and a rudder. Even had reverse. The hull was a radioshack project box. The duck body made of wire mesh, covered in fabric. The head was carved out of polystyrene<br/><br/>A brief glimpse of an early version can be seen at the very, very end of<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV_yE7XaqX0">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV_yE7XaqX0</a><br/><br/>but it's now for naught, I have been undone.<br/><br/>
LTMS (laughing to my self) I&nbsp;like &quot;I've been undone.&quot;&nbsp;You sound like a lot of peple here ... very fun.<br />
I may as well add that the drive on my duck has seized because of moisture corrosion, and the speed controller burned out. I may try this instructable as Mark II, since using a pre-made drive machanism is probably the best approach. The use of a small camera really makes everything much simpler, believe me. There's also a commercial RC duck called vac-u-duck, I believe. I wonder if a female decoy would be more conducive to attracting other ducks, especially males, for good photography.
And great instructable, by the way.
This is great it adds stealthy ,technology, and nature into one thing good job.
Great ible! I'm going to poke around toy stores today. A cool addition would be to mash together a mini tv screen with the controller, that way you can have it all in one unit. Swim around using duck POV! Another cool mod would be to put in a speaker so you could swim up to someone and start talking. Swim up, "Hey, I saw you throw that wrapper in the river, knock it off... ass!" Then swim off. A talking duck doesn't have to sell insurance, he has options.
this is the coolest idea in the world. it allows you to make multiple decoy spots! just watch out, usually motorized decoys of any kind = no so legal<br/>
Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I'd check my state's wiretapping statutes before operating something like this. The audio transmitter is what makes me worry. If it also contravenes wildlife regs by being built into a movable decoy, so much the better!<br/><br/>The instructable itself is great, very well explained and documented. Anyone who enjoyed reading this might also get a kick out of some <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.detroitatvrepeater.com/">amateur television</a> projects too. Just slap that ol' NOT LIABLE tag on before someone gets in trouble!<br/>
Not an attorney myself, but.... It would be your audio channel, unless you use it to eaves drop in on private conversations, I see no problem. Only a decay if use to attract ducks to shoot with a gun instead of a camera. Why anyone would bootleg operate in an bands licensed to another service while an unlicensed option is available is beyond me.
Its only illegal to record human conversations with out permision, so unless you putting this in peoples living rooms your good.
I live on a lake surrounded by homes, children and pets. I don't use this in any way that would harm an animal and don't hunt. It is a toy, swims with the kids, and drives up to boaters for their reaction. The ducks and geese swim right up to it without care. I really wanted to demonstrate that these cameras work well on batteries, are easy to make portable, and placing it in the decoy allows it to get nearer to wildlife than viewing from shore with binoculars. I can park it in the reeds and watch the video, or set it in the garden and watch the bird feeder. My grandchildren enjoy the heck out of it.
have you got any video footage from the duck?<br/>I just built a RCduck this weekend, I guess i was wrong when I though my idea was pretty original, mine' s not nearly as impressive either, and doesn't have a camera, but you can see it here in action trying to hang out with some other ducks. I'll make an instructable for it when I get a chance. I basically just strapped mine to a radioshack RC sub.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilsigntist/2466033639/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilsigntist/2466033639/</a><br/>
i hav an rc plane and i'm going to mount a camera on it for live video footage. it will probably have a range of 600 ft
Way cool man but what you should try to do is extend the range because i live near a lake but like i dont live on the shore and wouldent the beak get in the way of the camera?
I am SO going to do this...too bad there aren't any nearby rivers, but I've been wanting to get a wireless video cam anyway...this is great!
kik asss
ive seen r/c decoys before, but never with the camera, thanks alot!
where would i find this type of cheap rc water toy or car for cheap?
Pretty clever hack. Anyone who would happen to discover your eaves dropping would be justified in drowning the thing. Ever give any thought of how law enforcement would react if anyone ever noticed that the decoy, as a decoy and, acting in a manner that decoys normally don't? A bird watcher with a pair of binoculars will be able to tell it's a decoy.
Wow, this is so cool! The park near my house has a small pond with many ducks, so this was a big hit for me.
I might have to rig something similar to keep an eye on my students :0
Truly an awesome instructable! Thanks for taking the time to put it together!
Any surveillance shots? Any beefy ducks think this mallard was hot stuff?<br/><br/>I wanna make this using a croc <a rel="nofollow" href="http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-CROCODILE-HEAD-FOR-POOL-POND-YARD-LOOKS-REAL_W0QQitemZ280128927332QQihZ018QQcategoryZ20731QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem">head.</a><br/>
Unfortunatly I don't have a digital recorder so don't have a video to post. I record on VHS tape. The color, sound and resolution are very good. The camera was built to transmit through walls inside a home, and when outdoors transmitts about 500 feet or more. The antenna direction can weaken the signal, but usually just changing the camera position gets a clear image. I like the crock head idea, The expressions and comments you would capture would be pricless. A large foam head, carved and painted like a crock, swimming up to my dock would sure get a reaction out of me!
Excellent instructable, well done. Great pix, thanks for sharing.
LOL! very good! definately a +
Wow. This is so cool. Although i doubt i'll put a camera in it while i try out mine when i get around to make this, The remote control duck is priceless. Thank you for this wonderful project

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