The 2011 Special Ops is one of the oldest infrared surveillance devices brought into the market by Covert.
It could send pictures instantly to a mobile device via GSM/GPRS network, but the user first needed to open GPRS service from AT&T or T-Mobile.
Two years later, they came up with the 2013 2G Code Black model. In order to use it, it was necessary to download a setup file to the SD card inside the camera, then remove it and insert into a PC to then access the installation file where several settings should be set and saved on the card. This model used a prepaid unlocked SIM card from AT&T.
In 2014 and 2015 they continue creating more wireless trail cameras.
2014 3G Code Black wireless Covert cameras would work with a standard size SIM card from any GSM provider and sent images to any provider’s phone.
In order to communicate with this device a series of commands were available, such as: add phone number, add email address, acquire picture, set wireless on/off, and more.
Depending on the user´s location, they could encounter issues with sending certain commands, since some cell towers didn’t support all commands.
In 2015 Covert wireless camera introduced a significant change with two 3G devices: the Code Black Wireless which works with AT&T, and the Blackhawk Wireless which worked with Verizon.
There were also significant changes from the 2014 model such as:
- Introduction of AT&T and Verizon subscription plans
- Not supporting commands
- Not able to use the 2014 texting SIM card in the 2015 model
2016 and 2017
The main difference in 2016 models is the introduction of web portal and app which helps you to stay tune constantly with what´s happening in the field and helps save time, and gas.
The web portal is the platform that hosts the cameras you have and where photos can be saved and is permanently free to use without any fees.
2017 Models improved the application experience allowing users to retrieve high resolution images and the ability to send text, emails or both within the app or web portal.
Just as any other app, it can be downloaded from Google Play store or Apple App store, and provides almost complete management or access to the camera. Here are only several things that can be accomplished by using the app:
- View images that have been taken
- Take pictures without waiting on the camera to get triggered
- Change and edit settings and controls
- Receive notifications
- Save, share or delete photos
A SIM card is included with the purchase, therefore an old SIM cannot be used neither can the camera be added to an existing plan. There are monthly – no long term contract – pay as you go plans available, and new users get 30 days free cloud storage for all photos.
AT&T plans are currently cheaper than Verizon´s, but it is important to point out that it is not required to have a service plan with either of these subscribers to use your cam. Plans are purchased through Covert´s portal
For example, for $9.99 you´ll get 1,000 pictures a month with AT&T, while you´ll only get 500 with Verizon. For $14.99 you´ll get 5000 pictures with AT&T, while you´ll get 1,000 pictures with Verizon. It is important therefore to know which company offers a better signal in your area.
The following three accessories are used mainly to improve the performance and experience of these devices.
Solar panel: It was made available for models from 2014 on that use 12 batteries. The main idea is for it to prevent the camera´s batteries from draining in the field.
Covert has their own rechargeable NiMH, 2300mAh, AA batteries and suggest that battery life will be extended when using them along with the solar panel. Non rechargeable batteries should not be used with the solar panel.
External battery: From 2012, their cameras are made with an auxiliary power pack and a standard 4mm jack is necessary to make the connection when using a standard or universal auxiliary converter in order to attach an external 12V or 6V rechargeable battery.
Booster antenna: It is available for models from 2013 on.
If the trail cam is not sending images, is in a poor signal area or continually has 1-2 bars, the 3G booster antenna will help boost signal. Its waterproof cover helps protect the antenna from.
Both 2016 and 2017 has a .65 second trigger speed, and can use an SD card up to 32GB.
2016 models are 12MP, while 2017 are 12.1MP
The following video is a walkthrough of the 2016 Code Black version, but the same basic steps apply to the 2016 Blackhawk and 2017 Verizon and AT&T versions.