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noaa15_1511101523ut

How to receive NOAA satellite signals

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NOAA Satellites – Weather maps from space

It’s so fun to track satellites. If you have never tried it, put it on your HAM bucket list. In this post, I give you some info on how to easily do it.

NOAA Satellites are some of my favorites among the best sources of up to date weather forecasts. Understanding weather maps may help you in everyday situations, like figuring out if you need a jacket, a hat, or a scarf on your way to work. The idea is simple, but the equipment needed to receive satellite signals is not trivial.

You’ll need:

The weather in one picture – step by step instructions

I have tested practically all satellite tracking software packages currently available for civilians, and my choice fell on SatPC32. It has been developed by Erich Eichmann, DK1TB, a German ham radio operator and programmer. His excellent software may be used free of charge, although having to put in your geographical coordinates before each start is somewhat uncomfortable. Download here.

After installing SatPC32, you will see the following:

NOAA_map_15

Altogether 12 satellites can be chosen from the available lists – among them NASA sources. Satellite orbit data can be easily refreshed from http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/

There are a number of editable configuration files, among them .sqf files being the most important. The file can be modified by clicking on the question mark in the menu. Notebook starts, and you can see the content of the file plus some advice at the bottom of the ASCII text. Top frequencies for new satellites look like this:

NOAA-15,137620,FM,NOR,0,0

NOAA-18,137912.5,FM,NOR,0,0

NOAA-19,137100,FM,NOR,0,0

These lines contain the name of the satellite, frequency, mode, and some simple notes. After saving this config file, the software will compensate Doppler shift, and reception will be smooth and continuous.

NOAA Automatic Picture Transmission (APT) is an analogue mode. The data coming from the imaging sensors is used to amplitude modulate a 2.4 kHz sub-carrier, which is then used to frequency modulate the VHF carrier at 137.x MHz. The FM deviation is 17 kHz.

I have heard both NOAA15 and 18 this afternoon (only three NOAA satellites are working). The audio frequency was recorded by Audacity, a well-known software of its kind. A processing software, called WXtoimg, is also needed. Download it from here: http://www.wxtoimg.com/downloads/

NOAA_map_2

A version of WXtoimg may be used for a while, but it costs a few €.

Reception is possible using the well-known yagi antenna even in horizontal positions, although more sophisticated and expensive aerials may be employed as well. More detailed descriptions may be studied at

http://www.astrosurf.com/luxorion/qsl-satellites-reception2.htm

The final outcome of my afternoon weather satellite reception was a map like this:

NOAA_map_3

If you take a fancy to try this small and smart satellite hunting project, please share your outcome maps with me and the Quadrus community!

Have fun!

HA6NN, Bandi

If you liked this post, check this out:

http://spectrafold.com/quadrus/radio-software/hunting-for-fm-repeater-frequency/

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QUADRUS SDR | Phase-coherent Multi-channel SDR

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Phase-coherent SDR hardware | Multi-channel SDR receiver | digitizer SDR hardware and receiver SDR software | QUADRUS SDR platform
Phase-coherent SDR hardware | Multi-channel SDR receiver | digitizer SDR hardware and receiver SDR software | QUADRUS SDR platform

QUADRUS SDR | Phase-coherent Multi-channel SDR

The QUADRUS SDR platform is complete ready to use integrated platform for advanced SDR software received implementation. It contains all the elements for a complete SDR receiver functionality. The phase-coherent SDR hardware digitizer with Windows driver and open API. The multi-channel SDR software receiver with advanced signal processing and open programming and remote control interface on TCP/IP. It can be used as a single element or as part of the higher level integrated system. During its entire lifetime already proved capabilities with lot of deployment in mission critical environments. Now it is available for the public use and further integration developments.

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Phase-coherent SDR hardware digitizer

The DRU-244A high speed phase-coherent digitizer SDR hardware multi-channel SDR hardware. With on board input leveling, low noise preamplifier and multi-channel SDR digital down conversion (DDC) capability. The DRU-244A SDR hardware has outstanding dynamic range performance with carefully optimized design for SDR hardware implementation. The high-performance SDR hardware design is the combination of high bandwidth and high dynamic range with excellent sensitivity. QUADRUS SDR hardware enables demanding applications such as RF/IF direct sampling SDR receiver. Excellent spectral purity in combination with gain control. The DRU-244A is ideal for advanced digital radio SDR software receiver implementation. Originally developed for professional signal and communication intelligence and spectrum monitoring and management application by Sagax Communications.

DRU-244A phase-coherent SDR hardware digitizer card
DRU-244A phase-coherent SDR hardware digitizer card

Multi-channel SDR software receiver

The SRM-3000 is a ready to run high performance multi-channel SDR software receiver application for the QUADRUS SDR receiver platform. Particularly suitable for spectrum monitoring and management,  communication and signal intelligence. It allows simultaneous monitoring and recording multi-channel of modern digital narrow or wide band signals. While the streaming of the IF or the demodulated audio signals can be streamed to the TCP/IP interface. The SDR software receiver has its application programming interface (API) for higher level integration. It combines state-of-the-art user interface technologies with the latest features in digital signal processing thus providing advanced SDR software receiver platforms available today. It was developed by Sagax Communications for search and intercept tasks in signal and communication intelligence applications and deployed to the field in several missions.

SRM-3000 multi-channel SDR software receiver application
SRM-3000 multi-channel SDR software receiver application

Read more phase-coherent SDR hardware multi-channel SDR software: QUADRUS SDR BLOG.

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