Sean VK7FAZE has recently been experimenting with NOAA APT weather Satellite reception and shares his experiences with us in this article
There is not much more fascinating than getting pictures from space. And with a but of smarts and some cheap bits and pieces it’s possible to do this quite easily.
One of the display pieces at REAST’s stand at this years Festival of Bright Ideas was a display showing how to receive weather satellite photos using some fairly easily obtainable bits and pieces – a computer with a ‘USB TV Dongle’ as the now classic Software Defined Radio, a simple but impressive looking Quadrafilar Helical Antenna, and software freely downloadable from the Internet.
The antenna is built out of PVC electrical conduit and a few fittings, some 75mm PVC storm drain, and some old co-ax cable left over from an old TV installation. Some cutting and drilling, PVC glue and a couple of lazy hours on a Saturday afternoon and its done.
The software was a current version of Ubuntu Linux and the latest copy of GQRX fresh from the authors repository, with a little gentle post-processing using WxToImg to produce the ‘false colour’ images. I used the ‘gpredict’ program to track and display the various satellites passing overhead and on the day it went down quite well.