GOES Satellite Reception Project

We're getting interested in listening to the GOES geosync weather satellites, so this page is a collection of links to help get started with that project. We'll report on progress as it happens.

Detailed article:

Good building options:

Here's the link to an antenna:

Link to antenna pointing from W2MMD:

Info on GOES 16, the east-coast satellite:…

W2MMD Station Configuration

In preparation for a presentation at the GCARC 2018 Hamfest, here's a description of the current configuration of the W2MMD satellite station. Hopefully these diagrams will be useful in understanding how everything fits together and is used.
Voice Communication Here's how the voice communication process works. The SDR Console program runs on the PC and is connected to the 2 SDR radios - a Funcube Dongle and an SDR Play, either of which can be selected. SDR Console is connected to the PC (actually it's done through an Audio Rodirector) to provide sound for the operator. The SDR frequency is controlled by the Satellite function of the PstRotator program, which also control the uplink freq on the 847 through a serial cable. PstRotator also is connected to the LVB rotator controller. So far it's pretty simple. Local data operations Things get a little more complicated when we're working with data. At that point various model and decoder programs get involved, which are…

SatNOGS Satellite Reporting Network

SatNOGS is a network of stations that report satellite telemetry to a central database.  I'm just getting started in this but here's what I've done so far. The whole SatNOGS project is designed to let amateurs build up a simple satellite station that will report telemetry. The website contains info on antennas, rotators, software and other info needed to get going. In particular, the software runs on a Raspberry Pi, a low-priced computer running Linux, and an RTL-SDR USB radio. Since I already have a home satellite station I downloaded the software, loaded it onto an SD card and plopped it into a Pi. The whole system is configured to run remotely, so you have to SSH into the Pi from another computer to set it up, but that's not too hard. You also have to set up an account on SatNOGS and get an API key that will link the computer to their system. Then you can set up station locations - I set them up for my home station and for the W2MMD clubhouse.

Once that's done y…

Active Satellite Resources

AMSAT-UK has some very helpful links to resource info. In particular, this link shows the current status of all amateur satellites along with download links to the telemetry decoders.

Receiving telemetry from moon-orbiting satellites

Here's our next challenge - decoding telemetry from two Chinese ham satellites orbiting the moon! See for more info.

Briefly, I think this will involve the following:

Setting PST Rotator to track the moon. This is pretty easy in the Tracking menu. Obviously we can only hear this satellite when the moon is above the horizon, which is usually pretty easy to see.Running the JT-4 software. This isn't yet installed on the W2MMD satellite computer, partly because I think that most of this work will be done by home users on their own computers accessing the W2MMD satellite computer remotely (see other posts on remote access).We might need a larger antenna. Some of the successful stations have been running pretty big 70 cm antennas.LONGJIANG 1 - NORAD CAT ID 43471
More to follow. Just getting started here.

Here's more on these satellites:…

Remotely controlling the Az-El rotators

An important aspect of remote control is the ability to point the antennas in the desired direction.  Fortunately the PST Rotator program has client/server capability that will let you run a remote copy of the program that will control the rotator at the W2MMD QTH. The Server program is set to run automatically at W2MMD, so you need to run the client on your local computer. Do this by selecting TCP Client on the Setup menu, which will open the client as shown below.

Select the server IP address as shown in the client and Connect. You can then control the remote antennas from the client at your QTH.  On the server the antenna settings are shown in the red numbers; the black numbers will be 0 showing that the server isn't commanding the antennas to point anywhere.  Note that the server will respond to the latest command. Therefore, if multiple commands are sent from different users the antennas will move back and forth between the two commands. Be sure to check the location of the a…

Remote control of the W2MMD Satellite Station

This is really cool...  Thanks to the contributions of K2QA and K2ZA we have the beginning of remote access to the W2MMD satellite station. There's a lot more to do, and use of the station requires the user to have almost all of the required software installed on their local computer, but for the true satellite experimenters this isn't a problem. This setup essentially lets the user use the antennas and radio at the W2MMD site, but everything else runs locally at their home QTH. For hams like me (WB2MNF) who are in HRO-restricted locations it's the best of both worlds.

Here's the overall concept - the remote user connects via VPN to the GCARC clubhouse network. The satellite computer needs to be running (can't remotely turn it on  - yet). The SDR Console program has a server component that must be running, and the user connects to that server from a local copy of SDR console and selects one of the radios attached to the W2MMD satellite computer (currently there'…