Why? Why not!
Surfing through the internet I found a video out of a few students building an antenna from wood and rod and successfully receiving weather images from satellites. I was surprised that it is even possible to receive data from weather satellites with cheap and easily accessible hardware.
So after I talked to a few friends, we decided to build our own antenna. We started researching, planning and ordering all needed parts.
We decided to build a double cross dipole antenna. You can fairly cheap build one for around 20 Euro made out of wood and aluminium.
– 1* ~219cm long roof lath
– 2* ~52cm roof lath (for the cross)
– 4* short wood parts for attaching the tube
– 8* 54,7 cm aluminium rod (1/4 wavelength of 137mhz)
– 5m coaxial Cable 50ohm
++ solder station, screws, saw,… duck Tape!
Filter + Amplifier
For improving our signal quality we solder a band pass filter and used an low noise amplifier from amazon (probably not the best one, but the fastest to arrive). We’ve packed it into an aluminium case to reduce external noise.
link to the DIY band pass filter:
link to an better LNA:
For receiving the signal a cheap and good solution seems to be the “RTL-SDR Blog V3 R820T2 RTL2832U” for around 20€.
It is easy to install and works great in combination with SDRSharp.
For converting the signal into useable raw data we are using the Meteor Demodulator Plugin for SDRSharp.
The SDRSharp Version 1619 seems to work the best, newer versions are not longer compatible with the Plugin.
Afterwards we were able to convert the raw data into an image with the LRPToffLineDecoder.
Software + Info
– Check at which time the satellite will pass with Orbitron
– Find a good spot without high buildings around you
– Connect your antenna to the SDR
– Start SDRSharp , select as input the driver for your SDR (you may need to optimize the SDR amplification), set radio to WFM
– Tune to 137,1 mhz or 137,9mhz (currently the satellite is sending on 137,9mhz)
– Enable the demodulator.
After the satellite has passed (up to 15 minutes depending on the altitude) you can convert the file written from the Demodulator with LRPToffLineDecoder and rectify it with “Smooth Meteor”
– Radio signal disturb and overdrive the SDR (changing the driver may help + reducing the SDR internal amplifier)
– NOAA Satellite passing closely to the Meteor and disturbing the data
– Sometimes the Meteor Satellite is only sending empty data, the signal then looks jagged. (you will know what I mean when you see it)
Lukas, Yannick, Matthis, Jakob, Laura