Category: RTL-SDR

Meteor M2-4 has not failed – it is still in the testing phase

Thank you to Robin OK9UWU who wanted to point out that the recently launched Russian Meteor M2-4 weather satellite has not failed. There have recently been rumors and videos being spread online claiming that the satellite has already failed as the LRPT and HRPT signals are currently offline.

However, the satellite is still in a testing phase and was only briefly transmitting images for a few days after launch. It is difficult to find official updates from Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, but Robin explains his thoughts on what is happening:

The satellite in question, Meteor-M N°2-4 did not fail. The reason for both the LRPT and HRPT transmitters to be off is that the primary instrument (MSU-MR) is currently undergoing a routine cleaning process to get the IR channels up and running correctly.

It's completely normal.

Other reason why it's off could be that they are testing the MeteoSAR instrument (2-4 is the first sat of this series to have this), hence why unnecessary radios might have been taken offline.

It's important to understand that these satellites are being used to do actual science, weather forecasting etc. They require careful testing and calibration which might take some time. It's not just for "cool imagery".

For example, it took months to get the VIIRS instrument running onboard of the NOAA-21 satellite.

Keep calm and nerdy!

spaceintel101.com's infographic about the Meteor M2-4 Launch
spaceintel101.com's infographic about the Meteor M2-4 Launch

Saveitforparts: Building a Satellite Antenna from an Emergency Blanket and a Rotator from an old Security Camera Mount

Over on his YouTube channel, 'saveitforpaarts' has uploaded two new videos. The first shows how he was able to build a very cheap satellite antenna for GOES satellites out of an umbrella and a metallic emergency blanket. The blanket is simply spread over the inside of the umbrella, creating an RF reflective surface. Then a linear feed with LNA and amplifier is placed at the feed point. The makeshift dish works, though the SNR is marginal, and he is only able to receive slightly corrupted images from GOES satellites.

Satellite Antenna Made From Emergency Blanket

In his second video saveitforparts builds a satellite dish rotator out of an old thrown away security camera pan/tilt mount. The mount is hacked to be controllable via an Arduino microcontroller. 

I Built A Cheap Satellite Tracking System From Spare Parts

IndiaRocketGirl Receives NOAA-19 Weather Satellite Images with a Tape Measure Yagi Antenna

Over on her YouTube channel IndiaRocketGirl (@VU3BIZ) has posted a video showing how she was able to receive weather satellite images from the polar orbiting NOAA-19 weather satellite at 137 MHz.

She uses a home made four element Yagi antenna with elements made from a tape measure. This allows the elements to be easily folded down for transportation. A phone running the Heaven's above app is used to help track the satellite in the sky as it passes over, and then SatDump and an RTL-SDR Blog V3 running on a laptop is used to decode the signal into an image.

IndiaRocketGirl notes that in her next video she will show how to make the Yagi antenna that she was using. In a previous post IndiaRocketGirl also showed how she was able to receive geostationary FengYun-2H S-VISSR signals.

How to Receive Real Time Images from Low Earth Orbit Satellites | India Rocket Girl | NOAA-19

KrakenSDR Radio Direction Finding Setup and Tutorial YouTube Video

Over on YouTube user Skyler F has posted a video showing him unboxing his KrakenSDR, and KrakenSDR antenna set, and then setting it up and taking it on a test to find the location of a cellular tower. In the video Skyler shows how to set up the antenna array using the paper spacers, how to connect the KrakenSDR to a Raspberry Pi, and how to configure the Android direction finding app.

If you weren't already aware, KrakenSDR is our 5-channel coherent radio based on RTL-SDRs, and it can be used for applications like radio direction finding. It can be purchased on Crowd Supply.

Kraken Radio Direction Finding Unit Setup Tutorial and Demo

Receiving SSTV From the Russian UmKA-1/RS40S Cubesat

YouTuber 'saveitforparts' was recently contacted by the ground controller of the Russian UmKA-1/RS40S cubesat asking if he'd like to try and receive an SSTV image from the satellite. UmKA-1/RS40S is a small educational satellite assembled by a Russian high school. Originally it was intended for a radio astronomy experiment, but due to technical issues it's been switched to the secondary ham radio mission only.

Saveitforparts uses an RTL-SDR, directional Yagu antenna, PC running the MMSSTV decoder, and Android phone running the Stellarium satellite tracking app. After a few failed attempts he was able to eventually successfully track and receive the SSTV image as well as some telemetry.

We note that the SSTV image appears to have been specifically scheduled for saveitforparts personally, so if you try to receive this satellite yourself you will probably only be able to receive the telemetry signal.

Receiving Targeted Message From Russian Satellite

SigintOS Version 2.0 Community Edition Released

SigintOS is an Ubuntu based distribution with a number of built in signal intelligence applications for software defined radios such as the RTL-SDR and TX capable SDRs like the HackRF, bladeRF and USRP radios.

The OS has a built in launcher UI that helps to automatically launch and set up parameters for various programs and GNU Radio scripts that are commonly used. Examples include an FM transmitter, GPS transmitter, GSM base station searcher, IMSI catcher, LTE base station searcher, LTE decoder and a jammer.

Recently the team behind SigintOS have released version 2.0 Community Edition. The team write on their release page:

About Community Edition

SigintOS 2.0 Community Edition; It was developed to provide a much better experience to its users. With a new interface, more stable and powerful infrastructure and development environment, it allows users to develop new tools in addition to existing tools.

Developing Signal Intelligence tools is now much easier with SigintOS™

It is now much easier to develop your own tools with SigintOS™, which contains the world’s most famous and free signal processing and communication software. You can develop them effortlessly with tools such as QT and KDevelop.

Say hello to the 5G World!

SigintOS™ offers you all the possibilities of the 5G world, free of charge and effortlessly!

Whats News?

  • A completely new look.
  • A more stable and robust infrastructure.
  • Latest drivers and software.
  • User-friendly interface that prioritizes habits.

SOFTWARE LIST

Most used software and features

  • Open5GS
  • srsRAN 4G
  • YateBTS
  • Gqrx
  • GnuRadio 3.8
  • SigDigger
  • SDRAngel
  • ADSB Viewer
  • Dump1090
  • OpenCPN
  • GPredict
  • BladeRF
  • HackRF
  • Rtl-SDR
  • USRP – UHD Drivers
  • Kalibrate RTL & HackRF
  • All Gr Modules
  • SigintOS SDR Hardware Monitor Widget
  • QTCreator
  • KDevelop
  • Mysql
  • MongoDB
  • Apache Web Server
  • Php
  • And more …

Meteor M2-4 Successfully Deployed to Orbit and now Transmitting Weather Images

The long awaited Russian Meteor M2-4 satellite was successfully launched on February 29, 2024 and is now in orbit, and is already transmitting images. If you are unfamiliar with them, Meteor M satellites are a class of Russian weather satellites that can be easily received with an RTL-SDR and appropriate satellite antenna. The easiest transmission to receive is around 137 MHz, and to receive this signal a simple V-Dipole or more advanced QFH antenna can be used. It also transmits in the L-band, and a small 60cm+ dish can be used to receive it with motorized or hand tracking.

The video below is an archived live stream of the launch.

LIVE: Roscosmos Meteor-M 2-4 and others Mission Launch | Soyuz 2.1b/Fregat-M

Prior Meteor M class satellites have typically been plagued with various issues, but so far the launch and deployment of M2-4 appears to have gone very smoothly. Reports are that the signal strength is excellent (much better than M2-3 with it's suspected antenna deployment fault) and images have been received clearly on both VHF and L-band.

TLE's and SatDump have been updated to support Meteor M2-4, so if you want to receive the satellite be sure to update to the latest code on Github.

Over on X, Scott Tilley has posted an image he received recently on both bands.

IndiaRocketGirl Receives FengYun-2H S-VISSR Satellite Images

Over on her YouTube channel IndiaRocketGirl has posted a video showing how she was able to build a satellite dish and feed to receive FengYun-2H S-VISSR signals and get beautiful full disk images of the earth.

In the US and other countries RTL-SDR fans will be familiar with how to receive images from the GOES geostationary weather satellite. However from countries like India most GOES satellites will not be visible. Fortunately there are alternative satellites like the Chinese FengYun-2H satellite which is visible from India. FengYun-2H is a geostationary satellite that sends down a S-VISSR signal containing full disk images of the earth.

In her video IndiaRocketGirl uses a 1.8 meter diameter antenna, a homemade helical feed, an LNA+filter and an RTL-SDR as her hardware. For software she uses SatDump.

How to receive Real Time Images from Geostationary Satellites..? | India Rocket Girl