Although this isn’t directly SDR related, this story may still be of interest to some readers. The Outernet project have just put on sale their first receiver which is called the Lighthouse. The standard Lighthouse consists of custom hardware, but there is also a DIY option in the store which consists of a HDStar DVB-S2 receiver board and a Raspberry Pi with custom software. You also need a satellite dish antenna and LNB which can be bought from their store, or found locally.
The Outernet project aims to be a “library in the sky” satellite based service that will provide free one-way access to daily downloads of data such as books, news, videos and other information. Its goal is to provide people who may not have easy physical or uncensored access to the internet an easy way to access daily information.
The currently available Outernet services cover almost the entire globe and use Ku-band (12 – 18 GHz) and C-band (4 – 8 GHz) geostationary satellite links, which is what the Lighthouse is capable of receiving when used with an appropriate dish antenna (the Ku-band service requires a 90cm dish, while the C-band service requires a much larger dish). The Lighthouse receives data from the satellites and then allows users to view the downloaded data by connecting to it via a WiFi enabled device such as a PC or smartphone. They currently broadcast 1 GB of data per day to most of the world, and 100 GB per day to sub-saharan African countries.
In the future Outernet is hoping to release their “Lantern” receiver, of which one prototype is based on a modified RTL-SDR design. The Lantern will receive their upcoming L-band (1-2 GHz) transmissions which will only require a small patch antenna and LNA’s to receive. A standard RTL-SDR with appropriate antenna and LNA’s should also be capable of receiving this service when it is released.