Receiving the Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 with the RTL-SDR

Blogger gat3way has created a post on his blog showing how he was able to receive the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 with the RTL-SDR and a simple cantenna antenna.

The Tiangong-1 station transmits a signal at 2232.15 MHz. To get this signal into a range receivable by the RTL-SDR gat3way used a LNB (Low Noise Block) to downconvert the frequency into one that the RTL-SDR can receive. Using this setup he was able to get a decent signal copy.

Cantenna setup for receiving the Tiangong-1 Chinese Space Station
Cantenna setup for receiving the Tiangong-1 Chinese Space Station
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…obviously a little “spit n balin wire” can go a long way, well done. So -what did the Chinese say?


No, it’s not. TT&C downlink from Tiangong 1 is rather strong and it is easy to receive even with such primitive antenna. Same goes for lots of LEO satellites, some have powerful transmitters and signal can be received easily. I wouldn’t recommend an omni antenna for receiving Tiangong though, while it would be probably sufficient to copy the signal, it would get lots of interference from nearby wifi routers and microwave ovens.

P.S this is my current setup:

With a directional antenna like that mesh dish it is easy to receive most of the LEO sats that have downlinks in the s-band as well as beacons from GPS sats at 2227.5 mhz, much stronger as compared to the tin can antenna, yet without steering it can be rather hard to point at and track.


sorry but this seems like an april fools day post to me…