RTL-SDR Tutorial: Receiving NOAA Weather Satellite Images

Everyday multiple NOAA weather satellites pass above you. Each NOAA weather satellite broadcasts an Automatic Picture Transmission (APT) signal, which contains a live weather image of your area. The RTL-SDR dongle combined with a good antenna, SDRSharp and a decoding program can be used to download and display these live images several times a day.

This tutorial will show you how to set up a NOAA weather satellite receiving station, which will allow you to gather several live weather satellite images each day. Most parts of this tutorial are also applicable to other software radios, such as the Funcube dongle and HackRF and Airspy, but the RTL-SDR is the cheapest option. Hardware radio scanners can also work, provided the radio has a large IF bandwidth (30 kHz +) and a discriminator tap.

Note that if you have success with this tutorial, you may also be interested in decoding Meteor M N2 weather satellites which provide much higher resolution images. Also, an alternative tutorial for decoding NOAA satellites that uses rtl_fm can be found here.

NOAA Weather Satellite Image


YouTube user GaitUutLiern shows an example of receiving NOAA satellite weather images with a RTL-SDR, SDRSharp, a decoding program called WXtoImg and a QFH antenna.

Receiving NOAA weather satellite using SDR# and WXtoImg

Here, YouTube user themrworf1701 shows a video tutorial on how he set up his weather satellite receive station. He used a RTL-SDR with SDRSharp, WXtoImg, a QFH antenna and also an LNA.

Requirements and Setup

To set up a NOAA weather satellite receive station you will need:

  1. An RTL-SDR dongle working with SDRSharp. (Or other more advanced SDRs such an Airspy)
  2. An audio piping method (e.g. VBCable, Virtual Audio Cable or Stereo Mix)
  3. A right hand circularly polarized antenna tuned to 137 MHz.
  4. Software such as WXtoImg for decoding the APT signal.
  5. An LNA (Optional).

June 2018 Broken WXtoImg Links Update: Note that at the time of this update the WXtoImg website is down, and may never come back as it appears to have been abandoned. The Windows version and some Linux versions of WXtoImg can still be downloaded from archive.org.

July 2018 Broken WXtoImg Links Update: A fan has put together a clone of the WXtoImg website which contains most download links. It is available at wxtoimgrestored.xyz. NOTE: In 2022 this site has begun getting flagged by antivirus programs as 'risky', and may be missing SSL certs. We suspect this is just a false positive, but we cannot guarantee what happens on third party sites. So it may be safer to download from the above archive.org links if they have the file you need.

We will assume you have the RTL-SDR dongle set up and working already. If you have not bought a dongle yet, see the Buy RTL-SDR page for information and the check out the Quickstart Guide for an easy setup routine with SDRSharp. You will also need to have an audio piping method installed and set up. Audio piping will allow the audio from SDRSharp to be passed to a decoding program. You can use either windows stereo mixVB-cable (free) or virtual audio cable (paid with trial version).

NOAA Weather Satellite Antennas

The NOAA APT weather satellites broadcast their signal at about 137 MHz, and their signals are also right hand circularly polarized (RHCP), which means you will need a right hand circularly polarized antenna to properly receive the signals. Satellite antennas are also designed to receive best from signals coming from the sky. Three options for easy home made circularly polarized satellite antennas are presented below.

Turnstile Antenna

A turnstile antenna is a circularly polarized antenna. It can be built in two modes, normal and axial. For satellite reception we want it in axial mode.

A page showing a turnstile antenna for 137 MHz is here.


Quadrifilar Helix (QFH) Antenna

A Quadrifilar Helix (QFH) is a circularly polarized antenna that can be constructed out of PVC pipe and coax cable. Most people report that the QFH antenna has slightly superior reception compared to the turnstile.

If you are into antenna theory, a good technical paper on the QFH (called QHA in the paper) can be found here.

A tutorial on building a QFH out of coax cable and PVC pipe can be found here. Another home brew QFH antenna constructed out of copper wire is here. Also, a good calculator for determining QFH antenna dimensions for 137 MHz can be found here.

QFH Antenna


Recently it was discovered by 9A4QV Adam that a simple dipole arranged into a 'Vee' shape placed horizontally makes an excellent and extremely simple weather satellite antenna. This is probably the easiest beginners antenna to build as it only consists of two wires and some coaxial cable.

More details about this antenna can be found on this post. In addition from this others have been using simple TV 'bunny ear' antennas for the same purpose, for example see this post.

Double Cross Antenna (DCA)

Another antenna that works well with the NOAA APT satellites is the double cross antenna (DCA). It is basically four dipoles arranged in a certain way to produce circular polarization.

A good guide on DCA antennas, and constructing them can be found in this pdf guide by Gerald Martes (KD6JDJ).

Double Cross Antenna

Yagi antennas can also work, but since they are so directional you will need to carefully track the satellite by hand, or by using a rotor controller. Although not designed for satellite reception, you may also see limited success with other antennas such as quarter wave ground planes and discones, but you will probably discover that the signal will fade in and out.

Software Tutorial

The NOAA satellites only pass overhead at certain times of the day, broadcasting a signal. These signals appear at around ~137 MHz, and only when a satellite is passing overhead. Each satellite has a different frequency. Currently only NOAA satellites 15, 18 and 19 are operational, their frequencies are shown below.

  • NOAA 15 - 137.6200 MHz
  • NOAA 18 - 137.9125 MHz
  • NOAA 19 - 137.1000 MHz

An example of a NOAA APT weather satellite signal is shown zoomed in and out on the frequency spectrum directly below and an example audio file of the signal is shown further below.

APT Signal Zoomed in
APT Signal Zoomed in
APT Signal Zoomed Out
APT Signal Zoomed Out

WXtoImg Tutorial

WXtoImg is a free weather satellite decoding program which can decode the APT signal, and also tell you the times and frequencies of the NOAA satellites passing overhead. There is also a paid version of WXtoImg which can unlock more features, however it is not required for use with RTL-SDR. To use WXtoImg and SDRSharp together follow the instructions below.

  1. First, download and install WXtoImg from their homepage here.
  1. Next open WXtoImg, and then set your Ground Station Location, (which is the coordinates of your antenna) by going to Options -> Ground Station Location. The city you are in should suffice, but you can be more accurate by entering in an exact latitude and longitude if you want.

Choose Ground Station Location

  1. In WXtoImg set your audio piping method which you have chosen. To do this go to Options -> Recording Options, and ensure the correct device is selected under the soundcard option.Also, here you can adjust the "Record only when active APT satellites are overhead" "with maximum elevation above (degrees)" and "record only when satellite is above (degrees)" settings. You may want to reduce the default values if you have an antenna with a good view of the sky and find that WXtoImg stops recording or doesn't start fast enough even though the APT signal is present in SDRSharp.

WXtoImg Recording Options

  1. Now you will need to update your Kepler files. These files contain the information about satellite locations. They need to be periodically updated, because satellites drift in their orbit over time. Go to File -> Update Keplers to do this. Make sure you have an internet connection for the update.
  1. Now you can go to File -> Satellite Pass List, and find a time when a satellite will be passing overhead. Take note of the frequency as well.

Satellite Pass List

  1. When the time comes for the satellite to appear, open WXtoImg, and then go to File->Record, and click on Auto Record. The recording and decoding will begin when the satellite appears on your horizon, and stop when it goes out of view according to the times in the satellite pass list.

WXtoImg Record Screen

  1. Open SDRSharp select the audio piping method you are using under the Audio Output drop down box and then tune to the frequency that the satellite will be broadcasting at. Adjust the gain settings in SDRSharp under the Configure button so that you get good reception of the signal. Set the receive mode to WFM, filter bandwidth to 34 kHz and Filter Audio set to OFF. It may also be useful to ensure Snap to Grid is unchecked.
  1. As the RTL-SDR is not frequency accurate, and also due to the Doppler effect, the signal may not be at the exact frequency it should be at. Just adjust the frequency in SDRSharp until it is centered on the satellite signal. You may also increase the filter bandwidth beyond 34 kHz if there are no nearby interfering signals to cover the entire travel of the signal.
  1. Adjust the volume in SDRSharp and/or Windows volume settings so that the volume bar in the bottom right hand corner of WXtoImg shows a green color.

WXtoImg Volume

WXtoImg should now be decoding and showing the weather satellite image as it is received. You may need to periodically adjust the frequency to center the signal as the Doppler effect will cause it to move. But, with the RTL-SDR adjusting for the Doppler shift is not critical as the filter bandwidth can be simply set larger than 34 kHz (try 36 -40 kHz) so that it is large enough to receive the entire signal even as it as it shifts.

Once the image has been fully received, you can play with the options under the Enhancements and Projection menu in order to add false color and enhance the received image.

Orbitron Tutorial

It is not entirely necessary for these NOAA satellites, but if you want the Doppler effect to be automatically adjusted for in SDRSharp or you want to automatically record all satellite passes then you can use free a program called Orbitron, which with the aid of a plugin, will interface with SDRSharp.

  1. Download and install Orbiton from their website here.
  1. Download the SDR# Orbitron DDE tracking and scheduler plugin from here.
  1. Extract all the plugin files to the SDR# directory. With notepad or another text editor open Plugins.xml. Within the <sharpPlugins> </sharpPlugins> tags add the line <add key="DDE Tracking Client" value="SDRSharp.DDETracker.DdeTrackingPlugin,SDRSharp.DDETracker" /> at the end.
  1. Open Orbitron in Administrator Mode (if in Windows Vista/7/8), by right clicking it, and selecting Run as Administrator. Orbitron may open in full screen mode. Press Alt+Enter to exit full screen if you wish.You will probably be initially presented with a TLE file update screen. You can leave all the boxes as default. Click on the update button, which is the icon with a globe and lightning bolt. Orbitron will download the new TLE files. The TLE files contain the satellite orbit information, and will need to be periodically updated every few days. Running Orbitron in Administrator mode is important, as otherwise the updated TLE files will not be saved.


  1. In order to have Orbitron accurately track the satellites it is important that your Windows PC time is accurate. Orbitron comes with a method to synchronize your PC time to the NTP servers, which provide accurate time. In the setup screen click on the Time Synch tab, and click on the Synchronize PC clock button (looks like a lightning bolt) to automatically synchronize the time. You may also wish to select the Synchronize PC clock when Orbitron starts checkbox if your PC is always connected to the internet.
  1. Close Orbiton. Now open Notepad in Administrator mode, by right clicking its shortcut in the Start Menu, and clicking on Run as Administrator.
  1. In Notepad, go to File->Open, and browse to your Orbitron\Config folder. The full path is probably probably installed in “Program Files (x86)\Orbitron\Config”. Open Setup.cfg.
  1. At the bottom of the Setup.cfg text file, add these two lines, making note that you should specify the path to your own local install of SDR#. Here we assume you’ve installed SDR# to C:\sdrsharp.


  1. Now open Orbitron and in the main tab set the refresh interval to 1 second. This is the drop down box in the lower right of the panel.
  1. Set your home location by clicking the location tab on the bottom. You can select your city on the right side if you don’t know your exact longitude and latitude.

Orbitron Choose Location

  1. Next click on Load TLE and load the noaa.txt file, or the file for whatever other satellite you are interested in tracking.

Orbitron Load NOAA TLE

  1. For NOAA weather satellite images we are interested in NOAA satellites 15, 18 and 19, as they are the only satellites working, so place a check next to those. Double clicking on a satellite name will select it and show it in the map window.
  1. For each satellite enter the correct downlink frequency under Dnlink/MHz, e.g. for NOAA 15 enter 137.62 MHz. The corrected doppler frequency will be automatically calculated.
  1. Go to the Main Tab in Orbitron and click on the Setup button (looks like a crossed hammer and spanner).
  1. Go to the Miscellaneous tab and ensure that AOS Notification: Show Notice is selected, with the elevation set to 0. (Increase the elevation if you only want to start tuning to the frequency when the satellite is higher in the sky and thus gives you better reception).
  1. Go to the Extra tab and ensure that “AOS Notification: Make satellite” active is checked.
  1. In SDR# ensure you have set the PPM offset correction properly and then press Play and go to the Tracking DDE Client plugin. Click on the Config button.
  1. Here we need to set up the scheduler instructions. First enter the name of the satellite you want to track in the Satellite name text box, making sure to replace any spaces in the name with underscores. For example if you wanted to track NOAA 15, then you’d set the Satellite name to NOAA_15.
  1. When a satellite comes into view the scheduler will automatically run the commands written in the AOS text box in the scheduler. When it leaves view it will run the commands in the LOS box. Under AOS using the available commands and the two left arrow buttons (<<) add the commands “radio_modulation_type<WFM>”, “radio_bandwidth_Hz<38000>” and “radio_tracking_frequency_On” to the top AOS box with each command on a seperate line. Also add the command “radio_tracking_frequency_Off” to the bottom LOS box. This will ensure that the correct modulation and bandwidth is automatically set as well as tuning the frequency to the Receiver/doppler frequency specified by Orbitron. Close the Scheduler configuration box.


  1. Next ensure that the scheduler is enabled by checking the Scheduler box in the plugin.
  1. Now back in Orbitron go to the Rotor/Radio tab, and set the “Dnlink” mode to FM-W and the Driver to SDRSharp. Click the icon with two windows next to the Driver drop down box and make sure it is pressed in. If a box pops up saying it could not find the driver then you may have specified the path in step 8 incorrectly. Click Yes and then select the SDRSharpDriverDDE.exe file in the SDR# folder.
  1. In SDR# the Tracking DDE Client plugin should now show that Orbitron is connected and information about the currently selected satellite in Orbitron will show in the plugin. When a satellite appears overhead the frequency will immediately snap to the doppler frequency specified by Orbitron.


  1. Finally, if desired WXtoImg can be made to automatically output a live webpage of the latest weather satellite images. This option can be found in WXtoImg under Options->Auto Processing Options->Web Page Settings.

Some Tips

  • An LNA such as this or this may improve signal reception, especially if you run a long coax feed line from the antenna to the dongle.
  • Ensure that your antenna has a good unobstructed view of the sky.
  • You probably won't get very good results without a proper satellite antenna such as a QFH or turnstile.

If you enjoyed this tutorial you may like our ebook available on Amazon.

The Hobbyist's Guide to the RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined radio.

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Art Lawing

So far it’s very good. I need a frequency list to tune in various frequencies such as weather channels.


antenna needs to be tuned for 137.500 mhz. xm is
above 2000.0. 137.5 is just above fm radio so the antenna would be a lil smaller. xm antenna fits in your hand. the lower the frequency the bigger the antenna.


antenna needs to be tuned for 137.500 mhz. xm is
above 2000.0. 137.5 is just above fm radio so the antenna would be a lil smaller. xm antenna fits in your hand. the lower the frequency the bigger the antenna .

Larry Lyon

I have a few old XM satellite radio antennas. Can I use them to pick up satellite signals on my SDR?


wxtoimg website seems to be off the air

Jeff Burris

this one’s okay right now… it was down for a while once before


You may have trouble when updating the keplers since some of the satellites have stopped operating. As of 2022 turning off satellite 17 in somewhere like options> active satellites will solve this problem.

Jeff Burris

Thanks so much. Everything is updating now, between pouring through settings once again and also a server appeared to be very temporarily unavailable.

Simon Austin

Been using wxtoimg for a while, it’s been absolutely fine.

Had to re-install from scratch, now I’m getting http 1.1/301 resource moved every time I try to update the Keplers.

I’ve removed NOAA17 and updated all the frequencies, it refuses to download the Keplers.

Any clues?

Alan Robertson

Same issue – looks like the website http://www.celestrak.com has moved the link. You can manually do it in Linux:

wget https://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/weather.txt -O /usr/local/lib/wx/tle/weather.txt

Check the path yours may be different

Rob chan

Yes, something changed on celestrak and wxtoimg will not pull keplers anymore.

Someone made work around so you don’t need to type that command line thing in everytime, on windows it uses powershell.

More details here: https://usradioguy.com/wxtoimg-kepler-fix/

As well, my wxtoimg will not display TODAYS passes, you must wind the date back 1 day or 2 days on a win10 computer for it to generate TODAYS passes. Super annoying, but hey the program is never going to get fixed right …

Jeff Burris

I am using Orbitron, with access authorized to internet and it seems to update both itself and TLE’s. I Loaded and updated the NOAA TLE. There is no NOAA 19, and when I select NOAA 15 and 18 and predict (to 30 degrees) from Torun in Europe, I get plenty of passes. But when I select my home of Tampa, FL and choose it and it appears on the map instead of Torun, there are no predictions after it runs. And this seems to make sense when you look at trajectories coming nowhere near me in 10 days at least. I am confused.
Thank you

Jeff Burris

Update — well I see it coming closer to me now but no passes will load for me in Predictions like they will for Torun Poland. I change to there and get loads of passes 30 degrees or above. But Tampa, FL nothing. And it shows Tampa right where it should be.

Jeff Burris

Well I’m getting passes to load now but only if I decrease elevation lower to like 15 degrees… nothing NOAA 15 or 18 passes 30 degrees or higher that seems nuts and I still get no NOAA 19 in updated Orbitron NOAA TLE

Jeff Burris

The updater source was down and came back up now I’ve got NOAA 19

Björn Kerman

I can’t find the SDRSharp driver in step 21 in the drop down menue. What did I wrong?


HELP – I am getting no signal from any satellite. I am using a V Dipole (made out of metal pipes), an NESDR mini and 50 ohm coaxial cable (with 2 junctions to change to different connectors). I am using CubicSDR with WXtoImg (connected by VB Audio virtual cable). Does anyone know why i am not getting a signal and what the fix is? I live in the uk and I have tried on as many satellite passes (found using wxtoimg) as I can. Thanks in advance.


Most likely it would be in the antenna system if you are hearing nothing. Check to make sure you didn’t accidentally short the antenna somewhere. With an ohm meter you should have open between center conductor and shield. You should be able to hear the satellite chirping and then it’s a process of getting the software to co-operate.

Kumarasiri lekamge

I followed the instruction in your tutorial and could receive noaa sat image and it was very interesting .suddenly WXtoimg failed to process the incoming signal and only a dark screen being loading. Then I noticed that volume bar in WXtoimg is red and the level is only 7%.I think this must be the case but have no idea to rectify it.I tried sound setting of the windows also but no improvement. I have increased sdrsharp volume to max.If anyone has any idea about this,Please help me. Thanks.

Richard Rojas

I have problems with synchronizing orbitron with sdrshap, I follow the tutorial but I have no success so you could help me, also I want to leave all my cpu on all the steps of the satellite how could I do this?


I have an issues with WXtoimg. It use to work perfectly, The images it creats now are badly “jagged”. I have tried recalibrating and everything. Its driving me nuts! Any help would be great!

James Kitching

I have the same problem sometimes… I think there is an option in one of the menus that is something like “slant correction” or something. Worth a try at least

Theodore Thompson

Had trouble getting this to work with SDR# v1.0.0.1583 – the solution was to run SDR# “as administrator” too. You might want to amend the tutorial to advise that. (Note it’s SDR# that ALSO needs to be run as admin)


Thank you!


Your DCA (double cross antenna) is actually called a Lindenblad antenna (look it up on Google).

Brian Richard

I’ve been having trouble with the WXtoIMG software recently. The upgrade keys are listed on the WXtoIMG website, and I’ve been using them successfully for the last few months. Within the last week when I start the application it starts as the Freeware edition and will not allow me to enter one of the upgrade keys.

Has anyone else had a similar issue and know what’s going on?

Lloyd Milligan (WA4EFS)

I wonder if anyone might have a suggestion regarding the following problem. The connection between Orbitron and SDR# is working, as evidenced by correctly updating display values in the Tracking DDE Client option in SDR# (frequency, elevation, etc.). However, the SDR# frequency does not actually change. Frequency information from Orbitron is being received in SDR# but SDR#’s frequency remains fixed.

Darryl Dunkin

Lloyd, The best indicator of everything connected properly is in SDR#, it should report as active “Active NOAA_18” in red text when it’s actively tracking the signal.

You will need to make sure that you have, at a minimum, entered the two tracking commands, for a satellite matching the name of the one you are tracking: radio_tracking_frequency_On/radio_tracking_frequency_Off

The name in Tracking DDE Client also must match what you are receiving from Orbitron, with underscores for the spaces. I keep a generic entry I rename, then I save these plus other commands when I have specific settings to use for a single satellite.

Once the scheduler is enabled, and the satellite is in sight, be sure that the WiSP DDE Client window is left open after it pops up in Orbitron. If this is closed SDR# may still report Orbitron being connected.

Darryl Dunkin

It actually seems you can use a wildcard/asterisk to define ‘any satellite’.

Lloyd Milligan (WA4EFS)

Darryl, Thank you for your informative reply. First, the red colored text _does_ appear in the SDR# Tracking DDE plug-in as it should. In this text, satellite names have a suffix, e.g. Active NOAA_19_[+] I’ve tried both including and excluding the suffix in the Scheduler entry name, and also after reading your reply, I tried * as a satellite name. The Scheduler checkbox is checked, but no satellite commands are reached / executed. To test this in another way I including the start_program_Path command to run an indicator program if the command was reached (the program did not run). I think your very last comment must be the key. You say to be sure that the WiSP DDE Client window is left open after it pops up in Orbitron. Nothing pops up in Orbitron! The rotor/radio tab displays dynamic data and this same data is reflected in the SDR# tracking plug-in, but there is no popup in Orbitron. Could that be the missing piece?

Lloyd Milligan (WA4EFS)

Got it… Substituted a NooElec RTL dongle for SDRPlay and SDR# now tracks frequency. Evidently, the frequency tracking feature is not compatible with SDRPlay. Thanks again!


Guys, I have a simple question about the construction of a coax QFH.
Shoul I connect the core and braid of the coax loops together so that both act as conductors, or should I use only the braid, since it’s diameter is closer to the outer diameter of the coax cable?


So I was looking for something that can decode the signals.. Thanks for the information. I hope it works for me.


I think the antenna think is really overstated. If the satellite is going directly overhead, you can use simpler antennas to receive the signal no problem. I used an umbrella and got really good results.


Construi una antena Quadrifilar por segunda vez y lo cierto es que si bien detecto señal la pantalla es todo ruido con cierto patron en el cual no se ve nada ni datos de telemetria ni nada.
Uso el SDRSharp, WXtoIMG, Orbitron y USB RTL-SDR 820T2
No he encontrado en Internet ningun error similar no se si es problema de la antena o del receptor.
Saludos desde Montevideo

Robert, VA3ROM


I’ve made a few changes to my NOAA RTL SDR APT receiving system. I’ve changed the feed line to RG6/U quad-shield as the run of USB cable picked up too much noise. RG6/U quad has 100% shielding along the 15 m run to reduce RFI. I use from either my home-based Wrasse KX-137P turnstile antenna or my home-made portable field version of the same. I’m also using an older version of SDR# (.1333) which is compatible with XP (dotNET 3.5) and have salvaged several “ancient” single-core, 1 Mb, Pentium M XP laptops ($25 each) for APT receiving systems. While they are too slow to decode LRPT, they do a fine job for APT (dual-core is the minimum for LRPT) using WxtoImg decoding software (processing is on the slow side, about 15 minutes, but adequate for hobbyist use).

Given the lifespan of the APT birds exceeding all expectations with NOAA actively keeping them in excellent operational status they should be around for another 5 years (or more) barring any major failures. By that time there should be several LRPT birds transmitting in the 137 MHz frequency range to replace them.


Robert, VA3ROM

Great tutorial! Just a couple of minor issues. You forgot to add the path for Orbitron to find SDRSharp.exe
so the line should look like (using my example of where I put SDRSharp in a C:\SDR# root directory)”


And you forgot to mention that the Orbitron Setup.cfg file is located in Orbitron > Config.

Less computer savvy users may have problems.

Orbitron will also lauch a copy of SDRSharp when you click on the ‘Run selected driver…’ button from Orbitron, so you need to watch out for this and let Orbitron load SDRSharp (already configured for satellite tracking).

As for the comments about right-hand circular polarity, that is transmitted using a helical or “cork-screw” antenna with a right-hand twist. The very slow rotation of the satellite itself causes the signal fade which is because of Faraday rotation as the signal comes through the ionosphere which may or may not be right or left-handed (it’s usually random) and at times will reduce the signal and sometimes increase the signal. I usually find that there a two deep fades for several seconds during any APT satellite pass that several minutes apart.

I use a homemade Turnstile antenna with the USB RTL-SDR dongle right at the feedpoint (1 m run of RG58 coax with BNC adapter to IEC adapter to dongle. Then a 30m run of USB repeater cable (these have built-in voltage amplifiers) back to the computer which eliminates line loss and the need for an LNA since the USB cable has very little voltage loss/drop because of the amplifiers. Saves on need to run heliax or LMR400 and the LNA which adds up to a lot of $$$.

Robert, VA3ROM


I have set and reset the drivers comment in the config file. I have rebooted and reset permissions everywhere I can think of and nothing is working. Orbitron still does not recognize SDR# as a driver. In addition, SDR# is not recognizing the lines added to the plugin.xml file. Both programs are located in the c:/program files (x86)/ directory.


Paul, you CANNOT put SDR# in the program files (x86) directory, it must live in the root directory, ie c:\SDR#. It will then work properly.


Robert, thanks for the info re the missing line under drivers. I was getting the msg in sdr# that orbitron was not connected. Adding the line fixes that.

The Lightning Stalker

Your statement about the rotation of satellites causing the circular polarization is incorrect. It would need to be rotating at nearly the speed of light to do that. It is actually caused by the ionosphere as the signals pass through.


No, that’s incorrect too. The circular polarization of the signals is a result of the quadrature excitation of two orthogonal elements in the antenna, as described in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_polarization .


Why can’t I get ANY signal with rtl2832u+fc0013? Receiving airbands clearly shows that tv dongle works fine. There’s not even a trace of signal.


It is most likely your antenna or lack thereof.
You must use a sat friendly antenna such as a turnstile, QFH, eggbeater or equivalent.
If you don’t have a decent antenna tuned to 137Mhz you wont get anything.
Discones are hit and miss as well, mostly miss. Goot for terrestrial listening but sats need an antenna that is truly omnidirectional to work unless you are using a motorized tracking setup and a yagi, or doing the same by hand. But even a yagi has high losses due to polarization made up for by the antenna’s directional gain somewhat.


I can get images from all the world or only from some parts of world? because i live in Chile and i don’t know if this works for me.


Hello, I am trying to configure Orbitron, and I already made the appropriate changes to Setup.cfg. However I’m still not seeing SDRSharp as a driver option in Rotor/Radio. Anybody else ever see this?


I’m having the exact same issue. Also the Sat plugin doesn’t appear in SDR# either.


I’m having the same issue with both programs. SDR# is not recognizing the line added to it’s xml file and orbitron isn’t recognizing the addition to it’s config. I’m getting no error messages other than a quick flash on the bottom of the screen saying there is a read/write error. Is there another permissions issue for the two programs? I have loaded both in the c:/program files (x86) directory.

Kuba Pociejewski

Matt, Jon, Paul – If after three years this tribulation still troubles you, worry not my friends, I’ve found a solution! 😉 (not that i’ve been actively looking for one for three years, just recently had the very same problem;)
I assume that as myself you were copypasting this line from this page, and maybe just changing the path to your own install.
After some scrutiny i’ve noticed that quotation marks in newly added line differs from others. Not an expert in this field, but it seem that the site uses different way of coding text than notepad, and it causes the problem.
So: quota of quoted quotation mark looking like this ” (should i put quotation mark in quotation mark?) should be replaced by quotation mark looking like this “. In other words just replace quotation marks from new line with the ones from previous lines. At least works for me.
Have fun and sorry for childish wordplay, just had to.;)

Kuba Pociejewski

EDIT: quotation marks in new line should look like all previous ones in plugins file. I’ve noticed the one i’ve posted as correct is displayed differently than it should look like.


I can’t seem to get the satellite plugin to install on sdr# it just tells me there is an error and bypasses it to start sdr#. Any ideas anyone I followed the above tutorial and the install instructions that come with the plugin

Kuba Pociejewski

Les, admin:
If still relevant for anyone, as i wrote in comment above it could be the case of different text coding with this site and with notepad, namely different quotation marks. If some lazy ass (like me) have copied to notepad line provided by this page () and then just changed the path to his/hers own install then quotation marks in newly added line differ from old ones and it causes conflict. It just need to replace new quotation marks with ones from previous lines or to retype the new line manually and it should work allright.


Actually , the spin comes from the transmitting antenna, just as a vertical transmitting antenna is best received with a vertical receiving one, the helical antennas also come in two versions Left Hand & Right Hand depending which way they twist.


Great tutorial! I was amazed to this article that shares a lot of idea when it comes to satellite imagery. It is inevitable how satellite imagery is being used in a lot of way and how it helps us with our concerns. Great work!

Mark B.

An amplified TV antenna works brilliant also.
If you are too lazy, try it!


Is there any audio piping program for a 64-bit Linux OS? Thanks!


Thank you!

Ian Marcinkowski

Thanks for the link. Looking at this thread I should probably write some more detailed tutorials on piping audio around using pulseaudio.

Simon Jansen

Thanks for the great tutorial! I managed to get my station setup and receiving images after a bit of fiddling. There is an extra step you can do to make the receiving fully automatic rather than manually having to set the active satellite.

The DDE link will send the new frequency information to SDR# any time the active satellite changes. In Orbitron if you go to the setting page the very last setting on the Extra tab allows you to change the active satellite automatically when the satellite comes into view. This is based on the AOS settings (on the previous Miscellaneous tab). You can then select all the NOAA satellites and leave WXToImg to auto record. When each satellite comes into view Orbitron will update SDR# to the correct frequency.

I described what I did here: http://www.asciimation.co.nz/bb/2014/03/19/using-rtl-sdr-to-automatically-receive-weather-satellite-images



thank you so much for the tutorial and MUCH thanks to the gurus who make it possible!
vy 73 de Frank K2NCC in Oregon


S.H. Sanaeinejad

How much does it cost the complete set including antenna and software?

Alcides D

Hola; me podrían ayudar yo compre el RTL-SDR usb por lo que tengo problema al grabar en mi PC ya que con mi notebook se puede grabar sin problema sonido de satelite NOAA será por la placa de video o solo anda para notebook , gracias


Fijate como tienes la configuracion de la placa de sonido en la pc y en la notebook, seguramente tienes algo mal seteado en la pc microfono o line in (linea de entrada)


Construi una antena Quadrifilar por segunda vez y lo cierto es que si bien detecto señal la pantalla es todo ruido con cierto patron en el cual no se ve nada ni datos de telemetria ni nada.
Uso el SDRSharp, WXtoIMG, Orbitron y USB RTL-SDR 820T2
No he encontrado en Internet ningun error similar no se si es problema de la antena o del receptor.
Saludos desde Montevideo


Usa un NOOA Satellite tracker para que intentes cuando el satélite esté justo encima de ti. Deberás obtener buen resultado ))


Construi una antena Quadrifilar por segunda vez y lo cierto es que si bien detecto señal la pantalla es todo ruido con cierto patron en el cual no se ve nada ni datos de telemetria ni nada.
Uso el SDRSharp, WXtoIMG, Orbitron y USB RTL-SDR 820T2
No he encontrado en Internet ningun error similar no se si es problema de la antena o del receptor.
Saludos desde Montevideo