Just a note that our RTL-SDR Blog V3 units and antennas are now back in stock at Amazon.com with local US stock. There were a few manufacturing and shipping delays related to COVID-19 so they had been out of stock for a couple of months. Currently they are being fulfilled via our partners based in Chicago, and all orders will ship out within 2-business days via USPS First Class. We will look at replenishing the the Amazon Prime warehouses in a few weeks and at the moment we are only shipping to US customers from Amazon. US customers can also order directly from our store at www.rtl-sdr.com/store and this will result in the shipping fee being waived.
If you are based elsewhere in the world, please order directly from our store at www.rtl-sdr.com/store which ships non-US orders direct from our warehouse in China. Alternatively some countries might benefit from our Aliexpress store, which can now utilize the reliable Aliexpress Standard Shipping line.
Our RTL-SDR Blog V3 is an improved RTL-SDR dongle. It includes features like a TCXO, SMA port, software switchable bias tee, built in HF direct sampling mod, aluminum enclosure, improved ESD protection, improved cooling via thermal pad and many other design improvements. The kit comes with a multipurpose dipole antenna which is extremely versatile. It can be used as a standard vertical dipole for terrestrial signals, or can be mounted horizontally in a V-Dipole configuration for NOAA/Meteor LEO weather satellites. It's also easy to mount outdoors through a window for best reception with two mounting solutions included.
Over on the AWS blog Jeff Barr has blogged about Amazon's new rentable ground station system called "AWS Ground Station". AWS, or Amazon Web Services is the server farm division of Amazon. They allow customers to rent out server capability on demand. In a similar sense, AWS Ground Station is aiming to allow customers to rent out satellite ground stations on demand.
Launching low cost micro/nano satellites has become very affordable in recent years and it's now common to see high schools, colleges, organizations and hobbyists designing, fabricating and launching their own satellites. Once launched, a ground station is required to receive the satellite's radio transmission as it passes over. Most low cost satellite owners will not have the budget to deploy ground stations all around the world for continuous monitoring of the satellite. This is where AWS Ground Station can take over, allowing a ground station on the other side of the world to be rented temporarily during a pass.
Currently the service is just starting, and only has 2 ground stations, but by 2019 they hope to have a total of 12. More information available on the official AWS Ground Station website.
Alternatively, there are other free open source services that could be utilized such as SATNOGS. SATNOGs relies on volunteer ground stations running antenna rotators that can be built with a 3D printer, some low cost motors and electronics, and an RTL-SDR. The antenna rotator carries a Yagi antenna and will automatically track, receive and upload satellite data to the internet for the public to access.