Tagged: DVB-S

Receiving Russian Satellite TV from the Express AM8 Satellite and watching the Hacking and Jamming Attempts

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has banned the broadcast of Russian TV channels. This is caused Russia to move their satellite broadcasts from internationally owned satellites, to their own "Express AM8" geostationary satellite.

The Russian satellite can be received from Europe and parts of South America. What's interesting in particular is the hacking and jamming attempts going on on this particular satellite. These breaches are likely to be from individual people or by the Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Communication. An example of a hack by Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Communication on 5 January 2023.

Express AM8 transponder 11647V was hacked today at 6:30 PM by Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Communication. A New Year's address by Ukrainian President V. Selensky was shortly broadcast in Ukrainian on all program positions of the T2-MI transponder.

Express AM8 hacked by Ukraine to broadcast the New Years address by Ukrainian President V. Selensky

Alex 'Happysat' has written to us with the following information. The full guide to receiving TV from the satellite, and information about the satellite and signals and modulations used on the satellite is on GitHub at https://github.com/happysat/Express-AM8.

You may know that here in Europe a number of controversial Russian, Syrian and Iranian (news) channels are not allowed to be broadcast due to sanctions against Russia (everything) and Iran (Press TV).

The Russians moved most of the channels (Rossiya 24, RTR Planeta, NTV Mir, Perivy Kanal, Press-TV) to their own satellite Express AM8 some time ago.

Since it is not a normal DTH satellite such as Astra or Hotbird, everything happens there (jamming / hacks) which is interesting for many (dx) viewers.

Because it is relatively easy to receive in Europe and parts of South America, I have created a GitHub website with some useful tips and tricks.

Not only in terms of content, but also the technical side of it, the different modulations broadcast techniques T2-MI (unfortunately gone for a while after the hacks…) but also just old-fashioned DVB-S signals, Telemetry and some transponders (only symbol rate lower than >2000ks) are even without the need for a satellite receiver.

For example with an SDR radio and the AM-SAT program what the radio amateurs use on Eshail2.

And that a '14 west setup' can easily be made, which does not have to be expensive at all.

This is the website https://github.com/happysat/Express-AM8/blob/main/README.md

Examples of jamming on Russian geostationary TV satellite Express AM8

Decoding Es’Hail-2 DVB-S2 Realtime in Linux with LeanDVB

Last week we posted about M Khanfar's YouTube video that showed how to decode Es'Hail-2/QO-100 DVB-S2 on Ubuntu with the LeanDVB decoder. However, the method he showed was not in real time as it involved recording an IQ file in GQRX first, then decoding that IQ file. Similarly we also posted last week about a Windows based real time decoder.

M Khanfar recently wrote in again and wanted to show that real time decoding is possible with LeanDVB. The method is to simply pipe the output of the rtl_sdr command line decoder in LeanDVB, and then into VLC. He notes that his PC isn't actually fast enough to decode in real time without lag, but a modern i5 CPU would work well. The actual terminal command is shown in his YouTube video description.

This is Realtime live DVB-S2 Decoding done , without need to record .RAW file , its live and easy method by one click ! In this video i decoding 2MS symbol rate from wideband transponder of QO-100 beacon , you can decoding 1MS , 0.5MS , 333KS , 125KS symbol rate ! The lower Symbol, the faster speed for decoding! , the Amateurs operators on QO-100 Uplink DATV DVB-S2 at 0.5 , 333 , 125Ks , so its easy to Live Decoding Now ! With very low SNR ! , so the normal SDR can coverage wideband beacon of 2Ms symbol and all Ham uplink ! , if you have an SDR that can coverage 27.5 mb of bandwidth, so you can easy decoding Live a standard commercial satellite channels! But it need a high speed Pc .

QO-100 Realtime Live DVB-S2 Decoding

Receiving Es’Hail-2 DVB-S2 on Ubuntu With LeanDVB

Yesterday we posted about a real time Windows demodulator for receiving amateur TV DVB-S/S2 on Es'Hail-2/QO-100. Recently another YouTube user "M Khanfar" also submitted a video tutorial showing how to decode Es'Hail-2 DVB-S2 on Ubuntu with an RTL-SDR and the LeanDVB decoder.

Khanfar notes that although the LeanDVB decoding method is not real time, his tests show that the LeanDVB method is able to work with a much lower SNR signal compared to the Windows demodulator. The process is to simply capture an IQ file with GQRX, then run LeanDVB on the command line with the recorded IQ file. It will create a TS file that can be played in any media player.

His receiving setup consists of an RTL-SDR, 100cm dish, modified LNB and a home made bias tee that can switch his LNB between horizontal and vertical polarization.

QO-100 DVB-S2 Decoding

Windows Realtime DVB-S Demodulator for Es’Hail-2 & Amateur TV Available

Thank you to Happysat for writing in and noting that over on the Amsat-DL forums user Markro92 has uploaded a realtime Windows DVB-S demodulator with GUI. The demodulator works with the RTL-SDR, HackRF, SDRplay and PlutoSDR support is due to be added soon. Happysat notes the following: 

It can demodulate DVB-S and S2 signals with very low symbolrate on Es Hail-2 geosat on 25,9 East from the Wideband Transponder. So you do not need a modified lnb or modified satelitte stb :) Of course you can also see the amateur tv streams which people uplink theirself.

To see if there is any stream active one can visit the wideband WebSDR and above the stream the info is displayed which parameters in use (symbol rate and mode dvbs(2)) so you can adjust in the Demodulator program. Stream + Chat: https://eshail.batc.org.uk/wb/ .

The latest version of the software will always be always available at http://v.1337team.tk/dvb-s_gui_amsat.zip.

Happysat Decoding a DVB-S2 stream from Es-Hail2 with an RTL-SDR V3.
Happysat Decoding a DVB-S2 stream from Es-Hail2 with an RTL-SDR V3.

Transmitting and Receiving DATV with a LimeSDR and a Modified $20 DVB-S Receiver

Over on YouTube user Corrosive has uploaded a video showing how he can use the recently updated DATV Express software to transmit Digital Amateur TV (DATV) with a LimeSDR Mini, and receive it with a cheap US$20 DVB-S satellite set top box that he's modified with a custom firmware update. Corrosives work is excellent as it allows anyone to get started in DATV amateur radio cheaply. He writes:

Last week I noticed the windows DATV express software for windows had been updated to include several SDR platforms [appears to now support the LimeSDR and LimeSDR Mini, as well as the PlutoSDR] https://www.datv-express.com/CustomPage/Downloads

Using my new LimeSDR Mini I wanted to try this out. I went online and purchased a cheap DVB-S Satellite set top box on eBay branded as a KOQIT K1Mini.

In order to allow the KOQIT K1Mini DVB-S set top box to receive DATV frequencies, Corrosive has released a firmware update on GitHub that removes all satellites listed in the receiver, and replaces it with six DATV channels for amateur television use. He writes:

I decided to split the 3 23cm ATV frequencies into 6 at half the bandwidth for digital.

The receiver with my firmware configures the device to see a 9750LO LNB, by placing a simple antenna on the receiver instead of an LNB the 1.2 ghz amateur frequencies are shifted by 9750mhz and can be scanned as if they were a satellite transponder.

If you don't have a TX capable or DATV Express compatible SDR like the LimeSDR or Pluto, then we note that RPiTX (software that allows a Raspberry Pi to transmit RF without any additional hardware) also has DATV transmit capabilities that could in used in their place.

Receiving Russian Satellite TV from the Express AM8 Satellite and watching the Hacking and Jamming Attempts

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has banned the broadcast of Russian TV channels. This is caused Russia to move their satellite broadcasts from internationally owned satellites, to their own "Express AM8" geostationary satellite.

The Russian satellite can be received from Europe and parts of South America. What's interesting in particular is the hacking and jamming attempts going on on this particular satellite. These breaches are likely to be from individual people or by the Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Communication. An example of a hack by Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Communication on 5 January 2023.

Express AM8 transponder 11647V was hacked today at 6:30 PM by Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Communication. A New Year's address by Ukrainian President V. Selensky was shortly broadcast in Ukrainian on all program positions of the T2-MI transponder.

Express AM8 hacked by Ukraine to broadcast the New Years address by Ukrainian President V. Selensky

Alex 'Happysat' has written to us with the following information. The full guide to receiving TV from the satellite, and information about the satellite and signals and modulations used on the satellite is on GitHub at https://github.com/happysat/Express-AM8.

You may know that here in Europe a number of controversial Russian, Syrian and Iranian (news) channels are not allowed to be broadcast due to sanctions against Russia (everything) and Iran (Press TV).

The Russians moved most of the channels (Rossiya 24, RTR Planeta, NTV Mir, Perivy Kanal, Press-TV) to their own satellite Express AM8 some time ago.

Since it is not a normal DTH satellite such as Astra or Hotbird, everything happens there (jamming / hacks) which is interesting for many (dx) viewers.

Because it is relatively easy to receive in Europe and parts of South America, I have created a GitHub website with some useful tips and tricks.

Not only in terms of content, but also the technical side of it, the different modulations broadcast techniques T2-MI (unfortunately gone for a while after the hacks…) but also just old-fashioned DVB-S signals, Telemetry and some transponders (only symbol rate lower than >2000ks) are even without the need for a satellite receiver.

For example with an SDR radio and the AM-SAT program what the radio amateurs use on Eshail2.

And that a '14 west setup' can easily be made, which does not have to be expensive at all.

This is the website https://github.com/happysat/Express-AM8/blob/main/README.md

Examples of jamming on Russian geostationary TV satellite Express AM8

Decoding Es’Hail-2 DVB-S2 Realtime in Linux with LeanDVB

Last week we posted about M Khanfar's YouTube video that showed how to decode Es'Hail-2/QO-100 DVB-S2 on Ubuntu with the LeanDVB decoder. However, the method he showed was not in real time as it involved recording an IQ file in GQRX first, then decoding that IQ file. Similarly we also posted last week about a Windows based real time decoder.

M Khanfar recently wrote in again and wanted to show that real time decoding is possible with LeanDVB. The method is to simply pipe the output of the rtl_sdr command line decoder in LeanDVB, and then into VLC. He notes that his PC isn't actually fast enough to decode in real time without lag, but a modern i5 CPU would work well. The actual terminal command is shown in his YouTube video description.

This is Realtime live DVB-S2 Decoding done , without need to record .RAW file , its live and easy method by one click ! In this video i decoding 2MS symbol rate from wideband transponder of QO-100 beacon , you can decoding 1MS , 0.5MS , 333KS , 125KS symbol rate ! The lower Symbol, the faster speed for decoding! , the Amateurs operators on QO-100 Uplink DATV DVB-S2 at 0.5 , 333 , 125Ks , so its easy to Live Decoding Now ! With very low SNR ! , so the normal SDR can coverage wideband beacon of 2Ms symbol and all Ham uplink ! , if you have an SDR that can coverage 27.5 mb of bandwidth, so you can easy decoding Live a standard commercial satellite channels! But it need a high speed Pc .

QO-100 Realtime Live DVB-S2 Decoding

Receiving Es’Hail-2 DVB-S2 on Ubuntu With LeanDVB

Yesterday we posted about a real time Windows demodulator for receiving amateur TV DVB-S/S2 on Es'Hail-2/QO-100. Recently another YouTube user "M Khanfar" also submitted a video tutorial showing how to decode Es'Hail-2 DVB-S2 on Ubuntu with an RTL-SDR and the LeanDVB decoder.

Khanfar notes that although the LeanDVB decoding method is not real time, his tests show that the LeanDVB method is able to work with a much lower SNR signal compared to the Windows demodulator. The process is to simply capture an IQ file with GQRX, then run LeanDVB on the command line with the recorded IQ file. It will create a TS file that can be played in any media player.

His receiving setup consists of an RTL-SDR, 100cm dish, modified LNB and a home made bias tee that can switch his LNB between horizontal and vertical polarization.

QO-100 DVB-S2 Decoding

Windows Realtime DVB-S Demodulator for Es’Hail-2 & Amateur TV Available

Thank you to Happysat for writing in and noting that over on the Amsat-DL forums user Markro92 has uploaded a realtime Windows DVB-S demodulator with GUI. The demodulator works with the RTL-SDR, HackRF, SDRplay and PlutoSDR support is due to be added soon. Happysat notes the following: 

It can demodulate DVB-S and S2 signals with very low symbolrate on Es Hail-2 geosat on 25,9 East from the Wideband Transponder. So you do not need a modified lnb or modified satelitte stb :) Of course you can also see the amateur tv streams which people uplink theirself.

To see if there is any stream active one can visit the wideband WebSDR and above the stream the info is displayed which parameters in use (symbol rate and mode dvbs(2)) so you can adjust in the Demodulator program. Stream + Chat: https://eshail.batc.org.uk/wb/ .

The latest version of the software will always be always available at http://v.1337team.tk/dvb-s_gui_amsat.zip.

Happysat Decoding a DVB-S2 stream from Es-Hail2 with an RTL-SDR V3.
Happysat Decoding a DVB-S2 stream from Es-Hail2 with an RTL-SDR V3.

Transmitting and Receiving DATV with a LimeSDR and a Modified $20 DVB-S Receiver

Over on YouTube user Corrosive has uploaded a video showing how he can use the recently updated DATV Express software to transmit Digital Amateur TV (DATV) with a LimeSDR Mini, and receive it with a cheap US$20 DVB-S satellite set top box that he's modified with a custom firmware update. Corrosives work is excellent as it allows anyone to get started in DATV amateur radio cheaply. He writes:

Last week I noticed the windows DATV express software for windows had been updated to include several SDR platforms [appears to now support the LimeSDR and LimeSDR Mini, as well as the PlutoSDR] https://www.datv-express.com/CustomPage/Downloads

Using my new LimeSDR Mini I wanted to try this out. I went online and purchased a cheap DVB-S Satellite set top box on eBay branded as a KOQIT K1Mini.

In order to allow the KOQIT K1Mini DVB-S set top box to receive DATV frequencies, Corrosive has released a firmware update on GitHub that removes all satellites listed in the receiver, and replaces it with six DATV channels for amateur television use. He writes:

I decided to split the 3 23cm ATV frequencies into 6 at half the bandwidth for digital.

The receiver with my firmware configures the device to see a 9750LO LNB, by placing a simple antenna on the receiver instead of an LNB the 1.2 ghz amateur frequencies are shifted by 9750mhz and can be scanned as if they were a satellite transponder.

If you don't have a TX capable or DATV Express compatible SDR like the LimeSDR or Pluto, then we note that RPiTX (software that allows a Raspberry Pi to transmit RF without any additional hardware) also has DATV transmit capabilities that could in used in their place.

Transmitting DVB-S with a PlutoSDR and Receiving it with an RTL-SDR

Over on YouTube Christopher Bridges has uploaded a video showing him using a PlutoSDR and a GNU Radio program to transmit a DVB-S signal, which is then received with an RTL-SDR. DVB-S is a digital video broadcasting standard designed for satellite transmissions and digital amateur television video (DATV) also uses DVB-S in the 1.2 GHz amateur band. In this example the PlutoSDR transmits at 1.28 GHz.

Chris uses the rtl_sdr command line software to receive the raw IQ data at 1 MSPS, and then uses the leandvb software to decode the raw IQ file directly into a video file.

If you’re interested in TXing DVB-S/DATV but don’t have a transmit capable SDR, then we note that even a Raspberry Pi just by itself can be used to transmit it with rpidatv.

Linux gnuradio QPSK DVBS PlutoSDR + rtl MacBook leansdr

Some LimeSDR Demonstration Videos

Recently Michael DG0OPK wrote in and wanted to share some videos of the LimeSDR in action that he’s uploaded to YouTube. The first video shows LimeSDR running with the SDRangel software and receiving the 950 MHz mobile phone band. SDRangel appears to be GPU accelerated so the waterfall can show a lot of detail very quickly.

The second video shows the LimeSDR transmitting DVB-S/S2 on and ODROID XU4, and the signal being received on a PC using and Airspy, and being watched live with a standard DVB-S2 TV Card. The Odroid XU4 is a single board computer like the Raspberry Pi but much more powerful.

On his channel Michael also has some other LimeSDR videos that you can check out such as testing the LimeSDR with GNURadio on the 23cm band for full duplex DVB-S2, and running the LimeSDR at full speed 60fps, 50 MHz on a i7 PC.

The LimeSDR is a full duplex RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and up to 80 MHz of bandwidth. A unit currently a unit currently costs $289 USD on Crowd Supply.

Demodulating the Outernet signal with leandvb and an RTL-SDR

Leandvb is command line based lightweight DVB-S decoder designed for receiving Digital Amateur TV, including signals like HamTV from the International Space Station. The RTL-SDR can be used together with leandvb and it turns out that leandvb can also be used to decode the Outernet signal. If you were unaware, Outernet is a free L-band based satellite service that provides content such as news, weather data, APRS repeats and more. Currently you can get about 20MB of data a day. Outernet receivers are also all based around the RTL-SDR, allowing for very cheap receivers to be built. At the moment you’ll need a C.H.I.P or their specialized Dreamcatcher hardware to run their special Skylark OS with software decoder, but a general Armbian decoder is in the works.

Alternatively leandvb can be used, and over on their website the folks behind the leandvb software have uploaded a tutorial showing how to use leandvb to decode Outernet. Thanks to some reverse engineering attempts by Daniel Estévez, it was discovered that the Outernet modulation is very similar to DVB-S so the standard decoder can be used with some custom flags. Leandvb only outputs raw frames, not decoded data. They haven’t tested it, but it may be possible to feed the frames into Daniel Estevez’s free-outernet project for obtaining the final files.

During the testing they also discovered some interesting notes about the E4000 and R820T RTL-SDRs. For example by patching the R820T2 drivers to add some additional VGA gain they were able to make the R820T2 chips more sensitive at the Outernet frequency compared to the E4000 chip by bringing the signal further out of the quantization noise. They also tested a 60cm dish vs a patch antenna and found that the dish works significantly better.

Patch vs Dish Antenna for Outernet
Patch vs Dish Antenna for Outernet