Over on dereksgc's YouTube channel we've discovered a few more recent interesting videos from his satellite decoding series that people may be interested in. One from two weeks ago shows how it's possible to receive voice transmissions on navigation satellites such as GPS.
Many navigational and meteorological satellites carry a search and rescue (SAR) repeater which is intended to receive UHF emergency locator beacons and rebroadcast them in the L-band or higher. However the repeaters appear to be picking up all sorts of other signals from the ground, including voice transmissions. Dereksgc notes that the theory is that there are some land based communications systems in some countries that are sharing frequencies that emergency locator beacons use, or that malicious pirates may be actively using these SAR repeaters for their own communications.
Dereksgc shows examples of retransmitted signals on the Beidou, GLONASS and Elektro-L satellite downlinks at 1.5442 GHz and at 2.226 MHz for the GPS satellites. He also shows what sort of satellite dish and feed setup you need. In the video he uses a HackRF as the SDR, but you could also use an RTL-SDR for the satellites that transmit at 1.5442 GHz.
Receiving voice transmissions from GPS satellites || Satellite reception pt.10
Elektro-L is a range of Russian geostationary weather satellites. Elektro-L1 and L2 were launched in 2011 and 2015 respectively, and Elektro-L3 was launched more recently in December 2019. Currently only Elektro-L2 and L3 are in operation. Like it's NOAA GOES, Himawari and GK-2A cousins, Elektro-L satellites beam back full disk images of the entire earth. Elektro-L2 is positioned to cover South America, Africa and Europe, whilst Elektro-L3 covers the East of Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, Asia and the West of Australia.
Recently @aang254 has been Tweeting that he has managed to get an Elektro-L decoder working. The decoder is open source and available on GitHub and Windows builds are already available. He notes that he's still working on the demodulator, but that should be released tomorrow. This decoder is great news as now Europeans now have an opportunity to receive full disk images. There is no full guide yet on how to use the decoder, but we expect that one will be released soon.
We note that according to wmo-sat.info the Elektro-L satellites transmit at ~1693 MHz, and have a 2 MHz wide HRIT and 200 kHz wide LRIT mode. So the signals should be able to be received with an RTL-SDR and appropriate LNA.EDIT: Unfortunately it seems that wmo-sat.info may have incorrect information, and that Elektro-L requires X-Band hardware to receive these images. While not totally impossible, an X-Band satellite SDR setup is a bit more difficult to put together compared to the L-band SDR setup used by GOES and GK-2A.
Published my ELEKTRO-L Decoder (early release)!
You can find it here under GPLv3, it takes synced derandomized CADUs as input, but I'll add in a demodulator tomorrow no worries!
Windows builds included already!https://t.co/Txh22PZ2cG