In his latest video Matt from the TechMinds YouTube channel shows us how to build a home made turnstile antenna for receiving the MILSAT SATCOM satellites where radio pirates from Brazil and other countries can often be heard.
The build involves 3D printed parts, metal measuring tape for the elements, some aluminum tubes and a coax phasing harness. After testing the VSWR with a meter, Matt tests the antenna with a handheld and finds it to be working well. He also later tests it with his SDRplay RSPdx and finds that the Turnstile outperforms his roof mounted vertical.
Radio pirates often make use of the Fleetsatcom satellites to send and receive slow scan television (SSTV) pictures over a wide distance. Fleetsatcom is a satellite communications system used by the US Navy for radio communications. Since these satellites are simply radio repeaters with no authentication mechanisms, pirates soon discovered that they could take over the satellites for their own use.
Over on YouTube user LEGION ELMELENAS has uploaded a video showing his reception of some pirates transmitting a SSTV image at a Fleetsatcom frequency of 252 MHz. To receive the image he used a home made turnstile antenna, an RTL-SDR dongle, SDR# and the RX-SSTV decoder. The image appears to be a photo of a pirates son.
We previously posted more information about Fleetsatcom SSTV pirates in this post.
SSTV from Satcom satellites. RTL-SDR SDRSharp FLTSATCOM pirates
Happysat, a reader of RTL-SDR.com wrote in to let us know his experience with receiving Milsat pirate SSTV images using his R820T RTL-SDR and his homebrew QFH antenna. During his research he found that Brazillian Mexican Pirates hijack military satellite transponders to send SSTV pictures of their families on 255.560 MHz 22.4° West UFO F7 (USA 127).
Happysat writes that he found an active signal on that frequency most of the time. To receive the SSTV signal happysat used the free RX-SSTV software.
SSTV is an acronym for slow scan television and is a mode usually used on HF (0-30 MHz) frequencies by ham radio enthusiasts for sending out digital calling cards.