Tagged: satdump

Meteor M2-4 has not failed – it is still in the testing phase

Thank you to Robin OK9UWU who wanted to point out that the recently launched Russian Meteor M2-4 weather satellite has not failed. There have recently been rumors and videos being spread online claiming that the satellite has already failed as the LRPT and HRPT signals are currently offline.

However, the satellite is still in a testing phase and was only briefly transmitting images for a few days after launch. It is difficult to find official updates from Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, but Robin explains his thoughts on what is happening:

The satellite in question, Meteor-M N°2-4 did not fail. The reason for both the LRPT and HRPT transmitters to be off is that the primary instrument (MSU-MR) is currently undergoing a routine cleaning process to get the IR channels up and running correctly.

It's completely normal.

Other reason why it's off could be that they are testing the MeteoSAR instrument (2-4 is the first sat of this series to have this), hence why unnecessary radios might have been taken offline.

It's important to understand that these satellites are being used to do actual science, weather forecasting etc. They require careful testing and calibration which might take some time. It's not just for "cool imagery".

For example, it took months to get the VIIRS instrument running onboard of the NOAA-21 satellite.

Keep calm and nerdy!

spaceintel101.com's infographic about the Meteor M2-4 Launch
spaceintel101.com's infographic about the Meteor M2-4 Launch

Meteor M2-4 Successfully Deployed to Orbit and now Transmitting Weather Images

The long awaited Russian Meteor M2-4 satellite was successfully launched on February 29, 2024 and is now in orbit, and is already transmitting images. If you are unfamiliar with them, Meteor M satellites are a class of Russian weather satellites that can be easily received with an RTL-SDR and appropriate satellite antenna. The easiest transmission to receive is around 137 MHz, and to receive this signal a simple V-Dipole or more advanced QFH antenna can be used. It also transmits in the L-band, and a small 60cm+ dish can be used to receive it with motorized or hand tracking.

The video below is an archived live stream of the launch.

LIVE: Roscosmos Meteor-M 2-4 and others Mission Launch | Soyuz 2.1b/Fregat-M

Prior Meteor M class satellites have typically been plagued with various issues, but so far the launch and deployment of M2-4 appears to have gone very smoothly. Reports are that the signal strength is excellent (much better than M2-3 with it's suspected antenna deployment fault) and images have been received clearly on both VHF and L-band.

TLE's and SatDump have been updated to support Meteor M2-4, so if you want to receive the satellite be sure to update to the latest code on Github.

Over on X, Scott Tilley has posted an image he received recently on both bands.

IndiaRocketGirl Receives FengYun-2H S-VISSR Satellite Images

Over on her YouTube channel IndiaRocketGirl has posted a video showing how she was able to build a satellite dish and feed to receive FengYun-2H S-VISSR signals and get beautiful full disk images of the earth.

In the US and other countries RTL-SDR fans will be familiar with how to receive images from the GOES geostationary weather satellite. However from countries like India most GOES satellites will not be visible. Fortunately there are alternative satellites like the Chinese FengYun-2H satellite which is visible from India. FengYun-2H is a geostationary satellite that sends down a S-VISSR signal containing full disk images of the earth.

In her video IndiaRocketGirl uses a 1.8 meter diameter antenna, a homemade helical feed, an LNA+filter and an RTL-SDR as her hardware. For software she uses SatDump.

How to receive Real Time Images from Geostationary Satellites | RTL SDR | India Rocket Girl

SatDump V1.1.4 Released

SatDump is a popular program used to receive and decode images and other data from various weather satellites. SatDump works great RTL-SDR Blog dongles and with our Discovery Dish, an easy to use dish and feed for receiving L-band and other weather satellites. Recently the author of SatDump released version 1.1.4 which brings several new features including:

  • Autotrack/Scheduler improvements - multi mode has been added which allows all pipelines to run, even if more than one satellite is overhead at the same time. This is useful for NOAA and METEOR satellites at 137 MHz as there can often be more than one active satellite broadcasting images at different frequencies during a pass.
  • TUBIN Raw/Video Mode
  • ESA Cluster support
  • Additional Pipelines - Including Peregine X-Band TLM, the IM-1 Moon Mission and PRETTY S-band dump.
  • Themes - Choose between Dark, Light, Phosphor and Win98 themes.
  • Android Improvements - Blog V4 support added on Android, OpenCL support added.
  • Added composites - Various composite image products added to various satellites. Including Fog, panchromatic, ice detecting and more.
  • Other Features - support for M1 Mac builds added and various other fixes.
  • Bug Fixes - Memory leaks fixed and various bug fixes including a bug that caused problems with RTL-SDR devices on low power hardware like Raspberry Pi's and Orange Pi's.

If you enjoy SatDump consider donating to the main author at ko-fi.com/aang23.

SatDump Multi-Mode Feature. Receiving data from multiple 137 MHz satellites at the same time.

Automating NOAA APT and Meteor M2 LRPT Reception with SatDump 1.1.2

SatDump is a popular program used to receive and decode various forms of weather satellites, and in recent updates they added support for NOAA APT and Meteor M2 LRPT weather satellite decoding. In the latest 1.1.2 release they have also now added support for automation, amongst many other improvements.

Before this update, to automate the reception and decoding of APT and LRPT satellites a Windows PC, and a huge stack of various decoding and tracking programs and SDR# plugins are required, some of which are now even abandonware.

For APT a typical chain was SDR# -> DDETracker -> Orbitron -> WXtoIMG and for LRPT a typical chain is SDR# -> DDETracker -> Orbitron -> LRPT Demodulator -> LRPT Decoder -> SmoothMeteor -> MeteorGIS. Setting this chain of programs up can obviously be a lot of hard work.

The latest version of SatDump adds automation features which means these two entire chains can be replaced with just one program - SatDump. SatDump is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, so it can even run on something like a Raspberry Pi 5 or Orange Pi 5. 

To help users set up automation, @original_lego11 has written up an excellent tutorial that shows how to set the automation up. Automation involves entering your ground station details and selecting and configuring what satellites you want to receive and decode with your RTL-SDR or other SDR hardware.

SatDump 1.1.2 with the new automation features

SatDump Projections Improved

SatDump is a popular program that is used with RTL-SDRs and other SDRs for decoding transmissions from a wide array of weather satellites and their various imagers and sensors. Recently SatDump's author @aang254 has been working on improving the way projections work. Projections are essentially when the weather satellite image is stretched and skewed to fit correctly over the curved earth.

This means now that city markings and border lines should show up in the correct placed in any images received from SatDump.

If you're interested @aang254 has uploaded blog post on the SatDump website explaining the math, algorithms and problems he found when trying to get projections done right.

SatDump now has accurate projections

SatDump Version 1.1.0 Released – Feature Overview

SatDump is a popular program that can be used with RTL-SDRs and other software defined radios for decoding images from a wide array of weather imaging (and other) satellites including GOES, GK-2A, NOAA APT, NOAA HRPT, FengYun, Electro-L and Meteor M2 LRPT + HRPT, and many many others. It is multiplatform, running on Windows, MacOS, Linux and even Android. Because of it's good decoding performance, wide satellite and OS compatibility, it is the most recommended software for satellite decoding.

Recently SatDump was updated to version 1.1.0 and the new version brings many enhancements and new features. In summary, Lua scripting support has been added, calibrated products are now possible, composites can be made via Lua scripting, nightly builds are now available on GitHub, Mac .dmg builds are now available, decimation has been added, an SDR Server is available, and a Windows installer was added.

Support for various satellites and their instruments have also been added for NOAA APT, CCSDS LDPC decoding for Orion, LandSat-9, TUBIN X-Band, FengYun-3G/3F, Meteor M2-3, Geonetcast (soon), GOES RAW X-Band,  STEREO-A, DSCOVR EPIC, ELEKTRO-L N°4, Inmarsat STD-C, UmKA-1 (soon), PROBA-V GPS .

SatDump also now includes rotor tracking control which works together with it's satellite pass predictor and scheduler. There is no more need to use programs like Orbitron or Gpredict as everything can be handled by SatDump.

An insane amount of work has gone into SatDump, so if you like the software please remember to support the developer @aang23 by donating on Ko-Fi.

SatDump Rotator controller, Tracker and Scheduler

Meteor M2-3 Now In Orbit and Transmitting Weather Images

Meteor-M satellites are Russian owned weather imaging satellites that are in polar orbit. They transmit images to earth in the LRPT format at 137 MHz, making them almost as easy to receive as the older NOAA APT satellites. Unfortunately all prior Meteor M satellites have suffered an early ending or partial ending to their mission from technical faults or micro-meteorite collisions.

However, on June 27th 2023 the latest Meteor M2-3 satellite was successfully launched on a Soyuz-2 and has been reported to be already transmitting LRPT images of the earth.

Soyuz-2 Launch of Meteor M2-3 and 42 Cubesats

To receive images from the Meteor M2-3 satellite you will need an appropriate 137 MHz satellite antenna such as a v-dipole, Turnstile or QFH. An RTL-SDR or any similar SDR can be used as the receiver. 

These days, the easiest software to use to receive Meteor M2-3 is probably SatDump, whose Windows and Android binary releases can be downloaded from the GitHub Releases page. Linux users can follow the build guide in the SatDump Readme. We note that we've found the SatDump GUI to run well on an Orange Pi 5, which makes this a good portable solution too. 

To determine when the satellite is over your location you can use satellite tracking software such as Gpredict on Linux and Mac, or Orbitron on Windows. (For Orbitron, remember to run the software as Administrator, and to update the TLEs so that the Meteor M2-3 weather.txt TLE tracking data is downloaded). 

More information about Meteor M2-3's operational status can be found on Happysat's page.

Over on Twitter we've already seen various Tweets about successful reception.

@aang254, the author of SatDump has also noted that he is working on finalizing projections for Meteor M2-3 and this should be ready to use in SatDump shortly.

We also note that a Meteor Demodulator has also now just been added to SDR++.

Another interesting fact is that along with Meteor M2-3 the UmKA cubesat was launched will transmit astronomical images at 2.4 GHz. To receive this, you will most likely need a 2.4 GHz WiFi dish, and also a motorized tracking system to track the satellite as it fly's overhead. Decoding of this is already supported in SatDump according to the programmer.