Tag Archives: GNU Radio

GOES 16 in the house!

Few *times* ago I started to check on GOES 16 transmissions to see if I can get any data from it and make OpenSatelliteProject work with it. Me and @usa_satcom noticed that the HRIT signal was transmitting using differential encoding that was not predicted on NOAA’s HRIT Specification (You can check it here http://www.goes-r.gov/users/hrit-links.html ). So I decided to send an email to NOAA asking what was the current HRIT specs for GOES-16. Of course I expected no answer from them (they would probably be really busy with GOES-16 Testing), but surprisingly they answered sending the specs and saying that any feedbacks would be helpful and appreciated. So the HRIT indeed uses Differential Encoding (NRZ-M to be more specific). Knowing that I could start changing OpenSatelliteProject to be compatible with HRIT.

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GOES Satellite Hunt (Part 5 – File Assembler)

In the last chapter of my GOES Satellite Hunt, I explained how to obtain the packets. In this part I will explain how to aggregate and decompress the packets to generate the LRIT files.  This part will be somwhat quick, because most of the hard stuff was already done in the last part. Sadly the decompression algorithm is a modified RICE algorithm, and the Linux version of the library provided by NOAA cannot be used anymore because of incompatibilities between GCC ABIs ( The NOAA library has been compiled with GCC 2). Until I reverse engineer and create a open version of the decompression algorithm, I will use the  workaround I will explain here.

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GOES Satellite Hunt (Part 4 – Packet Demuxer)

In the last chapter I showed how to get the frames from the demodulated bit stream. In this chapter I will show you how to parse these frames and get the packets that will on next chapter generate the files that GOES send. I will first add C code to the code I did in the last chapter to separated all the virtual channels by ID. But mainly this chapter will be done in python (just because its easier, I will eventually make a C code as well to do the stuff).

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GOES Satellite Hunt (Part 3 – Frame Decoder)

In the last chapter of GOES Satellite Hunt, I explained how I did the BPSK Demodulator for the LRIT Signal. Now I will explain how to decode the output of the data we got in the last chapter.

One thing that is worth mentioning is that most (if not all) weather satellites that transmit digital signals use the CCSDS standard packet format, or at least something based on it. For example this frame decoder can be used (with some modifications due QPSK instead BPSK) for LRPT Signals from Meteor Satellites (I plan to do a LRPT decoder as well in the future, and I will post about it). I will not describe my entire code here, just the pieces for decoding the data. I will also not write the entire code here, since it can be checked in github. So before start see the picture below (again). We will some info from it as well.

LRIT Signal Specifications

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GOES Satellite Hunt (Part 2 – Demodulator)

In the last episode of my GOES Satellite Hunt I explained how I manage to build a reception system to get the GOES LRIT Signal. Now I will explain how to get the packets out of the LRIT signal. I choose the LRIT signal basically because of two reasons:

  1. It contains basically all EMWIN data + Full Disks from GOES 13 and 15.
  2. Less complexity on the demodulator side (Simple BPSK Demodulator)

This is the LRIT Specification (theoretically):

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Play with SDR and Intel Edison!

So some people already saw in my facebook that I started playing with SDRs (Software Defined Radio).

I always wanted to do my own radio receiver, and I did some in the past. But it’s very hard to adapt the radio for anything new you want do to, and also when you want to process data in your computer things become harder.

So a few months ago I found a nice tutorial of how to get NOAA Satellite Images using a cheap DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcast – Terrestrial) dongle that can be used as SDR. It costs about R$70 (roughly US$10) and the model I got (with R820T2 tuner) can tune from 24MHz to 1.74GHz!!!

What is inside this spectrum?

Actually a lot:

  • FM Audio Radio Broadcasts
  • VHF / UHF Television (Both Digital and Analog)
  • Weather Satellites (APT, LRPT, HRPT)
  • ADB-S (Air Traffic Telemetry)
  • FM Air Traffic Radio
  • And more

So my goal was to receive NOAA APT Signals (I even made a decoder!) but I don’t have a good enough antenna (yet).

The problem

So I made up a piece of antenna with two copper pipes (I call a piece, because its a dipole from a Double Cross Antenna) (I will make a tutorial later how to do it) to have better reception for the 2m band (~135Mhz) but every time a satellite was in range, I would need to go outdoor and turn on my laptop and start capturing. This was annoying.

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