Tag Archives: NOAA

GOES GRB First Light!

When the GOES-16 was first announced I got interested in their GRB Downlink (although the first try was at HRIT downlink). Basically GRB is a replacement for the old PDR downlink in GOES 13/14/15 generation, which gives few advantages over the old link:

  • Uses market standard DVB-S2 Generic Stream
  • Have FEC (as defined by DVB-S2)
  • Higher bandwidth
  • Easier to receive due DVB-S2 FEC

For those who don’t know, the GRB is a direct rebroadcast of GOES data, with minimum processing as possible (usually just packaged into NetCDF files with calibration parameters) and is intended for anyone that want’s to get full data from the satellite.

The down-link itself is split into two channels transmitted at same frequency (1684.5 MHz) with different circular polarities. That makes extremely necessary to use Circular Polarized feeds, since a Linear Feed will suffer with cross polarization (sum of each channel at the same signal).

For HRIT downlink usually a 1 meter dish is enough for receiving with a good signal (needs a very good hardware setup though). But for GRB, the minimum dish size listed by NOAA is 3.8m for the best regions.

GRB Recommended Dish Size by NOAA

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Some LNA tests for HRIT/LRIT

So I was talking with @luigi on OSP RocketChat and he noticed that one of the LNA’s I suggested alogn with the LNA4ALL (the SPF5189) got a comment on ebay saying that it doesn’t work on L Band.

So that was weird to me, since I have 5 of them, and one currently in use with my GOES setup. So I decided to do a small and crude benchmark for L Band comparing no LNA with LNA4ALL and SPF5189.

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GOES 16 Test Week Results

In the week from March 27th to 31 NOAA performed some new downstream tests over HRIT link on GOES-16. The idea was to transfer some CMI (Cloud and Moisture Imaging) products and see if the software developers and current stations could receive it fine. Before starting talking about that, please notice that all data sent so far is stated as test data and should not be used for any real world measurements. As NOAA states (and I forwarded on my last post):

The user of that link assumes all risks related to the use of their data and NOAA disclaims and any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

So I kept my dish pointed to GOES-16 all over the week and did record the Monday testing (that contained CMI images) and recorded all files sent all over the week. Some of them are automatically posted on Twitter / Instagram by my OSP Bot but not all of them. I had discovered some issues with my Virtual Channel Ingestor on GOES Dump, and also most of the new data was not being handled correctly by Goes Dump. Working together with @usa_satcom we managed to almost zero-out the bugs in GOES Dump.

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GOES 16 Test Week

Yesterday I received an email from NOAA (I’m on their “tester” list) about some tests on GOES-16 that will happen this week. Before I start talking about what will be the tests I want to be clear that GOES-16 is NOT operational yet and any data received from the LRIT/HRIT downlink are test only data. This means the user of that link assumes all risks related to the use of their data and NOAA disclaims and any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

So this week ( from 27th to 31th march ) HRIT will go into a new test phase that will send out DCS, Environmental Messages and charts through. They also will send from 16h to 20h UTC on Monday (27th) some CMI (Cloud and Moisture Imaging) data. That might be interesting for anyone that have a 1.5m+ dish that can run Linear Polarization at 1694MHz and be interested in trying out the super-alpha version of OpenSatelliteProject, that is already compatible to HRIT.

Please keep in mind that while OSP does support HRIT, it doesn’t mean it will support the new products coming out from HRIT link. They’re currently testing sending NetCDF files over HRIT, and so far OSP doesn’t support those. In normal case (no bugs) the output product should be stored in a folder named Unknown with the filename provided by NOAA. Regardless of that I will be trying to record the IQ / decoder output in the CMI period and run the OSP over all week in GOES-16.

While running in GOES-16 the Twitter / Instagram bots will not be outputing any GOES-13 data (sadly I only have one dish so far) but may output the products from GOES-16.

Some usefull links for you if you’re interested in more information:

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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GQRX NOAA 18 Signal

GQRX NOAA 18 Signal

So you all saw my last posts [ Play with SDR and Intel Edison! QFH Antenna and my first reception of NOAA! ] but I actually didn’t explained how to capture and decode APT Signals using your computer (in this case, with Linux). So here it is! For this article I’m using Ubuntu 15.04, but actually any distro will work well (I think most of them have the needed packages)

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QFH Antenna and my first reception of NOAA!


So in my last post I was playing with my RTL-SDR with an Intel Edison. So I decided to build a QFH Antenna to ble able to receive NOAA APT Signals. These NOAA Weather Satellites broadcast a APT signal with about 5 to 8 Watts at 2m band, and considering how low this power is, it might suprise you that these signals arrive pretty strong at earth surface. But the biggest challenge to receive this signals are not its power. Its all about movement.

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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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