I've always wanted to try to receive weather images from space, and this weekend decided to have a go.

Here's the result from NOAA 18, in polar orbit at 850km altitude, passing over my house:

Satellite weather image showing clouds over the UK

I used Adam 9A4QV's blog post and article to construct a simple V-dipole, out of some 3.18mm aluminium "round bar" off ebay, and an electrical connection block. The feeder was RG213 coaxial cable I had lying around.

Dipole construction, showing two aluminium bars in a 120 degree V shape, mounted on an electrical block, with coax coming out of the other end

I taped it all to a plastic tube (the packaging for the rods), and fastened it with duct-tape to an aluminium pole, positioned on the patio in the back garden.

Dipole on a pole, against the sky

The other end of the coax had a PL-259 connector on the end, into a SO-239→SMA pigtail, to an AM bandstop filter, into the RSP1A receiver.

SDRPlay RSP1a with connecting cables and bandpass filter

The receiver software, SDRuno on a Windows 10 laptop, was configured to output audio to a Virtual Audio Cable. Image decoding was done by wxtoimg, for which the main site is wxtoimgrestored.xyz, but I ran into difficulties with their download (the installed folder contained 2 text files, no program), and found an alternative source.

To find the current stallites I used the pass list shown in wxtoimg, and gm4vzy's weather satellite report to get the latest status and frequencies. I put the desired frequencies in the SDRuno memory panel and manually selected the next satelite due. Settings were WFM, 60K. Click to zoom in.

Windows desktop with SDRuno and wxtoimg

To see where the satellites are, I used the cross-platform Gpredict application:

GPredict application window

and the on-line 3D CelesTrak Orbit Visualization:

Screendump of CelesTrak, showing a globe with satellite trajectories

For more information, see this comprehensive blog post by Phil Stubbings, and the NOAA User Guide (2009).

Update: I had put the pole down, almost horizontally onto a chair at about 1m height, still pointing North, and it did just as well if not better! Here is NOAA 19:

Weather image

This was fun! Next I might try making a QFH antenna.