A Frustrating Afternoon

I have recently took possession a ‘new’ laptop, a nice Lenovo Thinkpad. with a Core i3 and Windows 7 Professional.

I was trying to use it this afternoon with the FUNCube Dongle and having no luck at all getting it to work! I had planned to decode some NOAA-APT transmissions and hastily reverted to my older laptop only to discover that it wasn’t receiving anything either.

In the end I traced it down to a faulty BNC coupler! I remember it was raining last time I used it and it did get slightly damp, so suspect there is some corrosion. Unfortunately by the time I had sorted it out I missed most of the overhead pass of NOAA-19.

I did manage to get two poor decodes of NOAA-18 and NOAA-15 but as you can see I was struggling with fading signals and interference.

NOAA-15 11-Nov-2012

NOAA-18 11-Nov-2012

What was interesting, and not seen before was the visible image (on the right) seems to change when it goes into darkness.

Damn you!

Some NOAA APT Decodes

Listening to the scanner this morning I heard the distinctive APT ‘chiming’ sound as one of the NOAA polar orbiting weather satellites was making a pass. It has been a while since I have done any APT decoding, so decided to capture some of the passes of NOAA-18 and NOAA-19 this afternoon.

The first two passes of both satellites were North to South around 20-30 degrees elevation, this image was the best of the them, the UK is in the upper left. 

NOAA-19 11:32 UTC 21-OCT-2012

The following passes were much higher, almost overhead, there was some interference on this NOAA-18 pass due to pagers and I got disorientated whilst hand holding 2-meter YAGI, hence the lost of signal near the top of the image.

NOAA-18 14:02 UTC 21-OCT-2012

However the NOAA-19 pass before it was much better. What is noticable is the bands of darkening, caused by nearby buildings and some large trees shielding the satellite from my the line of sight position.

NOAA-19 11:12 UTC 21-OCT-2012

All images were decoded realtime using the SDR-Radio program, received by the FUNCube Dongle connected to the InnovAntennas Yagi.