[amsat-bb] Re: AO-51 S-band // WIFI USB dongle as receiver?

Greg D. ko6th_greg at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 26 00:08:00 PST 2011

Hi Paul,

Well, interesting thought.  While the 2.4 gHz Wi-Fi and 13cm Ham bands do overlap, the modulation used by Wi-Fi signals and AO-51 are very very different.  AO-51's narrow band FM downlink is going to be totally ignored by the frequency-hopping spread spectrum receive demodulator in the Wi-Fi dongle.  I say that with some question, however, in that some Wi-Fi equipment is capable of some interesting RF detection and interference analysis, and might be hacked into some sort of digital receiver.  The trick would be getting the right dongle and software, and then customizing the detection algorithm and decoder.  Could be an interesting project for someone with the right skills and access to what is probably a very proprietary interface.

But straight out of the box, sorry, no.

Your best bet is to hunt around for an MMDS downconverter (I have a Drake 2880).  Most are quite inexpensive, and are easily converted for Ham use.  Saddle that up to your antenna and rig, and you'll have a setup that's probably overkill for AO-51.  

Greg  KO6TH

> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 11:15:05 -0800
> From: ac0z at arrl.net
> To: amsat-bb at amsat.org; ac0z at arrl.net
> Subject: [amsat-bb]  AO-51 S-band // WIFI USB dongle as receiver?
> Hello to the AMSAT brain trust.  I am new to satellites and have a new 
> person question:
>  > Is there any way to utilize a WIFI (2.4 GHZ, 13cm) USB dongle (with 
> SMA ant. port) into a gain antenna, and successfully receive the S-band 
> downlink from AO-51?  This is a 13cm transceiver, but I suspect the 
> answer is no.  I already have a 24db gain dish, so I thought I would 
> ask.  Outside of WIFI, is there anything useful I can do with this 
> dongle?  The more conventional units (transverters, receivers, etc.) are 
> a bit spendy for me right now.  thanks.  paul  ac0z
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