[amsat-bb] Global Geo SATCOM system?
scott23192 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 5 23:25:43 UTC 2016
Hi Bob & everyone.
I have a partially obscured view at the angle required for geostationary
satellites but was curious to see if I could get Outernet's signal from
Inmarsat 4-F3, which is where Outernet's transmission originates from in
this area (USA East Coast).
For background, I had used a variety of antennas (patch, vivaldi, DirecTV
dish repurposed) to receive some of the various data streams from Inmarsat
4-F3 in the past, with varying results.
I ordered the combination patch antenna / LNA / SDR that Outernet has
assembled optimized for L-Band. That left only the software side to
The first option was zero-cost, which was to attempt to decode the Outernet
feed using their guided software install for an existing Linux computer.
This consisted of a number of apps working in concert.
The "receiver" portion worked properly - I did see a reasonable SNR and
mostly error-free data stream. Unfortunately, I never decoded any content
with the other apps either due to their alpha or beta stage of development
or my lack of linux expertise.
However, at the same time I was corresponding with a couple of other hams
who saw similar results with the "add on" apps for a working linux computer.
I have not dug any deeper with that method so as of now, for all I know that
branch of the software might have improved.
In stark contrast to my lack of success with the linux method was a turnkey
boot image that Outernet makes available for you to write to an SD card for
use in a Raspberry Pi. Consisting of a fairly lite linux OS, plus all the
apps required and optimized for Outernet use, this solution was very much
ready for production use.
I would say within 2 minutes of booting a new Pi-3 with the Outernet image,
content started downloading to the local storage on the Pi. I didn't have
to do a thing but figure out how to log into the web interface that is your
portal to the Pi. (web as in http; there is no internet connection,
naturally) It was as plug-and-play as you could possibly get... turn on the
Pi and point the antenna. Period. Content just starts downloading if you
have a decent signal. You connect to the Pi from another computer and any
files that have downloaded are available for you to view.
Of course the antenna / LNA / SDR was attached before I powered up the Pi
and positioned to have decent visibility in the right direction. And of
course it's easy to see that the better your RF receive situation, the
better will be the rate at which content is received.
Finally, using items already on-hand for other experiments, I replaced the
patch antenna with the TP-Link 2.4 GHz dish
that you often see used by amateurs for experimentation. Never mind that
it's supposedly for a higher frequency and never mind that it's not
circularly polarized, I found that in conjunction with the LNA & SDR from
Outernet, I received a much stronger signal than with the patch antenna.
But in fairness, I have not made a comparison with a 100% clear view of the
I hope those very early and limited observations of Outernet's solution are
useful to you.
Montpelier, VA USA
From: Robert Bruninga
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2016 6:51 PM
To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Global Geo SATCOM system?
OUTERNET is a free worldwide Geostationary Satellite downlink system
designed to bring content to remote areas all over the globe. They have
six geostationary birds covering the entire globe EVERYWHERE. All you need
is a small 18” (or 36” in some very remote areas) to receive content via
your own home-made receiver based on a TV dongle and Rasberry Pi.
Is there anyone on AMSAT-bb that is already receiving this content? We’d
like to hear about how easy it is to set up a receiver.
We have some ideas on how this can be used to augment Ham radio in our
Emergency Response and remote operations missions. See
More information about the AMSAT-BB