[amsat-bb] Global Geo SATCOM system?

Scott 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.

-Scott, K4KDR
Montpelier, VA  USA


-----Original Message----- 
From: Robert Bruninga
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2016 6:51 PM
To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Global Geo SATCOM system?

AMSAT tinkerers?

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

Bob, WB4APR 

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