Receiving Meteosat and other weathersatellites

Receiving Meteosat was a project created by chance. Talking with my colleague in QRL he told me he wants to receive meteosat images. I remembered that i heared of some radio amateurs that were receiving Meteosat. From this moment on it was my task to realize Meteosat reception. I must tell you that everything happened in autumn 1996. This time nobody of us had internet connection, so I had to get my information from the packet radio network and from books. Also our PCs had no soundcard, so we needed some converter hardware. When I had found the informations about the orbital position, the frequencies and modulation technique used by Meteosat, I made the first reception experiment with a spectrum analyzer and a horn antenna. There was nothing to see except noise. So we needed a better antenna and a preamplifier.

My colleague started the first attempt to build a preamplifier. It really brought 10 dB but only on the measuring equipment with proper 50 Ohm connection. On the antenna it began to oszillate. We decided to use commercial built Sat-Inline preamplifiers, that were available at a reasonable price.

At the same time I was building a simple decoder that would convert the WEFAX signals to RS232 signals that could be received with JVFAX, a DOS based software. I'm sorry that I don't have a better image of the first version that was built on a experimental PCB. The second version was built on a real PCB, but I was still not satisfied by the results, so I buyed a HARIFAX modem later.

With the rapidly built decoder and the preamplifiers we received the first Meteosat image by ourselves. We were very happy, although the image quality was not very good.

The antenna we used was a 85cm offset dish and a coffee can feed.

Later I developed my receiving system further so I was able to make a presentation at the G-QRP meeting the 15th August 1998 on Masenberg in Styria.

Here I'm aligning the 60cm offset dish with the coffee can feed and directly connected Low noise preamplifier built by DB6NT.

AR5000 as RF-Receiver, Harifax Modem as converter and a !386! Notebook with JVFAX to receive Meteosat images.

The image quality had improved much since the early beginning and that with reduced antenna size.

More attempts and Setups:

I tried successfully also to receive Meteosat signals with a 35cm offset dish and the Coffee Can Feed with the attached DB6NT preamplifier. Of course the images were more noisy but still usable.

When I had realized the reception of Meteosat, I wanted to receive also Low earth orbiting weathersatellites. These are the russian Meteor and the american NOAA. This is an image from Meteor 3-5, the differences in brightness were specific for this satellite. On the upper end of the image you can see the snow-covered alps. The image was received in March 1998.

This is my actual antenne configuration on the balcony of my appartement. The two LNBs are for receiving ASTRA and Hotbird, the grey coffee can is intended to receive signals from the nearby 13cm and the provisoric mounted can is for receiving Meteosat.