Cheapest Way to Receive Weather Satellite Images

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Introduction: Cheapest Way to Receive Weather Satellite Images

About: I am currently a student from Austria and work on engineering and science related projects in my freetime.

Some time ago I heared about the possibility to receive weather satellite images. So I informed myself about this topic, and learned that I would need a SDR and an Antenna to receive the given frequencies. I didn't have these items ready, but still wanted to give it a try.

I remebered some time ago I learned about WEBSDR, which are Software defined Radios, which are made public in the Internet. So I gave it a try, it worked out, and I decided to write my first Instructable.

Step 1: Everything You Need

At first you need a computer or laptop to use all the needed software. The operating system does not matter, because they will work on nearly every, but I will describe it for Windows, which won't be much different to the other.

Software:

Step 2: Setup WXtoIMG

At first I recommend to enable the expert mode. You can find this setting under Options->GUI Options. After this you have to close and reopen the software.

Next you set the location of your antenna, which is located in Noordwijk, Netherlands. For this you go to Options->Ground Station Location and set it to:

Latitude: 52.239989

Longitude: 4.450009

as shown in the first picture.

Next make sure that the Options on the top of the Options bar are as in the second Image, except the Crop Telemetry setting does not have to be selected, it just removes the border of the images later.

Then you update the Keplers, which is located under File. When it is finished you open the Satellite Pass List. This will show you, when satellites will be in the zone to be received. There is a UTC Time given, with wich you can calculate, which time it is at your place. Also the frequency on which the signal will be sent is given.

Step 3: Receiving the Signal

Open your Browser a few Minutes before a satellite passes. Go to the site: http://erc-websdr.esa.int/

The frequency you read from the Satellite Pass List is given in MHz, and on this site you have to set the frequency in kHz. So just multiply the given Frequency with 1000. Enter this into the Frequency field, shown in the second picture.

Select FM, and widen the Bandwith to 30.09kHz, as in picture 3. You can just stretch the barriers out with your mouse.

The optimum would be 34kHz, but the used hardware doesn't allow this. You may also enable Autonotch.

You may add 2-5kHz to the frequency because of the Doppler effect.

About 1-2 minutes before the start, beginn the recording. Stop it when the signal isn't visible any more for about a minute, since you can later crop the picture, but can't add anything you haven't recorded.

During the recording you can adjust the frequency to counteract the Doppler effect. This will increase the quality slightly, but mostly not very significant.

Then click the now visible "Download" button next to the "Audio recording: Start/Stop" button, if it doesn't download automatically.

Step 4: Make the Signal Ready for Processing

Open up Audacity and open the recorded file.

Change the Project Rate to 11025Hz, as in the first picture.

Then resample the audio to 11025Hz, as in the second picture.

Then just save the new audio as WAV, and make sure, that the name of the file ends with .wav

Step 5: Creating the Image

Back in WXtoIMG go to File->Open Audio File, and open the edited audio file. Make sure to select the right Satellite.

The software will do everything else for you.

There will just be two black and white pictures, which you now can edit with the enhancements, options, projections, and images. To get a coloured Image try the HVCT or HVC false colour. Also click Image->Histogram Equalise Image once, and it will be a really good picture if everything worked out.

Don't be sad if it doesn't work out the first time, just try some times, and you will get better and better.

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6 People Made This Project!

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9 Discussions

0
julien.widmer01
julien.widmer01

Question 11 months ago

First of all this is an amazing tutorial. I have a questionh concerning the WXtoImg. I downloaded the software for linux but unfortunately theres only a console interface, I'm now wondering if some settings mentioned in the tutorial which I cant set in the CLI will get a problem further along. Do you know another software that does the same that has a GUI on all systems?

0
John T MacF Mood
John T MacF Mood

Answer 6 months ago

Good question, I hope I can help. I'm expecting you are using a USB device to bring signals to your computer so you can use the download.

It wasn't mentioned, so I am wondering if your USB port recognized the device. If you didn't add any device driver(s) for the device, Linux may not be able to see it in order to use it. Best of luck, I sometime wonder if with the new devices, could it be the way you hold your pencil when you start the software? (Kidding... But sometimes!)

Best of luck, I hope drivers does it for you. I don't know if native support is built in to Linux just yet. Since these dongles are relatively new, it's likely not to be.

Best regards,

John
AA4PC
USA

0
John T MacF Mood
John T MacF Mood

6 months ago

A laudable first effort sir - well done!

I am waiting for an SDR dongle for my computer, having built many a radio, it will be nice to plug up, configure and go. I'm into amateur radio and very much enjoy building what I can. The kits for SDR USB devices are a bit intimidating, but I may build one after I get a bit if drive time on the one I should get next Monday. Working with surface mount isn't easy, but I've done it...

Good luck, and I can't wait for your adventures in SDR pseudo-radar. Using the "squawked" signal from aircraft to build a location map. I'm looking to give that a go.

Good work and good luck!

0
cmarques1
cmarques1

3 years ago

Thanks for the tutorial!
I have one problem: sometimes my pictures don't have the countries frontiers and I don't know where to find that option/filter. Can you help me with that?

0
onion2
onion2

Reply 1 year ago

option > disable contry

0
onion2
onion2

Tip 1 year ago

Don't try it at night ;)
I'm really dumb....

0
jwzumwalt
jwzumwalt

3 years ago

This is Soooo neat! I will never do it, but it is very gratifing to know it can be done, and how it is done. Thanks!

0
DIY Hacks and How Tos

Awesome. Now I just need to wait for a cloudless day and I am going to try this.

0
NagelmaierP
NagelmaierP

Reply 3 years ago

You could also try it when there are clouds, and check with a rain radar, if it really only rains, where there are clouds.

Also you could make your own weather forecasts with checking, if a cloud moves to your place.