Tracking low earth satellites using RTL-SDR
Travis Goodspeed has been experimenting with remote satellite tracking over the internet. His setup uses a satellite dish originally used with a mobile earth station on maritime vessels. Movement of the dish is accomplished with servos and an EiBotBoard” wired into a BeagleBone. Travis describes further, “My initial build using an RTL-SDR dongle. Data processing is done on my server, with the BeagleBone forwarding data from rtl_tcp. To avoid offending the FCC and ham radio operators everywhere, I disabled the dish’s 1.5GHz transmitter and use only the 1.6GHz downlink antenna. If I can justify the extra weight, I’d like to drop the RTL-SDR in favor of a USRP2 over Gigabit Ethernet in order to get greater bandwidth and sensitivity.
Recordings are stored either as raw I/Q data or as a simple signal strength indicator from the Power Spectral Density (PSD) function. In the near future, I hope to automatically adjust the aim of the dish in realtime based upon the signal quality feedback.”
You can find project details and more photos on Travis’ blog.This entry was posted in SDR, techniques and tagged BeagleBone, RTL-SDR, satellite tracking.