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.