• Tag Archives satnogs
  • Weeknotes 1

    Let’s try this.
    Every week, once a week (specific topic brain dumps exempt) I blog about what I have been thinking / doing the past week.
    Credit due… I totally stole this idea from Nick O’Leary, the author and maintainer of my beloved Node-RED.
    You can check out his weeklynotes (yes, I even stole his title) here: https://knolleary.net/

  • Dish tracking.
    I an idiot. Years ago when I started all this, I attached the linear actuator to a hinge on the dish, its been flopping around all this time.
    As a result of remounting it, I have found the tracking to less than satisfactory. Working on that.
  • You cant control what you don’t measure.
    Wanting to view the dish data in more detail I put together a trend that shows elevation, azimuth and message rate. (And yes, I did the trend in groov View because Node-RED trending is basically broken – It’s not Nicks code)

    Its pretty clear that I have a periodic fade. Who knew.
    Made me wonder about what other data I used to trend in my life and have let slip. If you don’t measure it, you cant control it.
  • Aircraft database.
    I have been struggling with this one since year dot.
    People will openly brag that they have the only accurate aircraft database on the planet, and because its the only accurate one, they wont share it.
    So we are all left to our own devices and scratch around to try and put something together.
    I hand built mine from two, Mitronics and BaseStation.idb. Yesterday I found a third.
    Problem is, some have ICAO as the primary key, some have the Registration as the primary key. The two I have been using have ICAO, the new one, Rego.
    Now I have to modify the MySQL select statement to include an ‘OR’. ICAO or Rego. Bleh.
  • MQTT.
    Oh so handy for pushing data around between different points on the planet.
    Just last night I used it without even thinking about it. Just the way technology should be.
    At the moment my V1 broker is on a Raspberry Pi sitting on a broken fridge in my lounge room. I am mulling over the idea of installing Mosquitto V2 on my Windows PC and using that as the broker.
    Another avgeek in San Francisco joined the Node-RED clan and helped me with some code to get the data out of PC-HFDL log file and DDE feed.
    We are so happy with the improved decode rate and stability of it vs Sorcerer (that we have been struggling with).
    Its really given HFDL a massive boost in usefulness.
    Now we can really stop and consider the autoswitch code to track the HF propagation and aircraft.
  • Radiosonde.
    I have added a docker container to the system and am now tracking Radiosonde launches and any high altitude balloons.
    Its pretty good fun.
  • SatNOGS.
    Their software continues to be very unstable/unreliable and I am getting a little sick of the constant crashing.
    I have a bunch of money and time invested in the stations and love the crowd sourced data concept, but its getting tiring keeping it going.

  • SatNOGS

    I have picked up a side hobby of tracking small cube satellites and decoding their data.
    Sounds tricky, but honestly, its all been made super simple by the SatNOGS guys…. Satellite Network of Ground Stations….. Just load their Raspberry Pi image, hook up an antenna and receiver and you are up and running.
    They do all the hard work of tracking the sats, triggering your station and handling the decoding.
    (Its not that easy, but you get the idea).
    I started with a home made antenna, but got hooked on the concept so put my money where my time was and bought two antennas from a company in Florida. (Antennas.us)

    Main reason I went with these is because they look like pipes. I am still mindful of being in a pretty strict HOA and did not want to draw any more attention that necessary.
    I have two, a VHF and a UHF. Both then run into amplifiers and then to my Raspberry Pis. So yeah, I run two stations. 702 and 908. Why two? One for VHF and one for UHF.
    Where all this becomes really fun is that you have to manually (at the moment – the guys are working on some machine learning stuff) ‘vet’ your signals that your station picks up. So every few days I check in with my stations and look at the data they have received and vet it as good, bad or failed.

    Here is a short video of one of my decodes. It gives you an idea of the signal, the graphics and the audio from the satellite in orbit.
    Its really quite addictive (for a geek).
    The plan is, after 10,000 vets of signals on my UHF station, to continue with the upgrades of both the amplifier and the receiver. The better you can make your station, the less vetting you need to do and the more data you kick back to the community.

    As for coverage, for the longest time Victoria was not on the map… I was almost at the point of sending you guys something to get us up and running!
    But thankfully VK3XN has stepped up and is running a station out Ringwood East way…. Anyway, the more global coverage, the better.

    So yeah, its been soaking up my hobby time in the most delightful way.