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We received photos of Earth from NOAA satellites! (27-06-2021)

On the 27th of June, our COMM Team has successfully received and decoded photos from the NOAA-18 weather satellite, captured a signal from the International Space Station, as well as decoded APRS messages!

From left to right: Tymoteusz Pardej, Kalina Jackiewcz (Project Leader), Arden Kost, Ignacy Michałowski (COMM-Team leader).

We were equipped with two VHF/UHF antennas for 440 MHz and 144 MHz – an omnidirectional antenna (Diamond X30N 130 cm) and a directional Yagi antenna (ARROW 146/437-10BP).

At first we have captured a signal from the International Space Station (ISS) with only a handheld radio and the Yagi antenna. We’ve noticed that it was spoken in the NATO phonetic alphabet – a code commonly used by ham radio operators.
The signal can be heard here:

Next, we have successfully decoded APRS messages with the HDSDR and AFSK1200 programs, which was the first step at learning how to deal with digital radiocommunication!

What is APRS? The Automatic Packet Reporting System is a radio-based system for real time digital communications. APRS can be used as a GPS tracker, for receiving weather station telemetry, sharing locations, exchanging text messages, and other telemetry. Some people even call it the “post-apocalyptic internet”, which is not surprising, when we look at the larger scale of its communication and data exchange capabilities:

As the last challenge of the day, we have captured a signal from the NOAA-18 weather satellite and successfully decoded it!

SDRSharp program

For capturing the signal, we used a Software Designed Radio called FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and the SDRSharp program.

At the end, with the help of the WXtoimg program, we have decoded these beautiful pictures of Earth, and here are the results!

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