Receiving NOAA Satellite Images with RTL-SDR on Linux

15 June 2019

I have done quite a few round trips driving between Melbourne and Sydney since the start of this year. The enormous amount of time spent on the roads has made me looking into CB (Citizen Band), which is used by truck drivers for communication. It eventually led me to the interesting hobby that is Amateur Radio.

Part of the hobby involves using amateur radio equipments to communicate with the many satellites that pass over your head everyday. There’s the International Space Station (ISS), in which the astronaunts occasionally make voice contacts to hams on Earth; and ISS SSTV, where the ARISS Russian Team sends down images to earth using SSTV every now and then. Then there is the NOAA weather satellites, which continously1 send down weather imagery to Earth over radio.

In my setup, I have:

For detailed instructions to set this up end-to-end, you can follow:

Results

Here are a few more enhanced images from a morning pass (orbit 72489) of NOAA 18 over Sydney today:

Tips

General

Gqrx

Map Overlays in WXtoImg

WXtoImg overlays map on your decoded image, by pinpointing the relevant satellite pass, according to the modified timestamp of your audio file and your recording location. For this, you need to:

WXtoImg

  1. Only NOAA 15, 18 and 19 actively send images down at the time of writing. 

  2. A copy of the keys posted

    2017 Standard Edition Upgrade Key
    Install in Help -> Enter Upgrade Key (use upper/lower case exactly as below):
    Full Name: WXtoImg Standard
    Email Address: your email address
    Upgrade Key: TYLQ-KGKT-7M73-U86U-EAQ2
    
    2017 Professional Edition Upgrade Key
    Full Name: WXtoImg Professional
    Email Address: your email address
    Upgrade Key: YKC7-6LXP-SL92-SZWT-D4HX 
    
    2018 Professional Edition Upgrade Key
    Given that the original dev seems to have wanted to make the full version available to everyone before disappearing, I'm putting a valid license key/info here - if someone wants this removed, feel free to get in touch and I'll take it down. 
    
    Full Name: Kevin Schuchmann
    Email Address: your email address 
    Upgrade Key: CGHZ-PP9G-EAJZ-AWKK-NDNX 
    

? amateur radio
# noaa rtlsdr gqrx sox wxtoimg