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HOW TO RECEIVE APT PICTURES FROM THE NOAA SATELLITES


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HOW TO RECEIVE APT PICTURES FROM THE NOAA SATELLITES

----------------------------------------------------



Courtesy Dallas Remote Imaging Group

Datalink RBBS =============> 214-394-7438


Dedicated to satellite tracking, decoding of NOAA/Soviet

meteorological satellite telemetry, and Digital Image

Processing of satellite pictures.


Jeff Wallach, N5ITU, Chairman


John Williams, Co-Chairman

Tom Kelso, Air Force/NASA liason

Jim Blocker, KF5IW, Director Software Development

Jose Sancho WB5YFU, Director of Engineering


All aspects of Amateur Radio covered on Datalink RBBS


(IF YOU COPY THIS BULLETIN FOR OTHER SYSTEMS, PLEASE BE KIND ENOUGH

TO LEAVE THIS BANNER AS DUE CREDIT TO THE HARD-WORKING FOLKS WHO

DEVELOPED AND CONTINUALLY UPDATE THIS INFORMATIVE 'HOW-TO'BULLETIN)



December 15, 1987

(rev 6)


Tom Gentry, K5VOU, has been kind enough to help prepare the following:



HOW TO RECEIVE APT PICTURES FROM THE NOAA SATELLITES

----------------------------------------------------


So you have decided you want to receive the NOAA and Russian METEOR

orbiters and you have a radio that receives 137.500 MHz and a

computer. So now what do you do? I hope this short dissertation will

steer you in the correct direction.


To display a picture from the orbiting birds you need several things.

First you need to 'acquire' the satellite. This means you need the

program to calculate its position at any time and determine if you can

hear the signals from the 'bird'. The best place to get this program

is probably AMSAT-NA an organization dedicated to AMateur SATellites.

They have several very good tracking programs for the IBM and also for

Commodore and Apple as well. After you have acquired the program and

have it running on your computer, you then need the Keplerian Elements

for the NOAA satellites. These elements as well as some tracking

programs are available from the CELESTIAL RCP/M, run by TS Kelso, at

512-892-4180 (Austin, TX) and from the Weather Fax and Remote Imaging

DATALINK BBS run by Dr. Jeff Wallach, N5ITU as bulletins for some 50 +

sets of satellite data. Another bulletin also tells you to what the

printed numbers correspond so you can enter them into the computer

program. Use the newest elements you can find as the orbiting

satellites are subject to forces which change their orbits. If you use

Keplerian Elements more than 3 or 4 weeks old, your chances of hearing

the bird are reduced.


Once you are tracking the birds you should hear them on your receiver.

They will be on 137.62 (NOAA-9), 137.500 (NOAA-10), 137.850 (Meteor

2-14,2-15) and 137.4 (Meteor 2-16). Now comes the first thing

different about NOAA orbiters. The frequency deviation of the FM

transmission is about +/-18-20 kHz. This is 4 times the normal

deviation of a police call and 1/3 the deviation of the FM broadcast

band FM signal. If you receive the signal on the regular

communications width of the scanner the light areas of the picture

will be noisy and the signal will sound distorted and the picture will

basically be useless. If you use the FM broadcast bandwidth (assuming

your scanner will let you), the signal will be weak and there may be

too much background noise to see the picture. So what now ? Well there

are two ways to fix the problem, find a receiver with the proper I.F.

bandwidth filter of 50 kHz, or modify the I.F. of your scanner to

about 50-80 kHz. The simplest mod which has been found to be workable

is to remove the narrow communications I.F. filter and replace it with

a 0.01 uFd capacitor. This provides for good Wefax pictures from GOES

and pretty fair NOAA orbiter pictures. It can of course result in

retuning the radio, voiding the warranty and making the squelch not

work properly.


The other characteristic of the NOAA satellite transmissions is THEY

ARE WEAK. To get good pictures over a large area we have found a

pre-amplifier to be essential. A GaAs-FET type can be obtained from

various sources at a reasonable price but still about 50-100 dollars.

You can also build one for about 25 dollars from plans for a pre-amp

for the 2-meter amateur band and tune it to 137.5 easily.


Lastly but importantly, the antenna needs to be of an omni

directional, uniform pattern type such as a turnstile antenna similar

to those used in the FM broadcast reception business but of course

tuned to 137.5 MHz. Mount the pre-amp at the antenna if possible.

Crooked coathangers on broomsticks have been known to work with the

pre-amps mounted on the broomstick, so it is not difficult to build

the antenna.


Now that you have a nice audio signal from the satellite, what happens

next? The audio tone of 2400 HZ which is the carrier tone that is used

to carry the picture information (video), must be detected and the

video data converted from analog to digital and then displayed on the

computer monitor by the software. The hardware and software to do this

is available from several sources with more coming along. Several

stand-alone boxes are also available that produce some form of

computer output either in printed form or on the display. In addition

the people on the DATALINK BBS may also have some data to share with

you regarding this equipment.


One of the best sources for information is the Weather Satellite

Handbook available from Dr. Ralph Taggart of Michigan State University

at 602 S. Jefferson, Mason, MI 48854 for $12.50. Taggart also writes a

monthly WEATHERSAT column which appears in '73 Magazine. A must is THE

JOURNAL OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL SALELLITE AMATEUR USERS' GROUP - JESAUG -

which is published quarterly. It is available for $12.00 per year from

the editor, Greg Mengell, 2685 Ellenbrook Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA

95670. Back issues of the 'Journal' are also available.


At the present the simplest software for the IBM is the Elmer

Schweittek MULTIFAX 2.0 software. A hardware kit is available from A&A

Engineering which includes the video dectector circuit and A/D

converter. Input to the PC is via the game port. If you want to build

your own, complete documentation to build an interface circuit on an

IBM PC prototyping board is available from H. Paul Shuch, N6TX, for

$5.00 - FAXBOARD.


The WEPIX(tm) software and hardware should be available from Encomm

before Christmas time this year and it will produce pictures of 1200

lines 800 samples of each line displayed in 200 x 200 pixels in 16

shades of gray or 16 colors using an IBM PC with 640kB, EGA card and

at least one 360k disk.





'Typical' APT Receiving Station

-------------------------------



[1] ANTENNA

-

[2] PRE-AMP

-

-

-

- [ STAND ALONE UNITS ]

-

[3] RECEIVER -----------------> FAX MACHINE ---> PAPER

- WRASSE UNIT ---> MONITOR

- YU3UMV UNIT ---> MONITOR

-

-

-

[4] - VIDEO DETECTOR -

- -

- -

[5] - ANALOG/DIGITAL -

- -

- - [ SCAN CONVERTERS ]

- -

[6] - INTERFACE TO PC - <=======> ROBOT 1200

- - TAGGARTS'S WSH

- - IMAGEWISE

- -

[7] - SOFTWARE - ** SECOND DISPLAY **

- - for weather images

- -

- -

[8] - GRAPHICS ADAPTOR -

-

-

-

-

[9] PC DISPLAY / MONITOR


Display weather images

(or commands for SCAN CONVERTERS)



[10] PC PRINTER / DOT MATRIX / LASER



NOTES:

------


[4] VIDEO DETECTOR, [5] ANALOG/DIGITAL CONVERTER, and

[6] INTERFACE TO PC may be in seperate hardware units

or all on one circuit board.





Sources:

----------------------------------------------------------------------


NOAA Data / Keplerian Elements:


DATALINK RBBS, N5ITU, Dr. Jeff Wallach, 214-394-7438

DALLAS REMOTE IMAGING GROUP ELECTRONIC BULLETIN BOARD

UPDATES ON NOAA BULLETINS, SATELLITE LAUNCHES, FREQUENCIES

DISPLAY PICTURES FROM NOAA SATS ON YOUR OWN P.C.


CELESTIAL RCP/M, TS KELSO, 512-892-4180


Tracking Software:


AMSAT-NA, PO Box 27, Washington, DC 20044, Software Exchange,

phone 301-589-6062 (voice)

DATALINK BBS, download SATTRAK0.ARC or ORBIT1-C.ARC

CELESTIAL RCP/M, TS KELSO, 512-892-4180, SATTRAK0.ARC and others


Receivers:


Vanguard Labs, 196-23 Jamaica, Hollis, NY 11423,

phone 718-468-2720

Hamtroincs, Inc.,65-D Moul Road, Hilton, NY 14468-9535

phone 716-392-9430


Crystals:


JAN Crystals, 2400 Crystal Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33906-6017,

phone 1-800-237-3063 or 813-936-2397


Pre-Amps:


THL/Encomm, Inc, 1506 Capital Ave, Plano, TX 75074, phone 214-423-0024

Spectrum International,Inc., Box 1084, Concord MA 01742,

phone 617-263-2145

Vanguard Labs, Hamtronics and GLB for Helical RF Filters for intermod


Antennas:


ARRL Handbook, 1986, turnstile over ground antenna.

ARRL Satellite Experimenter's Handbook by Martin Davidoff, K2UBC


Hardware Interface to PC:


A&A Engineering, 2521 W. La Palma, Unit K, Anaheim, CA 92801,

phone 714-952-2114 - both AM dectector and A/D converter, input to PC

via game port (4-bits) or parallel I/O Interface (8-bits) - kit is

$50. - assembled and tested unit is $70.

Microcomm, H. Paul Shuch, N6TX, 14908 Sandy Lane, San Jose, CA 95124,

phone 408-377-6137 - FAXBOARD - A Weather Facsimile Display Board for

the IBM PC - Complete documentation to build your own interface

circuit on an IBM PC prototyping board - $5.00


Video Detectors:


RTM Circuit Boards, 205 Elm St.,Van Horne, IA 52346-0400,

video detector only (the 'Wilson Board') see QST Magazine, Jan '86

QST Magazine, August 1985, Grant Zehr article, page 27, video detector

circuit


A/D Converter & Parallel I/O Interfaces for the IBM PC:


MetraByte, 440 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton, MA 02780, Model PIO-12

board for the IBM PC, phone 617-880-3000

John Bell Engineering, Inc, 400 Oxford Way, Beimont, CA 94002,

phone 415-592-8411


Display Software:


Encomm, Inc. 1506 Capital, Plano, TX 75074, WEPIX(tm) system,

phone 214-423-0024

Elmer Schwittek, New Address: 2347 Coach House Lane, Naples, FL 33942,

Multifax 2.0, phone 813-434-2268

Clay Abrams Software, 1758 Comstock Lane, San Jose, CA 95124, software

for the ROBOT 1200 - see QST Magazine, Jan '86

Ralph Taggart, 602 S. Jefferson, Mason, MI 48854, Weather Satellite

Handbook Scan Converter - for the Radio Shack CoCo3 - see 73 Magazine,

Nov '84 and Dec '84 and Handbook

Marta Systems, 209 W. Santa Paula St, Santa Paula, CA 93060,

phone 805-933-1270, 'Live From Space' for the AMIGA PC - $500.

ImageWise Display/Receiver, Circuit Cellar Inc. - Micromint Inc.,

4 Park Street, Vernon, CT 06066, phone 203-871-6170 - BYTE Magazine,

May, Jun, Jul, Aug 1987. DATALINK can provide information on software

and video interface


Complete Systems - Hardware and Software:


Loren Johnson, P.O. Box 219, Cleveland, MN 56017, system for the

IBM-PC - $750, phone 507-931-4849

Greg Mengell, 2685 Ellenbrook Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670,

APT Associates, phone 916-364-1572, Wraase System and FAX recorders

(Ask for DEPT. J. == Specify referral by Dallas Remote Imaging Group)

YU3UMV Digital Storage and Scan Converter for Weather Satellite

Images, described in VHF Communications Magazine, Winter 4/82 and

Spring 1/83 - printed circuit baords and modifications described in

the Satellite Users' Group Journal - JESAUG - are also available from

Greg Mengell


Bibliography:


NOAA Satellite Predictions, see DATALINK Bulletins

NOAA APT NOTES, see DATALINK Bulletin

NOAA Bibliography, see DATALINK Bulletin

Summary of Soviet Meteorological Satellites, see DATALINK Bulletin

Wrasse Dedicated System, see DATALINK Bulletin

MULTIFAX 2.0, see review on DATALINK BBS - download MULTIFAX.DAT


Review DATALINK RBBS bulletins for more information.

DALLAS REMOTE IMAGING GROUP - DRIG ==============> 214-394-7438




 
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