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Mini Satellite Ground Station

This project turns our Mini Satellite-Antenna Rotators into a complete satellite-receiving ground station. Previously we used Gpredict and HAMLIB software running on a Raspberry Pi computer and a separate Yaesu FT-817 transceiver. However that setup was difficult to use and too expensive to build for our School Amateur Radio Club operation. This project provides the tracking and receiving parts using a Raspberry Pi computer and an RTL-SDR dongle. The software was written from scratch in Python, using the GNURadio and PyEphem libraries. The tracker has its own GPS receiver to get accurate time and location information. It uses WiFi to connect to the Internet and to student's mobile devices. It automatically downloads the latest satellite orbital information from the Internet. It is controlled via a web page, where students can select the satellites they want to track. It automatically schedules the tracking of each satellite in turn by controlling our Mini Satellite-Antenna Rotator and a built-in, all mode, VHF/UHF SDR receiver. It even provides automatic frequency and mode selection, with fast Doppler correction, of the receiver. This project costs around AU$200 and takes the hassle out of tracking satellites at lunchtime.

Satellite Tracker ComponentsComponents of the Satellite Tracker:
- Micro USB 5V power Supply
- USB GPS
- USB Extension Cable
- RTL-SDR Dongle
- Raspberry Pi 3 computer
- Micro SDHC Card