NOAA 18 southbound 39W at 03 Oct 2017 14:38:27 GMT on 137.9125MHz, HVCT enhancement, Normal projection, Channel A: 1 (visible), Channel B: 4 (thermal infrared)

Well, I’ve wandered into yet another avenue to explore. This time it’s receiving weather satellite images.

It came about as a result of reviewing the amateur radio and related software available for Mac OSX and iOS. Mac Ham Radio does a good job of listing what’s available and providing some timely notice on updates, etc. Wandering through their listing I came across WXtoImg. So I downloaded it, read through the start-up directions, and got things working.

I’m running the freeware version. They offer upgrades to Standard and Professional versions and apparently gave up on selling them, so posted they upgrade keys on their homepage. But unfortunately, the upgrade keys don’t work. None the less, it does process the images fairly well.

Update: I’ve found license keys that work. See this WxForum Message. This key opens up all the professional version features.

The NOAA satellites transmit FM on 137 MHz. NOAA 15, 18, and 19 are available. The software developers recommend that you use a receiver with a 30 kHz to 50 kHz bandwidth. I’m using my IC-9100 with its 15 kHz bandwidth. So the images could be better.

I’m also using my 2 meter antenna pointed at the satellite with MacDoppler handling the frequency adjustments to provide correction for the doppler effect. Plus, I’m manually rotating the antenna to track the satellite. Some of the blank spots in the images are due to the satellite going directly overhead where I miss some of the signal since my antenna elevation is fixed at 15 degrees. But the rest of the track seems to work reasonably well.

You can find a couple of the images posted below. Not too bad and another fun radio adventure.

NOAA 18 southbound 39W at 03 Oct 2017 14:38:27 GMT on 137.9125MHz, HVCT enhancement, Normal projection, Channel A: 1 (visible), Channel B: 4 (thermal infrared)
NOAA 19 northbound 86E at 02 Oct 2017 21:25:16 GMT on 137.10MHz, contrast enhancement, Normal projection, Channel A: 2 (near infrared), Channel B: 4 (thermal infrared)
NOAA 18 southbound 31W at 02 Oct 2017 14:50:16 GMT on 137.9125MHz, contrast enhancement, Normal projection, Channel A: 1 (visible), Channel B: 4 (thermal infrared)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Cool adventure Jim! I did spot multiple NOAA-receivers in the junkbox at our local radio club. Always want to start this project myself. Didn’t know you could receive this with a regular amateur receiver! Now it becomes even more interesting! Maybe a post about this on my blog in the near future! 😉

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