Receivers and Antennas

A small sample of some of the RTL-SDR, dedicated weather satellite receivers, scanners and antennas best suited to weather satellite reception. WXtoImg will work with just about any receiver capable of reception in the 137-138MHz FM band (but for best results requires a 30kHz – 50kHz bandwidth). It is not advisable to purchase just any scanner (most of which only support 15kHz or 230kHz bandwidths) if you intend to use it for weather satellite reception. However if you already have one available it is certainly worth trying.

A good, special-purpose antenna is needed no matter what receiver you choose. Antennas can be purchased or you can build your own.

You do not need a tone decoder, hardware demodulator, or PC interface to use WXtoImg. These items are generally expensive, unnecessary, and produce inferior results. WXtoImg uses the 16-bit decoding capabilities of your computer’s sound card and the power of modern processors to produce optimal results.

You need only a receiver, an antenna (and cable), and a cable to connect the receiver line/audio out to your computer’s sound card. A pre-amplifier is generally unnecessary but may help when used with general purpose communication receivers and scanners.

Receivers

  • RTL-SDR Dongles
  • Dedicated Weather Satellite Receivers
    • Wraase Electronic WeSaCom APT-06 – fully assembled dedicated weather satellite receiver with computer control and high-Q helical filters
    • R2FU – fully assembled, computer controlled weather satellite receiver with strong filtering
    • EMGO RX134141MHZ – kit and fully assembled weather satellite receivers with LCD display and computer control
  • Scanners with a bandwidth setting (30-50 kHz) for Weather Satellites
    • AOR AR2300 – very expensive, general purpose communications receiver suitable for satellite reception, has built-in PC control
    • ICOM PCR1500 – no longer available, general purpose PC based scanner suitable for satellite reception where interference is not a problem, has built-in PC control

 

There is an excellent tutorial on how to setup a Raspberry Pi with an RTL-SDR Dongle and automatically capture images.  You can check it out here.

Antennas

  • Quadrafilar Helix (QFH, QFHA, QHA) – one of the best performing antennas
  • Other high – performance and specialty antennas
    • KX-137 – crossed dipole antenna which may outperform QFH antennas
    • MX-137 – small antenna suitable for use on board
    • K5OE Eggbeater II – nice RHCP antenna with high gain at low elevation
  • Lindenblad – excellent performance at low elevations
  • Turnstile: good performing antennas which are generally less expensive

Antenna Rotor Controllers

Antenna Rotor Controllers are optional but when used with a large 137MHz yagi, WXtoImg can control azimuth-elevation antenna rotors to give unprecedented reception. Upgraded versions of WXtoImg can currently control the following rotor controllers

Any EASYCOMM-I, GS-232 or RC2800 compatible controller should work with WXtoImg software.

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