edit: If the Union of Concerned Scientists is too ideological (?):
I don't have a weather app installed on my phone specifically because NOAA doesn't publish one...now I know why.
When I'm driving to the office or on travel and want a snapshot of the current weather, I call ASOS for the relevant area and a bot on repeat tells me what conditions look like, e.g. try (650)827-8593 for San Francisco, or (404)762-1121 for Atlanta. It's a resource that really isn't known outside of the aviation industry, but it's there and publicly available.
EDIT: Fat-fingered the number for SFO ASOS...corrected.
EDIT^2: In the spirit of following cookie crumb trails, I did a quick search on congress.gov for "national weather service" and found this particularly damning piece of legislation introduced in the Senate. Unlike the 2005 legislation cited in the article which fell flat on its face, this one looks to more systematically nerf the National Weather Service at taxpayer expense to the benefit of commercial interests. It definitely wasn't a political exaggeration that the NWS is under attack.
I just read it, and it appears entirely relevant to what the poster was talking about -- efforts to prevent NOAA from providing high-quality data products directly to the public.
There is a link in the video description for a DIY alternative, but its a little intimidating for a beginner like me (there are no WIP pictures!)
Anyone have any tips/links for someone interested in building a DIY, lower cost antenna for receiving these weather satellite signals?
Similar to what this person's doing: https://www.instructables.com/id/NOAA-Satellite-Signals-with...
I tried this and whilst I could detect the signal carrier, I did not manage to decode more than about a few dozen lines of image.
sdr-radio V3 with its satellite tracking plugin makes the receiver part easy, and does the Doppler correction for you.
I lost myself in this stuff for years and had to just stop. It's a lot of fun.
I think the service was called WEFAX, but my memory is a little hazy. It was used to send weather maps and satellite photos to ships at sea.
Does this still exist on shortwave, or is it all on satellite now?
I'm just starting out but got inspired after watching this video (no affiliation with the channel).
People have been able to get some stunning pictures of the earth from those satellites.
If you're interested, check out r/rtlsdr, which is where I first was introduced to the hobby. It's full of helpful people.
- an old TV pulled apart so the tube could be driver directly
- horizontal sync detector that reset the horizontal beam on the TV and advanced the vertical
- an FSK->analog to drive the spot amplitude as it swept across the TV
- a VHF receiver
- someone with a homemade antenna pointing it at the sky, tracking manually by listening for the noise floor
- a camera in a dark room and an operator who would open the aperture and start taking a photo when the pass started and closed it when the beam hot the bottom of the TV
We did sat tracking on the local uni's mainframe so we knew where in the sky and when a pass would start. The satellites in those days made low passes and essentially took line by line of image as they moved thru their orbits. We could also get world wide images from a geostationary satellite that gave us 12 images made by stitching everything together (and whiting out all the communist countries).
In those days a ground station cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and were essentially (pre-commercial) faxes that printed on paper - our photos were higher quality
Also one time I was browsing different frequencies and I happened to stumble upon some conversation between two strangers. Neat what you can find.
Also, you don't need a USB SDR per se; the Baofengs will work fine as its just an FM audio signal. The video shows this, but for reference, the three satellites transmitting APT pictures:
As others have mentioned, you don't need a fancy antenna; even a car magnetic mount 2-meter ham radio antenna will work to an extent; the problem and fun part about this is it's wonderfully analong ... any noise in the signal shows up at snow in the picture, and if your antenna isn't circularly polarized, the strength will fade in and out as the satellite moves over the horizon. Still, it works well enough to try out. In fact, even the rubber duck on the Baofeng will kind of work if its a high elevation pass (70-90 degress) as the satellite is closer and has less atmospheric attenuation. A trick I've done in the past is just to record the output of the Baofeng on your phone's voice memo app and play it back later when you're back inside.
Finally, it's worth noting that APT (the tech in this video) is somewhat deprecated, but if you have an SDR already, for somewhat more effort you can receive the digital equivalent https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-rate_picture_transmission
NOAA 15 137.62MHz
NOAA 18 137.9125MHz
NOAA 19 137.10MHz
Also, if you're using a Baofeng, set it to wideband FM in the menu. The APT signal has fairly wide FM modulation compared to most terrestrial voice FM, and even wideband mode won't be enough. It'll still work in any case, but has the effect that the contrast of the picture is somewhat clipped the narrower your receive bandwidth is.