Receiving Ku-band geostationary satellite beacons

After sorting out some problems with several connectors which caused huge phase noise in the external 27MHz reference, I have my 10GHz receiver up and running as it should. This station will be used to receive Es'hail-2 in the future. The station is composed of a 95cm offset dish, an Avenger PLL321S-2 Ku-band LNBF modified to use an external 27MHz reference, an OCXO/Si5351A kit used as the 27MHz reference, an RTL-SDR, and a cheap DVB-S2 receiver as a power supply (this allows me to change polarizations and LO frequency easily).

The dish is pointing to the 26ºE or 25.5ºE orbital position, where Es'hail-2 will be. Actually, I have pointed the dish to peak the beacon from BADR-5 the best I can. To test the performance of the station, I have tried to receive the beacons from several Ku-band satellites. Here are the results.

A good reference to do this sort of experiments is the following beacon list. It also includes waterfall plots of many beacons, so sometimes you can identify a satellite not only by its frequency and polarization but also from the shape of its beacon in the waterfall.

The list of satellites heard is as follows (all with the dish pointing towards 26ºE):

  • 19.2ºE Astra 1N, Astra 1M, Astra 1L
  • 21.5ºE Eutelsat 21B
  • 23.5ºE Astra 3B
  • 25.5ºE Es'Hail 1
  • 26.0ºE BADR-5, BADR-6
  • 28.2ºE Astra 2F, Astra 2G
  • 28.5ºE Astra 2E

Below you can find the list of waterfall plots. It is recommended to click on each image to view it in full size. The signal strength is the signal to noise ratio of the beacon carrier in 500Hz bandwidth.

11200MHz H pol
11200MHz H pol
11446MHz H pol
11446MHz H pol
11453MHz V pol
11453MHz V pol
11699MHz H pol
11699MHz H pol
11699MHz V pol
11699MHz V pol
11702MHz V pol
11702MHz V pol
11708MHz V pol
11708MHz V pol
11711MHz V pol
11711MHz V pol

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