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.
I have made a similar setup, although my LNB is not yet locked to an external reference so it drifts by several tens of kHz between a hot day and a cool night.
I found several of those beacons as well by just tuning across the range…
I’m using an SDRPlay RSP1A as the backend, set to 5 MHz bandwidth.
We are all impatiently waiting for launch 🙂
Do you know of any satellite beacons I will be able to receive without an lnb? can I simply connect my dish network antenna to the sdr input and see the beacon?
What do you mean by your “dish network antenna”?
Thanks for the fast reply!
is my satellite tv service. I thought that maybe by connecting the antenna from the dish on my roof directly to my sdr, I would be able to view their beacon, if they have any. What do you think?
Probably yes. Also note that most likely you have an LNB at your satellite dish. You should know some details about the LNB, such as LO frequency.
you’d better have a dc blocking capacitor in your sdr before powering the LNB or you’ll let the magic smoke out post haste
Some SDRs have an AC coupled input. The first thing they have is a capacitor in series. But the capacitor may be rated to a low voltage only, like 6V. So before connecting anything with DC to a receiver you should know what you’re doing. And in case of doubt put a DC block.
I am curious to know how you know which frequency you tracked. Because after LNB everything is in 950-1900 MHz. Which software do you use to get the picture?
The local oscillator of the LNB is either 9750MHz or 10600MHz.
Is it possible to decode the beacon data for identifying what TV satellite one is pointed at? I haven’t had much luck researching this
It’s technically possible, but the details about the modulation, coding, etc. used by these beacons are often not public.
I thought they would be required to ID like all other radio transmissions. Like AM/FM radio, TV, hams, even NOAA weather radio.
The topic is quite interesting. I’m curious to know how do you power up the KU band LNB with out a receiver. Then If I use a receiver to power and then connect the SDR with a power pass splitter will that technically work? Is this project just for finding the signals only, can you see the video?
In this case I was using a DVB-S2 receiver to supply power to the LNB. The DVB-S2 receiver and the SDR were both connected through a splitter to the LNB. There was a DC-block in front of the SDR. It’s also possible to use a bias-tee instead.
When I did this, I only wanted to scan around for the satellite beacons, but it’s certainly possible to decode DVB-S2 using SDR.