Friday, September 19, 2014

High resolution weather satellite pics with RTL-SDR

Russia launched a weather satellite last July that downlinks LRPT digital images on the same frequency band that NOAA broadcasts archaic, poor APT analog pictures.

These LRPT (Low Resolution Picture Transmission) actually are superb compared to their analog counterparts, 12 times the resolution. They can be decoded using a simple RTL-SDR radio and some free software. Full instructions here.

It takes quite a bit of fussing to get the gain settings on your RTL-SDR correct, you're lucky to get a good, high pass of the Russian satellite, called Meteor M N2. I finally managed a good shot of the Great Basin (mainly the state of Nevada) today. Clearly visible are the lakes of Tahoe, Great Salt Lake, Mono, Walker, Mead, and many others. The contrast of the basin-and-range of the Great Basin is visible clearly.

Currently (Sept. 19, 2014) the satellite is using only the red and green channels so the picture is tinted funny, but still quite striking.

Great Basin USA

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