The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages a few satellites in low earth orbit. There are three actively transmitting APT signals at the moment, NOAA15, 17, and 18. Each of these satellites passes overhead a few times a day. I’ve been interested in learning how to receive their signals for a while now, and I’ve finally succeeded!
A bit ago, I bought a “SoftRock” SDR (Software Defined Radio, read the excellent 3-part article by Bob Larkin at the ARRL site.) receiver kit from Tony Parks. (A note about his site, he puts a few kits up for sale a few times a month, so he’s almost always sold out.) I think SDR is really, really interesting. I don’t want to get too bogged down in the details of it, because it’s not the point of this post, but I’m going to briefly discuss it. Basically, the idea is that you want to have some minimum amount of electronics to deal with the antenna; letting your computer handle the rest. This can take a variety of forms, but the simplest is the QSD, or Quadrature Sampling Detector.
Neat, you can pull down the images on your own, very cool!