To track and receive some data from satellites, or should I say cubesats - which are kind of popular these days, which is the minimum investment? What's cheapest/easiest satellite to begin with? Besides a laptop which equipment do I need?
With as little as about £20 you can get going. For a starter you can try to listen to the CW beacons of cubesats like UKube-1. They are in good old morse code and usually transmitting in the 2m amateur band. I built the cheapest tracking yagi out of an old venetian blind and used an RTL-SDR dongle as the receiver.
Here are two articles I wrote about the subject:
Low budget satellite tracking