I would like to build an antenna for receiving NOAA weather satellites. They're receivable at around 137.5 Mhz. I'm a total new to amateur radio stuff. I know that it's not legal to communicate as private person on several frequency areas- so I would like to know if it's legal to "listen-only" to those satellites on this frequency.

I'm here because I haven't found any sources proofing that it's legal or not.

If it matters, I live in Germany.


2 Answers 2


Here in EU it's perfectly legal to receive transmission on any frequency. Additional restrictions may apply if the transmission is not mean to be public, for example encrypted Wi-Fi networks or government agencies radios. (source: Telekommunikationsgesetz (TKG) § 89).

  • $\begingroup$ Receiving is almost always legal. Decrypting things that you aren't supposed to is often illegal. $\endgroup$ Nov 16, 2015 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ EU? What about UK, where it's illegal to listen to transmissions not intended for general public? (But weather broadcasts are explicitly exempt) $\endgroup$
    – AndrejaKo
    Nov 16, 2015 at 22:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @PearsonArtPhoto Passing information on to others is usually another point of interest. Just because it's radio, and just because you are allowed to receive the transmission, doesn't necessarily mean you are allowed to relay the information thus obtained to others. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Nov 18, 2015 at 13:06

Here in the US, it is perfectly legal for you to listen and "download" the satellite data. Since the data is created by a public agency, it is considered to be in the public domain and not subject to copyright. On this website at http://www.weather.gov/disclaimer, you can find the following:

"The information on National Weather Service (NWS) Web pages are in the public domain, unless specifically noted otherwise, and may be used without charge for any lawful purpose so long as you do not: 1) claim it is your own (e.g., by claiming copyright for NWS information -- see below), 2) use it in a manner that implies an endorsement or affiliation with NOAA/NWS, or 3) modify its content and then present it as official government material. You also cannot present information of your own in a way that makes it appear to be official government information."

There's a lot more information there that you should read. I am not a lawyer, but I would assume that with the information being in the public domain and with Germany being a Berne Convention signatory, you should be just fine.

You might want to contact your country's copyright office and make sure, but I use the weather fax as transmitted on HF all the time here.

73, Sean KD5COL


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