I'm a newbie in such domain and I was reading some articles around the internet and what attracted me most is using the GnuRadio to see NOAA images using some cheap hardware.

I looked further it turned out that this cheap hardware is only for receiving and not transmitting and other hardware with Rx/Tx capabilities are expensive (USRP or HackRF One).

So, I am aiming to visualize some images from NOAA using the GnuRadio but I'm confused about which dongle to buy ( Preferably with Rx/Tx capabilities). and For Rx only I found a couple of options on Amazon, so which one is more suitable for such kind of applications (Provide a link if possible).

  • $\begingroup$ I see a lot of information at Google using one of your key phrases. google.com/search?q=GnuRadio+to+see+NOAA+images Perhaps you could visit this search then come back and ask something more specific. Also, note that we do not give product recommendations here. But you are welcome to ask about any problems you are encountering in a specific implementation. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Aug 10 '17 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ @SDsolar what do you think, can we rephrase this question to "what specifications to look for when doing XYZ", so that we can then reopen it? $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Aug 11 '17 at 10:43
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    $\begingroup$ As a commenter, I question why anyone would want to spend 10x as much to have the ability to transmit in that band. Yes, the HackRF is cool and all that, but I don't see how transmit capability has anything to do with receiving NOAA images.. I would jump all over that one. Ok, I see you did! $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Aug 20 '17 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Marcus, Sure thing. I would start with what we know about NOAA satellites: 137 MHz, polar-orbiting. I would ask about antennas: Should I try to build a turnstyle for the first try, or is a flat-V oriented North-South sufficient. In other words, if it were me, I would do my homework first, then pose the question in terms of what are the tradeoffs between building it XX way vs YY way. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Aug 20 '17 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @a.nechi I don't see a need to use TX in that range to receive the images. If you remove the TX requirement, we can rephrase the question to make it a better fit for this particular site so that it's not a shopping question $\endgroup$ – YetAnotherRandomUser Jan 3 '19 at 14:09

Picking up NOAA imagery is mostly a feat of constructing a good antenna than having a high bandwidth, or great clock. Thus, for reception only, build a nice helical antenna, and any cheap RTL Dongle, as long as it works at 1.698 GHz – if you don't want to waste the signal quality you've earned through the antenna, a cheap LNA (Lna4all seems to be nice) will help. That'll cost you very little.

Regarding working at 1.698 GHz: The Osmocom RTL-SDR wiki page has a list of RTL dongle integrated tuners and the frequencies they reach. If in doupt, the rtl-sdr.com store dongle comes in a nice metal case and has the R820 tuner that works up to those frequencies

Now, for NOAA you need no TX; so, we can't tell any TX spec requirements from your question. All answers to your question would thus be based on guesses, and personal preferences! So, write down proper specs, and ask a new question about TX-capable SDRs. You'll want to specify:

  • The range of center frequencies you want to cover
  • The instantaneous bandwidth you'd like
  • Ideally, a Noise Figure requirement; but that's hard for a beginner to guess, so instead,
    • Describe what you want to do with that SDR, in more detail than "transmit":
    • Transmit and Receive what kind of signals
    • How weak are these signals, or from how far do they come, or what is your plan to do with these signals?

Point is that an SDR is really just an universal device: It lets you capture the radio signals "as they are on the air", and calculate the signal to be put on the air in your computer. So, an SDR doesn't serve a single purpose that we can guess from the start – you'll need to find out what you want to do, and then we'll be able to help you :)

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for the clear answer and the good explanation ... For now, I intend only to use the GnuRadio to receive image from NOAA, observe and analyze what is happening. $\endgroup$ – A.nechi Aug 9 '17 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ So then your question becomes one about antennas. I recommend a flat-V oriented North-South first, before attempting to build a turnstile. Google can help you understand both so you can make the tradeoffs. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Aug 20 '17 at 21:04

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