Available exclusively on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, this bundle will allow you to receive detailed, high-resolution, near real-time images from orbiting weather satellites. With as little as an hour of setup, you will be receiving LRIT, HRIT and HRPT GOES transmissions, error-free and with ease!
Included in the GOES Weather Satellite SDR bundle is:
- A GOES parabolic reflector antenna
- NESDR SMArTee XTR SDR receiver
- SAWbird+ GOES LNA module
- 10m LMR400 cable,
- other cables and adapters required for a full GOES receiver
Just add a host device and software, and you are ready to go!
Antenna Specifications: The 21dBi antenna is meant for high gain L-band applications where the antenna is stationary. The center frequency is 1.75GHz, and bandwidth is 200MHz or greater. This encompasses many popular weather satellite applications and constellations.
Antenna Assembly Instructions
Please refer to the set-up guide below and the image above to assemble the parabolic reflector antenna.
Tools required (not provided):
- 1 adjustable wrench or a socket wrench
- 1 small Phillips-head screwdriver
- 1 small level (optional)
1.0 INVENTORY THE PARTS
Unpack, organize, and count all of the parts to be sure everything will be available when you start assembling the GOES grid antenna. This will also give you a general idea of how parts fit together.
There are 3 different bolt sizes, each bolt with a lock washer, regular washer and nut. Also, one small Phillips head screw.
Parts total: 33 pieces
1.2 Grid Antenna
There are two sections to the Nooelec GOES grid antenna which will be fastened together to form a complete parabolic reflector. Both sections are the same:
Parts total: 2 pieces
1.3 Boom (Feed Arm)
The boom has a bracket with holes for bolts (left end) used to attach it to the assembled grid antenna and a short length of coaxial cable with a male SMA connector. At the other end of the boom the feed element will be installed on the black plastic housing.
Parts total: 1 piece
1.4 Feed Element
Attaches to the Boom.
Parts total: 1 piece
1.5 Mounting Bracket
An L-bracket that attaches the grid antenna to a mounting pole with supplied U-bolt and clamp. On the left side notice several holes in an arc and a curved slot. Installation instructions below will explain their use.
Parts total: 1 piece
1.6 U-Bolts and Hardware for Mounting Bracket
U-bolt, clamp, washers and nuts used to secure the grid antenna to a mounting pole. You need only one U-bolt assembly for a GOES grid antenna, consisting of 1 U-bolt, 1 pole clamp, 2 lock washers, 2 regular washers, and 2 nuts for a total of 8 different parts. Two U-bolt assemblies are included to give users additional mounting options as needed.
Parts total: 8 pieces
2.0 STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
These instructions are for a horizontal mount (longer dimension of the antenna is in the horizontal orientation) although a vertical mount is also possible. That would require the L-bracket be rotated 90 degrees when attached to the antenna.
2.1 Fasten together the two halves of the grid antenna
Photo 1. Tabs indicated in green used to join the 2 sections of the grid antenna
Photo 2. Detail of 2 tabs connected with smallest bolt.
There are six tabs on each side of the grid antenna that easily slide together. Using the 4 smallest bolts, washers and nuts (see Section 1.1), fasten the two halves together using the 4 tabs circled in green in Photo 1.
Tighten the bolts snugly but do not over-tighten. Although the wind load of a grid antenna is low, it’s better to avoid the possibility of parts shifting when installed outdoors.
2.2 Install L- bracket and Boom
Photo 3. Positioning the boom on the front of the GOES antenna
Photo 4. Orientation of the Boom and Feed Element
Photo 5. Positioning the L-bracket on the back of the GOES antenna.
From the front side of the grid antenna, position the Boom and pass the coaxial cable through the central opening and through the L-bracket positioned as shown at the back of the antenna. The holes on the boom bracket need to be vertically aligned with the two final mounting holes in the center of the antenna (as shown in Photo 3).
Insert the longest bolts (see Section 1.1) through the tabs on the boom bracket so they pass through to the L-bracket at the back of the antenna and fasten.
Finally, insert the medium length bolts through the two remaining openings (horizontal to the antenna), through the L-bracket on the back, and fasten. Be certain all bolts have been tightened securely to hold the boom in place. Use the washers and lock washers supplied.
The last step is to install the feed element on the end of the boom (as shown in Photo 4). It is a good idea to leave this until you are ready to mount the antenna to avoid damaging or bending the feed element. Use the small Phillips-head screw to attach it to the black plastic housing. The housing is designed with a protrusion that assures correct orientation of the feed element.
An optional step is illustrated below in Photo 6. To assure that the boom is perpendicular to the grid antenna, you can rest the antenna with the top and bottom aligned perpendicular to the floor (90 degrees). Then use a small level to verify that the boom is level. If it is close, then everything is properly tightened and the components are in good shape.
Photo 6. With the GOES antenna positioned at a 90 degree angle to the floor, you can confirm the boom is level.
Your GOES grid antenna is now ready to mount outside and align with either GOES 16/17 satellites. The alignment procedures are not detailed here. However, the L-bracket will be described in the following section so that you understand how it works when you are ready to mount and align your grid antenna.
3.0 THE L-BRACKET – HOW IT WORKS
Photo 7. Grid antenna mounted on a post. In this example it is set for 40 degrees elevation.
There are two methods of securing the GOES antenna on a vertical pole using the L-bracket, allowing you to adjust the elevation to aim at the satellite from your longitude and latitude. The first method is shown in Photo 7. The L-bracket is designed to be used for horizontal mounting as well, but that will not work for us since we need to be able to adjust the elevation angle.
- Elevation at 10 degree intervals. In Photo 7 the antenna is mounted with one leg of the U-bolt inserted in one of the seven holes to the side of the curved slot. These holes are spaced at 10 degree increments from 0 – 60 degrees. In this case the U-bolt is placed in the 40 degree hole since that is within a degree or so of the required elevation at the example installation site. The other leg is inserted in the hole at the other end of the green line (line added only for illustration purposes).
- Adjustable elevation from 0-60 degrees. If your location requires, for example, a 35 degree elevation, then you would insert the U-bolt in the curved slot and the hole at the end of the orange line (line added only for illustration purposes). This provides continuous adjustment of the elevation angle from 0 to 60 degrees for accurate aiming.
Even though you are installing the antenna where the elevation is an even 10-degree interval, you might decide to use the continuous curved slot anyway. By doing so you are able to make fine adjustments to elevation even after the antenna is secured to the mounting pole.
4.0 AIMING AT A GOES SATELLITE
The process of aiming the GOES grid dish at one of the two GOES satellites (16 or 17) and fine tuning the aim for maximum signal strength is not covered in these assembly instructions. However, we recommend visiting DishPointer to determine the Azimuth and Elevation of either GOES satellite based on the coordinates of your location. That will help you choose a location for the antenna that provides an unobstructed view of one of the GOES satellites.
You should also use a Look Angle Calculator to determine how to aim the antenna from your mounting location to maximize signal strength.
Once you have assembled and installed the antenna, follow the diagram below to connect the rest of your RF equipment.
Need more support? Contact us using the Support chat window in the bottom-right corner of the page. One of our Customer Support Specialists would be happy to assist you!
Great guide! One important note: in my location, DishPointer indicated a high LNB skew angle was necessary for both GOES16 and GOES17. Following the guide verbatim to mount the antenna horizontally, I couldn't get a high quality signal at all. I re-attached the antenna/boom rotated 45 degrees to the L plate, i.e. putting the 4 longer bolts through the other four holes in the L plate, and immediately got a good signal.
I recommend updating the guide to instruct people to check the LNB skew angle before assembly, explain if a clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation is required, and factor this in at the point of attaching the L plate to the antenna/boom.
Thanks for a great product.
Great point Jim, we will pass it on and update the guide accordingly :) I'm glad you got things up and running!
I purchased the bundle approx two weeks ago and have been struggling. Haven't been able to receive a single packet via goestools. in play are:
Ubuntu virtual machine loaded with Goestools per linux installation instructions
Nesdr Smart XTR and Sawbird+ NOAA
Goesrecv see's the SDR, knows when it's plugged into USB or not. I have dish LNB direct into Input side of Sawbird, NO POWER to Sawbird....as I'm told the XTR handles that (no power light on Sawbird LED either) and then the Sawbird plugs into the SDR. SDR into USB, etc...
2022-10-23T14:54:15Z [monitor] gain: 55.68, freq: -437.3, omega: 2.374, vit(avg): 2198, rs(sum): 0, packets: 0, drops: 33
I've taken the Sawbird out of the wiring path, no effect. Should I be looking at my hardware? Literally every day and night, fine-tuning my antenna angles with zero results.
I hope someone has some great advice for me and my budding child scientists!
Hi Steve! Your SAWbird should have the light on if it is powered. There might be something wrong, either with your installation or the LNA itself.
The easiest thing to do is open a support ticket with images of your installation so we can get this resolved for you ASAP :) Thanks!
Just getting started with this and have a question:
Given a choice between:
mounting the GOES LNA and SMArtee dongle together in a weather-proof box right at the antenna, with a long usb cable to the computer,
connecting the dongle at the end of a long coax cable to bring it closer to the computer,
is there a preference (as far as signal quality)? (And, will the dongle have enough heat dissipation if it is enclosed in a sealed box?)
Hi, Gordon, great question!
All cables will have some loss that are proportional to their length. There is no such loss once analog data is converted to digital data. So, theoretically, your best bet for signal quality is the former.
However, the caveat here is that you need to ensure your weatherproof box has sufficient cooling for the SDR, or you run the risk of damaging the device. The SDR is cooled by convection current, which is negligible inside a sealed environment. Secondly, you may need to use an active USB cable, as the cable length limit is 5m (15').
Fortunately, either way you should have sufficient signal reception for decoding GOES without error, so the choice is yours! Thanks for your support :)
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