Building a Motorized Satellite Tracker for HRIT/HRPT Reception and Radio Astronomy – Part 1

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We’ve built a couple radio telescope on this channel over the years. The first took a picture of the sky in microwave frequencies and the second took a picture of wifi signals in a building. This time we’re scaling up both the size of the telescope and the quality and utility of the build.

Part of being a radio telescope is that it also happens to fulfill the role of satellite tracker which will allow us to receive data from more satellites that ever before. We looked previously at getting images from NOAA satellite, but they also put out a higher resolution image at a higher frequency near where the antenna is tuned to. Further, this exact antenna has been used for GOES 16 reception so we’ll give that a try when my new filter arrives.

Everything was either off the shelf or cut with a small CNC mill, but could be made by hand with sufficient patience. The SVG files for building on of these for yourself will be uploaded next week,



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As always, thanks to my awesome Patrons for helping to make these video possible.

Special thanks to:

Al Dass
Alexander Halbleib
Alexandre Castlenine
Alexandre Guhur
Anatoly Bazarov
Anita Fowler
Austin Morris
Ben Davis
Ben Krasnow
Ben Reay
Bennet Huch
Cataract Bumblesnatch
Evan wood
Jase Smith
Jim Mussared
John De Witt
Jonas Abreu
Jonathan Anderson
Justin Hendryx
Kevin Comerford
Leon Schutte
Michael Chatzidakis
Michael Gregg
Nicolas Pourtalé
Noah Pedersen
Patryk Wycech
Paul Richmond
Simon Hallam


Carsten Berggreen says:

I wonder how much loss you get from using the 2.4GHz antenna compared to a 1.7GHz antenna

nerdrulesu says:

lookin forward to part 2…though you will have much finer control using a worm drive than a cog gear, if coupled with an ultra fine planetary gearset you should be able to achieve super precise control with very little bounce back

Ricardo Becerra says:

For the big brother, should you set it up in some equatorial mount to remove at least the earth rotation?

Daniel Eliahu Shapiro says:

F-ing hell where do you get money to fund all this?!??! Patreon isnt enough.

unusual fabrication says:

YEES!! Super cool!

Vicente Bruno says:

Carai vei! Tu és foda! Vlw mano!

Isaac Westawski says:

Oh. Good morning i just woke up.

Ian Proffitt says:

Could your previous machine been so sensitive that it was picking up cellphone transitions?

Vector , says:

If you ever experience the pleassure of having to cut plastic again try using a soldering gun or your soldering iron 😉 Melting it is easier and more precise than cutting according to my experience

GogogoFollowMe says:

Hi, what LNA are you planning to use ?

Max Bainrot says:

Something you may want to consider is roller bearings some distance away from the thrust bearing, that will arrest any wobble in the Az axis. This is something I didn't do in mine that I 3D printed and paid the price dearly for it. Granted I thought a lazy suzan was a great thrust bearing other than a wee little bit of slidey slidey…. It definitely is NOT a great bearing lol

Make sure you keep your counterweight inline with your antenna otherwise the balance will be screwy (another dumb thing I did initially), remember the more counterweight you put, further away will also impact on the rotational inertia. Accelleration and decelleration is critical too! otherwise you will skip steps. And you guessed it, all dumb things I got wrong when I started my journey down the rabbit hole 🙂

Mine is going to be for catching the ellusive QSO with the international space station 😀

Hopefully me 5 cents saves you a weeeee bit of pain

Matthew Shaw says:

just the other day, i finally managed to get a good image from noaa 19. thank you so much, Thought Emporium, you gave me the idea, and the drive to finally finish it, and I have said that i will do this as my epq, so if it works, you will be respnsible for getting me an extra qualification, and you may even be responsible for me getting an apprenticeship

Yougotnomilk says:

damn your creative

WarGamerJustice says:

I love these Radio experiments keep up the good work!

ARQ says:

impressive how you turn seemingly flimsy as shit materials into a pretty robust product, nice work!

konobikundude says:

Not sure what your budget is like, or if you need anything beyond plain prototyping, but xometry might be a useful resource if you want to reduce hands-on machining and the time that it takes up.

Tsuser Gaming says:

For anyone curious (since the link hasn’t yet been posted), that is a standard TP-LINK high gain antenna. You can get it on Amazon. I’ve had one for years and it’s great (except for portability) for long range P2P applications.

EDIT: Model number TL-ANT2424B

Max Myzer says:

Can u try getting images from the Hubble space telescope

Some_Beach says:

It's too early for this science

Isaac Muzzey says:

when will you do more plasma stuff?

Luminous says:

My mind is BLOWN. AMAZING CHANNEL!!! Support from Croatia.

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