Since satellite communication is a lot of fun to me, I’ve decided to add an Outernet receiver to my array of stuff.
Their SDRx board isn’t anything super special, but it’s made for Inmarsat/L-band reception. It has the normal SDR parts on it, plus an L-band filter and pre-amp. You can put this together with an SDR and an add-on preamp which is powered by the SDR’s bias-T. I bought one of these, too, but it’s extraneous since I’m using the SDRx, which has this stuff built-in.
Once it stopped raining, I went outside with the SDRx, the patch antenna, and a laptop. I used a satellite tracking app on my phone to find the satellite, Inmarsat-4 F3. Then I brought up the SDR software, tuned it, and pointed the patch antenna. And, sure enough, there it was.
Once I knew I could receive it, I wanted to see if I could decode it. Outernet has changed their software a lot, and they’re going to a custom-hardware model. I don’t have that hardware, but I figured their old software might be worth a try just to see if it recognized the signal. So I installed their old Outernet-in-a-Box software, which is a self-contained virtual machine, and booted it. It saw the SDR, the SDR saw the satellite, I got signal lock, and packets came in!
This is as far as I’ve gotten with Outernet so far. But I think it’s a great idea, and I’m going to experiment with it a bit more. And the proof-of-concept worked!