Outernet rxOS Is Running On a Raspberry Pi 3

Today I tried setting up Outernet’s rxOS on a Raspberry Pi 3, and it worked.

Today, I finally got around to playing with Outernet a bit more. I took a 16GB micro SD card and flashed it with rxOS 3.0 for the Raspberry Pi 3 using Etcher. I plugged that SD card into my spare Pi3, connected the Outernet SDRx and patch antenna I bought a couple of days ago, put it on a table outside, and fired it up.

Pi3, Outernet SDRx, and patch antenna.

After aiming the antenna for a minute, I finally got a weak signal and started downloading packets.

The rxOS Tuner Settings menu, with current statistics.

As you can see above, my signal strength is just over 3dB. This is pretty low. I’m also losing packets. I have a row of very tall pine trees right between me and Inmarsat 4-F3, so that’s probably not helping. I also need to play with the antenna aiming more. But I received packets, so I know everything is working!

rxOS is a minimal distribution of Linux which is tailored specifically for Outernet receivers. They’ve pared it down as small as they can get it, mainly because this allows system software upgrades via the low-bandwidth (~20 megabytes per day) Outernet satellite connection. When you start it up, it becomes a wifi access point with the SSID of “Outernet”. You connect to this with your phone or laptop and you have access to its web interface, including the above statistics and all the files it has downloaded. So far, I’ve downloaded one complete little thing: an APRS packet which was transmitted through Outernet.

The next task is to see if I can get a better signal. And then I want to see if rxOS runs on a Pi Zero W.