GOES 16 and 17 Geo-Stationary Satellite Images
After building a system for receiving Polar Orbiting Satellites, I thought I might try and build a system to receive geostationary GOES 16 or 17 imagery.
GOES satellites continually view the Western Hemisphere from approximately 22,300 miles above Earth. GOES satellites are designated with a letter prior to launch and renamed with a number once they reach geostationary orbit.
The GOES-R Series is a four-satellite program including GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U. The GOES-R Series Program is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop, launch and operate the satellites. The locations of the operational GOES-R Series satellites are 75.2⁰ W and 137.2⁰ W, instead of 75⁰ W and 135⁰ W. These shifts eliminate conflicts with other satellite systems. NOAA also maintains an on-orbit spare GOES satellite (GOES 15) at 105⁰ W in the event of an anomaly or failure of GOES-East (16) or GOES-West (17).
The GOES-R Series broadcast services of LRIT (Low Rate Information Transmission) and EMWIN (Emergency Managers Weather Information Network) but does so at a significantly higher data capacity than the previous satellites. Through the technology of Software Defined Radio, the receiver consists of a modest amount of hardware (an antenna, low noise amplifier, RTL-SDR computer interface) at a very low cost. The bulk of the traditional signal processing, error correction decoding and data recovery and display can be done in a conventional personal computer or, with a Raspberry PI. Since they are at a fixed point in space, you do not need to track them, however, you will need a dish antenna to receive the 1694.1 MHZ frequency with a 1.205 MHz bandwidth. The Advanced Baseline Imager is the primary instrument for imaging Earth’s weather, oceans, and the environment. ABI views Earth with three times more spectral channels, four times the resolution, and five times faster scanning than previous GOES satellites. It is this ABI system that I decode the imagery from.
GOES Transmission Details:
Transmission HRIT/EMWIN 400 kbps
Freq 1694.1 MHz
Bandwidth 1.205 MHz
Modulation BPSK (Binary Phase Shift Keying)
Polarization Linear – Vertical offset
There are plenty of guides online, (I have links below). So the first step was gathering the necessary parts. Since I already had most of the parts and pieces in my repertoire of radio stuff it wasn’t too expensive at all for me, But here is a list of the parts I used
- Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+ with a 32 Gb MicroSD Card $35
- An RTL-SDR dongle: $30-$50
- RTL-SDR.COM V3 ~ or
- NooElec NESDR SmarTee ~ or
- NooElec NESDR SmarTee XTR ~ This is what I used since it has always ON bias tee for powering the LNA
- NooElec LNA SAWBird+ GOES 1.69GHz $35
- A 2.4 GHz parabolic grid antenna (Modified) $65-$120
- N-Male to SMA Male adapter $5
- Cable(s) $10
- SMA Male to Male $ 2
- Right Angle USB 6 inch Jumper $5.99
- some SMA connectors $14
- Waterproof Box $9
- A mast pole or tripod for holding the grid antenna $ 5
- Oh, yes, almost forgot, you’ll need one of two operational GOES satellites, they are a bargain at about $10.9 Billion US dollars for the operational life of the GOES series. Don’t forget the $449 Million dollar launch cost for GOES 16 and 17. But you’re in luck, the U.S. funded a portion of your new hobby!
Total Cost $10,900,000,231.99 (Ten billion nine hundred million two hundred thirty-one dollars and 99 cents) Start saving your change!
[Grid Antenna]--[Adapter]-[(input side) SAWBird+ (output side)]-[6" pigtail]-[Nooelec SmarteeXTR]-[6" USB cable]-[Raspberry Pi]- WIFI Network
Setting up and Programming your PI (at this point I am going to let you go to each of these guides. Note I followed this one)
—–RTL-SDR.COM GOES 16/17 AND GK-2A WEATHER SATELLITE RECEPTION COMPREHENSIVE TUTORIAL
NOTE that the above tutorial ties into this tutorial: Receive GOES-16 and GOES-17 Images with a Raspberry Pi
Both of these guides use the goestools software developed by Pieter Noordhuis and can be found here GOESTOOLS
Follow the guides step by step. Use copy and paste to set up the Rasberry PI
HINT- if you COPY from the web page, you can paste into the terminal screen on PI by right-clicking mouse, or ctrl-shift V
Those are two great tutorials, so I won’t try and redo them here. I just have some hints for the actual build and pointing and fine-tuning of grid antenna that worked for me.
- USE a GOOD manual compass. I have a Note9 Phone, and no matter how I tried it was off by at least 5-10°. The app Satellite AR, which is mentioned in the tutorial, actually placed GOES 16 about 15° off of what was correct. Here’s a PDF on how to sight a bearing with a compass Sighting a compass bearing
- When sighting in the Grid dish, I used an app for my phone to control and run the PI remotely, The app is called RaspController. This way I could monitor the VIT Averages as I adjusted the antenna, first aligning it by Azimuth (mine was 162.4°), then Elevation (mine was 38.4°). my skew was -14.2°, so I left the dish as it came.
- If you’re using a laptop or desktop, you could use Googe Remote or TeamViewer to view it on your phone.
- Be sure your antenna mount is STABLE. I found that small movement, less than a 1/4″ would seriously alter the VIT average.
- I did use the antenna modification by adding to mine 2.8cm for the reflector. It brought my vit down to 480-500. THEN by flattening out the ‘V’ shaped reflector, I got my vit down to 300’s. THEN the next day I took the spacer out and my Vertibi dropped to 150-170’s and the rs(sum) dropped from the 200’s to under 30! So my advice is to experiment!
- Speaking of Experimenting, the GUIDES I listed above get you the basics of GOES imagery, but you can receive more data than what is shown in the guides, and NOAA does add imagery from time to time as well. The EMWIN data stream has relays from HIMAWARI-8, METEOSAT, all sorts of weather data and graphics as well. Once you have the basics up and running, take a look HERE (sorry, coming soon) for how to modify the .conf files and create your own to receive other data.
There is also the Software from US Satcom using there XRIT Decodser software (about $125.00) as of this writing. You will still need the antennas and SDR etc. Here is a great write up by Rodney AAA6RD, Region 6 Director for US Army MARS on his GOES-16/17 setup. The write-up includes what’s required, the setup details and the results. XRIT Satcom Guide
A full resolution image of Earth from GOES 16, from 2.12.2020 It is big 5424X5424 Pixels. the Link is HERE
Some examples of types of captures
Web Links for Setting up an RTL-SDR Raspberry PI Based GOES 16 or 17 Satellite Receiving Station
http://radiolab.dodgem37.com Authors website for NOAA, Meteor and Goes Satellite Reception
https://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-com-goes-16-17-and-gk-2a-weather-satellite-reception-comprehensive-tutorial/ RTL-SDR.COM GOES 16/17 AND GK-2A WEATHER SATELLITE RECEPTION COMPREHENSIVE TUTORIAL
https://gist.github.com/lxe/c1756ca659c3b78414149a3ea723eae2#file-goes16-rtlsdr-md Receive GOES-16 and GOES-17 Images with a Raspberry Pi and RTL-SDR dongle
https://fuzzthepiguy.tech/goessoftware/ Install GOES Software On A Pi
http://pytroll.github.io/ Pytroll is a modular, free and open-source python framework for the processing of earth observation satellite data.
Weblinks for GOES Data and Imagery Information
http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/goesdata.html The GOTO for all things GOES by the University of Wisconsin
Advanced Satellite Products Branch (ASPB) ~ The Birthplace of Satellite Meteorology ~This site has A LOT of information, data, imagery, etc. Including a section on free software for image manipulation, data analysis, phone apps and more!
https://www.noaasis.noaa.gov/GOES/HRIT/products.html GOES HRIT Schedules (this is what you can download off your dish.
https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Operations/GOES/schedules.html GOES GRB Schedules (you’ll need a bigger dish!
https://www.weather.gov/media/crp/GOES_16_Guides_FINALBIS.pdf A PDF of all the GOES ABI channels and what they mean.
https://gifmaker.me/ This is the site the Author uses to create animations from GOES images (note, I reduce the file size of the images BEFORE uploading.
Want to try some Satellite Imagery data manipulation for yourself? Try out RealEarth™ from https://www.ssec.wisc.edu/
In this example, I have already loaded the latest GOES 16 Imagery and overlaid NEXRAD radar on top. Try some different combinations, choose a different satellite–experiment! Using your mouse, drag a ‘Product” onto the map.