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What is NOAA?  What are the images?

There are several NOAA satellites in a sun-synchronous polar orbit around the earth at this very moment.  The NOAA satellite data is available to any receiving station within the satellite’s footprint.  NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration satellites come around the earth at roughly the same time each day.  Each satellite makes approximately three passes, one to the east, one overhead, and one to the west at two times each day.  Each pass is approximately 100 minutes apart.

Pictures are sent using the Automatic Picture Transmission (APT) system.  Imagery shows the earth from a height of 800 to 1600 km. Two complete images are displayed side by side. One image is in the near IR (infrared) and the other is in visible light during the spacecraft's day and far IR during the spacecraft's night. Image resolution is 4 km at the suborbital point and each swath is approximately 2,700 km wide. Visible light images show geographic features and weather features. Near IR images show geographic features and additional weather features not visible in visible light. Far IR images show weather features defined by their temperature and some geographic features. APT imagery comes from polar orbit satellites such as NOAA 14,15 and Meteor 3-5.  Click here for more information.

The pictures you see are visible pictures taken by NOAA 15 and NOAA 14, 15 in the morning and 14 in the afternoon.  The data is real time, every image represents a unique set of data which is not available anywhere else.

For hardware and software requirements, click on the links.  Also, visit any of the listed locations for further information.



Receiving Satellite Transmissions


Depending on the satellites that you want to listen to, your receiving equipment may need to cover the 135-145 Mhz, the 435-437 Mhz, and/or around the 1.2 Ghz ranges. You may want to consider additional equipment like decoders and digital modems and such.


A good receiver is the R139 Weatherfax Receiver.  For more information on the R139 and other equipment, go to the Hamtronics website.

There are various kinds of antennas which you can use and picking one depends on what you want to listen to, where you want to listen, how much money you want to put into it, how much time, how technical-oriented you are, etc.

Yagi's are fairly common and must be aimed, either by hand or with a rotor. You can even have the rotor computer-controlled with various interfaces, cards, and software.

Omnidirectional antennas work too, depending on what you're trying to receive.

Using a pre-amp can help pick out those weak signals. Make sure that you attach it as near to the antenna as possible, otherwise you'll be amplifying a lot of noise along with the signal.

A good antenna is the TS-137 Turnstile APT Antenna with the pre-amp in the antenna itself.  Visit Quorum Communications
for more information.


The software we use is WXSAT.  It is decodes the satellite transmissions and displays it as visual images.  You must make sure your palette is set exactly right for the different satellites at different times, or you mightn’t be happy with the results

Here is the best and largest collection of decoding software for sound cards.  You'll find stuff for CW, weather fax, RTTY, etc..  Amateur Radio Soundblaster Software Collection.

Satellite Frequencies

The best and most updated source is at
Frequencies for satellites launched in 1998 as available in the open domain to Sven Grahn
Frequencies for satellites launched in 1997 as available in the open domain to Sven Grahn
Frequencies for satellites launched in 1996 as available in the open domain to Sven Grahn
Frequencies for satellites launched in 1995 as available in the open domain to Sven Grahn


For additional NOAA images, taken in 1998, visit the following site:

Satellite Images of South Asia


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