Outernet for sailors (weather forecast grib files)

One possible ‘enhancement’, could a cone extension be added to the lnbf to increase the signal strength.
Maybe (a 4 inch long x diameter of lnbf) extension…

This would affect the motor power required to adjust a more massive load. And it means the size of the enclosure would to be larger… which means more mounting problems… among other issues…

Generally, I am happy with signal strength. I think it should be enough to vary the angles depending on the SNR of the current signal.
I have a question though. The test in the video was done in the Netherlands. And even stationary, with the automatic function disabled, I couldn’t get the same SNR as here in Germany. Is it possible that there are such big differences in signal quality depending on your location? (its just around 500 km distance).

Hi, here in rome these are the values with a horn ( cone), without is -17 snr and - 96 rssi.
Never lock with the bare LNB.
The astra signal is focused in middle europe. Good for you sailors in the north but almost impossible here in mediterranian sea.

Very good job, indeed

@iw0hjz Thanks for your answer! So it seems we need a horn to make it work in all areas… Can I ask what kind of cone you are using?
Does anyone know if there are cheap off the shelf cones available which are working with the Dreamcatchers’ LNB?

here it is.
Hope you like yogurt, because is in BOM you need. The part with old hairbrush hinge is waiting for copyrights.

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tnx to donde for this:

Othernet Empfang

I used the link to make a template out of paper and then coated it with aluminium foil. I am really surprised how much it improves my signal.

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I fitted a ring to my horn, so it can be put on and taken off easily. I am also making parts for a second antenna at the moment and I’ll add some changes so it will work with the horn attached. Only it will not fit into its current case while the horn is on the LNB.

@Martin How much additional gain did you get from the cone?

@Syed I would say 3 dB. The best I got so far without the cone was a SNR of -6.5

Good evening everyone! I made a new case that should work with the cone attached. It’s made of a beach ball and an inspection hatch. Everything is airtight, so it should be weather-proof as well. I will also add a camera screw mount to the lit, so it can be mounted on a tripod or a cheap security camera mount. That should make it easy fix it on the boats guard rail. I chose a transparent ball (which only was available with glitter) to watch how everything is working inside, but I guess a white one would look nicer and you wouldn’t see the mess I made with the sealant. Those balls are standard merchandise stuff and super cheap. @Syed you could even have an Othernet-logo printed on them. (Take a white one, add a few LEDs to illuminate it from inside and you would have a literal lantern :wink: )


This is bananas! Do you have a video of this…in the dark?

Unfortunately not yet. The part with the battery is still missing because the lowest layer just won’t fit into the hole. I need to make a new one with the CNC first. But there are no LEDs in my setup plus the transparent ball would not light up in the dark like a white one. I don’t have a lot of time at the moment to work on it, but I’ll make a video when its ready.

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I love this, very creative and ultra functional.

I have been thinking about how to make a knock-off beach ball satellite dish form one of the 2m mega-beachballs. maybe slice a 1.5m one at the equator and add an aluminum urethane painted ‘dish’ cut out from a 2m ball dissolve the extra form the 2m ball to make glue and aptches to reassemble(also steal the valve form the 2m ball to do higher pressure on the top side to ‘dish’ the inner aluminized dish) for a great field QO-100 rig(if I ever get to doing a dxpedition).

Good evening, I didn’t post here for a while, but I am still working on improving my tracker.
I made a new base with batteries, switches, a charging plug, and a mounting thread. It is now working again and I will still do a video of the setup with the beach ball. Butt the switches and stuff are all drilled through the base of the inspection hatch. I noticed that the beach ball was losing air over time, which is not very practical for long time use. I don’t know if the air escapes via the switches or the seal of the inspection hatch.
I will now try a geodesic sphere as a case. The one on the picture is made of cardboard pizza boxes as a template for a test fit, but I will make it of the same white board as the CNC parts of the tracker. This should solve the stability issues of the beach ball and still be waterproof enough with the inspection hatch in its base.


Here is the tracker mounted in the sphere. One panel is missing so I can check how it is doing inside. But everything is moving as it should so I guess I can make a plastic one in this size.


Hey Martin
Did you 3D print the parts? What did you use to drive the servos. I’ve tried doing something with the Adafruit Stepper driver with quite meagre results. Considering how smooth the movement is on yours I’d love to know more about the components you used. Are you planning on publishing (or licensing) the design?

@Sgtpepper Some Parts are 3D printed, some are CNC milled. To drive the stepper motors I used the ULN2003. The motors usually come with driver boards that are based on the ULN2003 as well. The first versions used these boards but then I milled a PCB to make the electronics more compact. I am planning to make my design available once it is done. But it will still need a few changes. Probably also for the new Dreamcatcher version. At the moment I can’t do much because I am very busy at work and also the place where I usually go shopping for materials is closed because of the lockdown. My current design needs a dome to use a cone to improve the signal. But I am out of material to make the dome which is also very time consuming to build. And actually, the rigid dome will take much storage room which is scarce on my boat. So at the moment, I am also drawing an improved version that is more compact and robust. @Syed can you already tell us something about the dimensions of the new DC version so I can save some space for it in my CAD?

As of now, it is 59mm x 52mm, but it might shrink a bit more.

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Great! Can I ask how high the board will be with the components on it?