I am about to give up.. can't get it to work :-(

Back in November I ordered the Outernet antenna and a SDR dongle from Ebay. I am pretty sure the dongle is an E4000 based one. I downloaded and installed the raspberry pi image on a brand new Raspberry Pi 3 and fired it all up.

The software is working fine… no problem connecting to it or anything. But I can not get a signal from the Satellite.
I live in the southern U.S. and am trying to find the signal at about 98degees in the sky. (I point sat dishes for a living so I know where to look)

I have only ever been able to get a marginal lock.
Last night I tried again in my back yard and was able to get a little over a 3 SNR and it started to receive data.
It was so cool! I got news feeds and Wiki pages with pictures and everything. And one of those BIG weather files was downloading… I didn’t touch anything and went to bed hoping that by morning I would have lots of content.

But when I woke up… the signal was down to about 1.6 and no more data :frowning:

I took the whole set up to work today where I have a very clear view of the sky from the roof… NOTHING.
I tried the antenna on a different RTL SDR stick (not E4000, the other cheap one)… Of course I could not use the preamp on that stick because it didn’t supply power… but with that … nothing… SNR didn’t change weather I had the antenna connected or not!
Swapped back to the “offical” sdr stick that I got from Amazon and with the pre-amp the best I can get is about 2.5 SNR on a beautiful clear night with an open view of the sky.

If I plug the E4000 stick into a computer and use SDR# I see a huge noise spike right in the middle of the spectrum display. I thought this might be a problem … but after some research I found that the E40000 chips do this and SDR# tunes in an offest to compensate for it. But, I don’t see a way to put in an offest on raspbery pi software. That is why I tried the other dongle… but no luck.

I really would like for this to work. It looks like a lot of fun… but I have run out of ideas.
Also… .is then new Sklark software available for the Pi? Would that help???

Oh well… if I can’t get it to work, I will always find use for another Raspberry Pi and I can use the dongle to listen to the radio… :cry:

Just on the off chance that some local signal is desensitizing the tuner have you tried the following?

  1. Shield the PreAmp? Bubble wrap and tin foil is fine for a test. Dont let out the magic smoke.

  2. Choke the USB cable from the Pi to the SDR? Even if it means not plugging in directly try it with an a-b extension cord. Get the choke from radio shack if there are any left near you.

  3. Try it some where else away from your current location? Eliminate local noise. If you see any large antennas or cell towers nearby be suspicious.

Others will mention to check the solder work on the connectors, but get the easy stuff first.

Oh, and if that all fails you can try the pliers. It is some kind of religious thing.


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You can try this site to check for transmitters in the area.

Can you post a screenshot of SDR# tuned to the correct frequency?

This is typical behavior if the view is obstructed, or there is ambient noise.

Check the patch antenna coax for continuity between the shield and reflector and center and brass element to ensure the coax is not broken and intermittent.

BTW, the pliers thing is something to do with counterpoise electrical length. I saw the same behavior with my original cardboard, foil and wire helix antenna, when it was sitting on a desk cluttered with tools and coiled up cables. Lift it up off the table and the signal would drop. Put it permanently on top of a metal baker’s rack, indoors, and it works great. Using it to receive STD-C NCS and Aero for hours at a time using just the SDRPlay, no preamp.

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Ok… for today’s experiment…

I loaded SDR# onto a laptop so I could take it up on the roof.

I couldn’t see anything with either dongle… but I did verify that there is a rather large noise floor up there.

So it would seem work is too noisy, and at home I don’t have a good line of sight…

I am going to borrow the laptop and take it home and walk around my yard and try to find a spot that might work.

So far I have not seen anything on SDR#'s waterfall to even take a picture of :slight_smile:

I did a google for STD=C NCS and found some interesting stuff… at the least it is another signal to look for from that satellite… but also good links to other SDR resources. thanks.

Remember if you are using the LNA and patch antenna you need to enable Bias t. And no matter what setup turn up the gain in settings or you wont see anything.

Hmmm… I will have to double check… but I am pretty sure the LED on the LNA was on… so power was there…

I didn’t manually adjust the gain in SDR# when I was looking… I will remember that when I try it again at home.


You can turn on the bias tee on the RTL-SDR dongle from software if you playing with SDR# for example. Here is the guide: http://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-blog-v-3-dongles-user-guide/
“Feature 2: Software Selectable Bias Tee” you need to download a few files and run a .bat file

Ok… so by balancing the laptop on one arm and the sdr and antenna in the other, I was able to walk around my yard and find the best place… but there is not great place… too many trees and buildings… I was able to find a spot where if I held it just right I could see a pretty nice signal coming from the sat. on the outernet frequency using sdr#… is is sad that other signals that appear to be coming from the same satellite are much stronger than the outernet signal.
I will try to connect up the raspberry pi and rig it in that one spot and see if I get a useable signal.

I suppose one other thing I could do is to put the laptop in the car and drive to an open field away from any interference (is there such a place in a city) and see if I can see what a “good” signal from the satellite looks like on SDR# so that I know how bad it is in my location.

All that said… it looks like mouting on the building at work is out of the question because of local interference… and mounting it at my house won’t work because of obstructions…

My CHIP burned out after 3 weeks of operation. Ordered a new one, but I’d rather use Raspberry PI for this.

THe Raspberry Pi was really easy to set up… just download the image from OUternet and burn it to an sd card and your pretty much done. My problem is not enough signal to recieve… I would sell you my raspberry… but I might as will keep it and use it for something else… the only thing that I really don’t have any use for is the antenna.

I have had CHIP failures too. Syed and his folks have replaced them for me if I purchased them from Outernet.

That said, don’t forget the rxOS running on a RaspberryPi will not be supported in the future. So going the CHIP route allows you to use the new Skylark v 1.2 with a plugged in external storage device

As I’ve said before, there are other useful programs you can run on a Pi. The Rachel data base from World Possible (https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/) is one.

But now that I can run Rachel on my Outernet Skylark device using a USB stick, I have repurposed my RaspberryPi for another new interesting software product. Kodi from Kodi TV (https://kodi.tv/download/). With Kodi TV, you can add Addons allowing the streaming over your internet connection of just about every TV network viewed on satellite/cable, live TV, and every movie made (to include movies just released). It is not geography specific, so if you live in a Hindi speaking country (for example), you set it up to look for Hindi language content.

There is a Kodi version to run on just about every computer OS to include the RaspberryPi. If you have a Sony or Sharp SMART TV (they run the Android Operating System to get their smartness), you can download Kodi there too. Then with the SMART TV’s browser, you can also run Skylark v1.2 too. Imagine over the air (OTA) local TV, Kodi for the rest, and an Outernet L-band satellite feed. :heart_eyes:

The latest product to hit the market here in the US is an Unlocked (jailbroken) Amazon Fire Stick with Kodi for anywhere from $50 to $100. Ken

Please Help Emily has introduced a line when Tabati to data from the buyer and not because I’ve received anything about the product and has purchased 5 to 4 days before