This may be a naive question, but is there any way to get the I/Q signal off the board so that I can visualize the signal being received? I understood that there was an RTLSDR dongle built into Dreamcatcher, but I might be incorrect. It would be technically interesting to me to see what the satellite signal looks like; if there is an I/Q signal that could be tapped, it might be run into any number of software applications that perform DSP.
You can just use the Armbian image for DC, and use any of the usual I/Q streaming tools (like rtl_tcp) to stream out the I/Q.
On Skylark it isn’t possible though.
I can never get the Armbian image to run; I can only get Skylark to run.
What doesn’t work with Armbian?
My Dreamcatcher. I am not sure if it is a problem with a password or login, or if there is some kind of software problem, but when I run Armbian, the wifi never appears. The board looks as if everything is operating normally (heartbeat ok) but no wifi signal ever appears, so I cannot login to the Outernet interface on my iPad.
No, so Skylark is a fully integrated thing designed for non-technical people (atleast that is the hope). Thats why it puts out an Access Point right out of the box, and is easy to use. On the flip side, to ensure that it remains that way, its deeply tied-down - you can’t install packages, can’t customize it beyond what is in the UI, etc etc.
Armbian for DC is just a standard (Debian) Linux OS for DC. It doesn’t create an access point out of the box. If your heartbeat led is working fine, that means Armbian booted fine and is up. To use it though, you need to log into it (atleast for the first time) over serial or usb-serial. usb-serial is easiest, so I will describe it:
Connect the DC to your Linux PC with a microusb cable (usb-type-A on the PC, microusb connector on the DC).
Let the DC-with-armbian boot fully - the heartbeat should stabilize (meaning blink at a steady rate).
Now you can connect to it using something like picocom
picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0
If you don’t see anything, press enter a few times in picocom.
I believe you can use Putty in Windows as well, but I have no experience with that.
But, to cut the long story short - Armbian is different from Skylark, and used differently.
This doc gives a few more details.
Edit: should have mentioned - Armbian does not receive outernet. It is there so that the DC can be used as linux development board with an integrated rtl-sdr (sort of like plugging an rtl-sdr into the Raspberry Pi and using it with Raspbian).
Thanks for the clear answer! Props.