Unable to get signal

I just got DIY kit and assembled according to instruction.
Downloaded software on my phone pointed antenna in house through window to I4F3 sat.
LNA and CHIP I can see lights up but level of signal is keep changing from 0.xx to 1.63 maximum
I am in Ottawa Canada
Thank you

Anything in line-of-sight like metal, trees, or buildings of Inmarsat-4 F3?

I have a few trees but its winter now but no metal or any obstacles.

The branches of the trees will be attenuating the signal pretty badly (added to the window too) ;(
If possible, try putting the whole thing outside and see if you get a better signal. If so, and you cant leave it out there, you may be able to find a better spot for the antenna.
remember to “tilt” the antenna towards the satellite, about the same angle as your latitude (about 45 degrees for Ottawa)


1 Like

Thank you I will try to drive some open space to check!

You probably don’t have to drive… just find a place with an unobstructed view of the part of the sky where the satellite is :slight_smile:

With a bit of luck, we’ll have a fairly rugged enclosure in early January.

Mine is in/on the cardboard box (thanks for the free rubber band!!!) inside a plastic bag for initial testing :wink:
Of course it is raining in England!! I will probably weather proof the antenna and bring the rest inside once I get a cable & see how lossy it is (may need another preamp)

I read about you wanting getting the signal in the country of Indonesia where I am staying. I just read today about this community. i have Hackrf which can transmit few MW of signal. I am planning umbrella dish gain antenna in the apartment. I wonder if that will help you with your ideas . I will use foil in this dish plan.In the present week want to receive the signal in both directions. I will use Ubuntu OS with laptop design. This whole design is for listen to signals and use for ham radio apps. I like the idea of community service help with this device.

Hello! This is my direction of antenna inside of house, not sure if this is can cause issue with signal level
Is there is any way to troubleshoot separate piece by piece. Also interface screen my.outernet.is is new for me. So I am not sure what is normal behavior for signal level since any direction I point show me same results.

yeah, the trees & the glass wont at all. you won’t get much signal at all .

As I said, take the whole thing outside where the sky is not obstructed at all, point it 209.3 degrees , tilted at at an angle of about 33 degrees and you will see the difference!!

I am sure that it will see the satellite & start to work instantly ( mine did!!)

I moved for my test in Boston MA area sitting in open area outside. Aimed antenna according to cell phone program the max level I got ~1.6

weird … I get 7-8db above the noise from the bird I look at and I am further North than you (at 51 degree, so further away from the satellites)
Not sure if this can help but, what I would do now is:-

  1. ensure in the outernet software that you have selected the CORRECT satellite ( it defaults to the wrong one for the Americas!)
  2. ensure the FLAT plate of the antenna is the part facing South ( 209 Degrees actually) and that the ant is tilted at around 33Degrees.
  3. ensure that the connector from the Ant -> preamp -> receiver are all tight ( and that the SMA connectors are not cross threaded)
  4. when it is powered on, ensure the RED light is on on the pre-amp, which means it is getting power from the Bias-T of the SDR.
  5. If you are powering directly from a “phone charger” type of power supply, ensure the voltage isn’t dropping with the current drain ( easiest thing to do is to try a few different ones ) or else ensure it is running on the battery

Short of the software being corrupted or the hardware being faulty, that is all you can do , I think…

you could try plugging the SDR into a computer to see what it is seeing, but you would need to know what you are doing

I hope that helps :slight_smile: Merry Christmas too BTW

@andre Can you confirm that the antenna is tilted up at a 45-degree angle and that it is pointed southwest?

Indoors, position is everything. I have been placing my antenna just about 8 or 9" inside a South-ish facing window, and getting variable signal strengths. During the day, up to 6, in the night down to less than .2, even with antenna tilted 51 degrees at 178 degrees, according to the sat finder. (San Antonio, TX)

Last night i scooted the antenna right up to the window, pointing several degrees East of straight South, and signals jumped to 3.5 - 5 and stayed there. In other words, it worked better pointing straight through the glass, up close, but not directly at the satellite, than it did pointing at the satellite, but several inches from the glass.

Things that will kill reception are the freezing rain on trees, and metal window screens or solar film on the window.

Still no luck everything connected lights are on wifi is ok signal level low

IMO, either:

  1. your antenna lead is broken
  2. the connector center pin is broken
  3. the RTL is bad
  4. the LNA is bad (most likely, IMO)

You can easily test the RTL by plugging it into your PC, put any antenna on it, even a piece of bread tie wire stuck in the antenna port, and use SDR# to see if you can receive anything on the FM broadcast band.

If you are not familiar with how to do this, the rtl-sdr site has tutorials, and the little piece of software needed to enable the bias tee to power the LNA so you can test it as well. If, with the LNA in line, and powered up, you get no signals, then you know…

1 Like

I agree with @k5ted

I think you have exhausted all the options, and something is broken, exactly what is the thing to discover now!
I have had the centre pin break off on an SMA connector before, so look at that first .

Good luck…

Andre, I just noticed you have an Android phone. If you have a OTG USB extender cable for your phone, you can easily test the RTL dongle using SDR Touch from the Android store. The free version will let you fire up the RTL and test. There is a driver app that goes with it, “RTL2832U driver”. You need that for SDR Touch to work. This is enough to test the patch antenna and cable.

  1. run the SDRTouch app without the antenna connected to the dongle.
  2. Tune to a known local strong FM broadcast station, or weather service station around 162.5xx MHz.
  3. Connect Outernet patch antenna
  4. Look for a signal to appear

If no signal, then likely your cable is broken or the connector center pin is bad.

If you get at least a weak signal, then it is more likely the LNA is bad, or the SMA center pin on the LNA male plug is broken or bad.

Unfortunately, there is no available software to turn on the LNA from the Android phone, so you wouldn;t be able to test that.

1 Like

Installed GQRx to Mac and run RTL 162.475 with patch antenna and
I am getting signal weather voice service.