APRS RX while idle


Our amateur radio group was just exchanging some emails regarding setting up ground stations that would capture balloon APRS traffic as the schools here launch balloons regularly. SatNOGS is better.

After some Googling it looks like there is scripting which can allow a SatNOGS station to perform APRS RX while idle, then shut that down and capture a pass, restart APRS RX after.

I think this is a great use of that idle station, any thoughts on integrating that as a core function in SatNOGS? Or does anyone have a recommended technical solution for implementing this.

Thank you
William VE4VR


I guess it’s worth point out here that while this would work, if tracking of said balloon launch comes down to just your station receiving, all it would take is a badly timed observation for tracking to be lost.
Having launched a heap of high-altitude balloons, the last thing I would want is for a critical tracking station to go offline at some critical point in the flight, like landing… Better that the tracking station is dedicated to the job, which is possible with a RF splitter and another RTLSDR.

If you get it up and running I’ll gladly set it up here in Alberta station #1920


So… I wrote that gist.

It’s not the same thing as is discussed by the OP. My intent was to listen in to passes of the ISS APRS digipeater and relay those into APRS-IS. It would only function when an observation is in progress.


Thanks, I think this a feature request to the SatNOGS team then. It would be great to see all ground stations always doing something with that equipment instead of waiting for the next pass.

Stations using fixed antennas such as eggbeater or turnstile likely would work fine for balloon APRS and nearby vehicle APRS bursts. It seems like a good shared use of that hardware/software.

It’s worth noting that not all ground stations can participate here. iGating packets to APRS-IS requires an amateur radio license, which not all stations have.

As you mentioned, scripting is the easiest way to get it up and running.
Using pre-obs-script and post-obs-script you can fire up any software using the sdr, and then stopping before the next obs. This is exactly how I handle gr_satellites, just inverted for this.
Check out the stopping code of my implementation and you’ll see how it can be done.
Here’s how to make satnogs-client execute the scripts.
Make sure to read and understand the way this works before implementing it.