Help ! Station was working sort of, now it is not!

Hi there
My station was doing ok, picking up some CW off the sat as they passed. Now I am picking up nothing to very little. I am using a Raspberry Pi 3, with the most recent software, with a SDR stick, and the stock antenna, on a pie pan, sitting out on my roof. These are two of my best passes, and they do not look right at all. They are & Any help would be great, still learning about all this stuff !! 73

Hello @nhsatman and welcome!

The two example observations you pointed at are actually from satellites that are not active anymore, so I wouldn’t expect any signals from them anyway.

Examining some other observations from your station I think you should play around with up’ing the gain of your rtl-sdr. Also keep in mind that vertical antennas are perhaps the least favorable option for what we are going for generally for a ground station. That said you should be able to receive really powerful transmissions (like NOAA passes) fairly easily. (as a matter of fact I can see you have successfully in the past!).

Also please take care of reading through ourvetting guidelines and correctly vet your observations. i.e. I can see many marked as failed where there is obviously nothing wrong with them.

The thing that is very odd to me, is the examples of “GOOD” results, have the signal lines going straight up and down. At one point I was able to hear the CW in the audio, now it is mostly noise. I reset my gain the other night to “0.0”, but was at around 27, but that did not seem to improve what I was getting on the waterfall, or in the audio. Almost non of my observations have been able to be decoded. So I am sort of stuck, on how to fix it all. Was work well in the beginning, in the basement, now the antenna is outside (same one), and I am getting nothing. Thanks, I will adjust my gain back around 25, and that is only a guess on my part…73

Can you try with 32.8 ?

Also can you provide more details on your setup? length of cables etc

A raspberry Pi 3 with a WiFi keyboard, with SDR dongle like this one, (!03054!US!-1) with antenna like this one ( except the length on the wire is about 3 ft. The dongle is plugged directly into the Pi. Antenna is sitting on the roof on a steel pie plate…73

Hm, no wonder why you are not having any luck :wink:

As you can see on the wiki page about Radios (SDRs that is) there are specific rtlsdrs that are known to work well, and are much better than the regular ones you can find all over ebay while still being on the same price range. (Differences are significant for their reception characteristics)

As for the antenna you will need something different in order to get results with your station. The antenna you linked has the following frequency range:

Working Frequency: 174MHz~240MHz (Band III) 

                   1452MHz~1492MHz (L-Band)

Which essentially renders it incapable of receiving on our preferred ranges (~135-150Mhz for VHF and 430-440Mhz for UHF)

You would be much better with a typical V/U vertical for radio-amateur usage.