Need assistance with new ground station

I have a Pi 3 running the satnogs client using RTL-SDR v3. Just for testing, I have a 2m/70cm ground plane with an RTL-SDR LNA attached sitting beside me in the shack. I have resolved several issues using the Troubleshooter, but I am still not seeing anything in the client waterfall when the satellite is in view. My observations are uploading to the satnogs database and I am able to open the waterfall there and see the background colors and the curved local noise lines. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed? Thank you in advance.

Satellites have pretty weak signals so the antenna really needs to be out doors and away from all the noise sources inside your shack.
The antenna needs to be something with a high angle of radiation like a turnstile or QFH. High gain vertical antennas have low angles of radiation, that’s how the get their perceived “gain”
You could test your system on either the ISS or the NOAA satellites as they have the strongest signals.
It’s ALL about the antenna.
Check your gain setting on the SDR. Because you have a LNA you don’t want your SDR gain to be too high. Start with about 10 but don’t go much higher than 30.
I started playing with SDRs by downloading NOAA maps without a LNA but I did have a good home-brew QFH antenn for 137MHz.
73 Bob, vk2byf

1 Like

Get the antenna out of the shack. It doesn’t need to be outdoors, but that will certainly get you better results. Both of my station antennas (187 and 272) are in my attic.

While I decided against using an LNA on my UHF station (all it did was increase the noise floor by the same amount as the signals I’m trying to hear), I found that in my case the LNA worked best with the RTL-SDR gain set to max, too. But again, “best” was a relative outcome and ended up not being useful. Bottom line, experiment with your RTL-SDR gain setting.

I will also add that you should still get decent results with a ground plane antenna, as long as it’s away from all the “noisey” stuff in your shack.