Wiki documentation improvements

The comments in Investigate reasons for low SatNOGS coverage in Russia surfaced some documentation issues that I agree with. Some takeaways:

  • Main page has a lot of text, some useful links, but doesn’t clearly communicate how to build a station.
  • The Build page gets confused with the Build category, and the latter is overwhelming for beginners.
  • The Build page doesn’t clearly communicate what the simplest option to build a station is, and presents a lot of options in a table instead.
  • Arguably the simplest station possible, No rotator, has an incomplete bill of materials which doesn’t list totals, contains some unexplained jargon (what is a LNA?), and doesn’t feature assembly instructions beyond a couple of pictures.

This is from the perspective of someone that has never attempted to build a Station (but, however, is about to start mentoring someone to do it). Therefore, there are probably many more things to improve. But at the very least, this “first contact” experience is way less than optimal.

I think the “user journey” could be greatly improved with some user personas in mind. Some ideas:

  • Turn the Main page into a super simple “red pill / blue pill” with less text that offers the reader the option to build the simplest station possible, presenting the tradeoffs (less flexibility, less powerful satellites out of reach, etc)
  • Improve the No rotator page to clear or define the jargon, update the bill of materials, and expand the assembly instructions

Probably lots of things from the LSTN Handbook could be used in the wiki to make it more palatable for beginners.

What do folks think?


I would pay attention to how this instruction is written

  1. Do you want to build your own FlightAware PiAware ADS-B Ground Station?

  1. Optional Steps for Advanced Setup

The only difference is that the Satnogs receiver has to work with much weaker signals and this requires an article on antennas.


Omnidirectional Station How To - SatNOGS Wiki This is supposed to be more updated fwiw.

Great points made here, ultimately we need someone to drive this process. Any takers?


I see this admonition on top:

WARNING: Information on this page may be outdated! Cross-check with individual ‘Build’ pages as well.

What does it mean exactly? As I read it, it’s not very actionable. All wiki pages can be potentially outdated :slight_smile: so, unless we give a specific pointer, perhaps we could remove it. Or mark which sections need some love.

Great points made here, ultimately we need someone to drive this process. Any takers?

I think we might suggest some edits when @raquelch gets there, in about 6 to 8 weeks. She will be building an omnidirectional station, I don’t remember which antenna exactly (@raquelch do you want to clarify?). And hopefully I’ll be able to propose a better Main page (now wearing my Documentation hat).


She will be building an omnidirectional station, I don’t remember which antenna exactly (@raquelch do you want to clarify?)

Hi! Sure, so far we’re settling on a helix quadrifilar antenna, but we’re still in the antenna design stage, comparing this to a turnstile or other antennas.

I think we might suggest some edits when @raquelch gets there, in about 6 to 8 weeks.

Yes! Hopefully we can be of help and include the improvements and information we learn along the way.


Turnstile antenna is open circuit antenna and not a very good choice in terms of static electricity. But even about this simple antenna there are no instructions.

There is a chance that the receiver will be damaged.
And the Wik should convey information to users about grazing. For example Lightning Protection Guide - ADS-B Flight Tracking - FlightAware Discussions

I found two abandoned articles where someone once tried to make Wik clearer.

This is a good topic for discussion. I recently put together a ground station, first with a fixed antenna and then with a rotator. I would agree that the documentation can be difficult to follow. All of the required information is there but you need to swap between the Wiki, the gitlab repos and the discussion forum. Only then do you obtain all of the information you need.

There is some danger in just porting all the information into one place in the wiki. Detailed technical designs such as antennas, software or hardware are best stored in gitlab which handles collaboration well. But it is not friendly to people unfamiliar with git and not easy to follow when actually building a copy.

Additionally, we should distill the knowledge out of forum posts and put them in the wiki for posterity. There are several links to helpful forum posts but you have to read a very long post to get the needed information.

I’m happy to help contribute to the documentation. I think the right place to start might be to take the article @pierros referenced as “more updated” and make it the official tutorial without any disclaimers. I found that the most useful.


I checked the complete wiki page for outdated information, minimally updated a few sections and then removed this banner. The guide is still very verbose and duplicates information usually found on the “Install a Raspberry Pi” and “Configure/Update your station” pages, but there is nothing inherently wrong.

I also added a new section “Installing Image on Linux/Windows/MacOS” using the Raspberry Pi Imager. Maybe someone here wants to check this section (and edit it / remove the banner if it works)?


Link is 404 in the wiki. One of these may be best:

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Thank you for reporting, fixed now (typo in the link and I apparently missed to test the page).

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Hi, Going around in circles trying to find the stl’s for printing parts for v3. Also Instructions link is broken.

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Welcome @digitaldan!

Sorry to hear that you are struggling with the documentation for the SatNOGS Rotator. Indeed the link to the v3.0.1 Build Instructions was broken in the Rotator v3 wiki page, I just fixed that. The stl files can be found on the release page, for the latest v3.1-pre-release they are: If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to open a new thread here, so others can provide help & recommendations.

@azisi The satnogs-rotator “v3.1-pre-release” is 3 years old and I can’t find an actual v3.1 release. Is this the correct rotator version for a new build / which version would you recommend?



@digitaldan Agis just confirmed to me that in-fact v3.1-pre-release is the recommended latest version to built (updated the wiki to reflect it).

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Thanks for the info, ive downloaded the .zip file with the stl’s. Just got to send them to print!. Thanks

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Note that v3.1-pre-release is missing the C1061-5 and -6 files in the pre-release drawings. They are in the STL files. This is only an issue if you need to edit the drawings to generate new STL files. You can of course get the drawings from the repository, they are just not in the release file. I don’t know how to fix that. Would we need to make a v3.1.1 release with all the right files?

I modified most of the STL files either to match the imperial pipe I was using or because I found the holes to be 0.4mm too small on my printer. This is a common issue because 3D printers pull the filament as they go around a hole. You can get around that issue afterwards with a file but I prefer to print holes 0.4mm oversized. Then if the printer is well calibrated everything fits nicely. It does not matter with holes for bolts because they are easily drilled out to the right size, but the holes for the bearings are painful to manually adjust.

I also found that the encoder holder was very difficult to print. The face where the rotating shaft is held and where the PCB is mounted is all an overhang. I turned the part upside down to make it easier to print, but that involved changing how the shaft is connected so that the face could be flat. If anyone wants those modified parts then I can supply them.

Also on the encoder the magnet is 2.5mm in the BOM but 1.5mm in the drawing. So the 3D print ends up being wrong if you purchased 2.5mm magnets. I adjusted the drawing and re-generated the STL file. This change should probably be made for everyone and a new 3.1.1 STL file generated.

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