Tracking and receiving messages from satellites with LoRa

CC BY 1.0, Bjørn Pedersen, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

Shopping list

You want to get started with TinyGS too? Here’s a shopping list of, I think, essential things. Make sure to buy the 433 MHz versions

Background on LoRa

A bit of background around LoRa, let me tell you what Wikipedia knows:

Cubesats, what?

Pa3weg at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Cbrandonvt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Using the TinyGS platform for (sending and) receiving data from satellites

Initially TinyGS was born under the name ESP32 Fossa Groundstation in november 2019, it was developed as a “weekend” project for the FossaSAT-1 LoRa satellite.

The FossaSAT-1 satellite in development (picture from Github)
One of the cheap, low cost LoRa devices. (Buy here at AliExpress)
Screenshot of the Telegram channel with my group station receiving a message from Norbi
Norbi
SDSat
FEES
VR3X-A
VR3X-B
VR3X-C
More to come...

My TinyGS setup

LoRa module

TTGO T-Beam LoRa module (433MHz buy here at AliExpress)
Picture of the dipole (left), the SWR (middle) and the frequency match (right).

Receiving the actual data

A data packet from the FEES satellite
A data packet from the Norby / Norbi satellite
The data in the package received.

Sending data

Sending data to the satellites is also possible. With as low as 5 watts, you can reach a satellite. SDSat is one of the satellites that is able to receive LoRa messages and rebroadcasts it. However, when testing a sleep function of the satellite it never woke up. Future satellites will have the ability again to receive and rebroadcast LoRa messages from earth. One of those is the next FEES version.

What’s the goal?

I often get this question: what’s the use? Well, basically nothing except that it’s fun and learn a lot about satellites, data transmission, LoRa, community members, difficulties in space and a lot more! So, actually its goal is endless!

Make sure to visit TinyGS.com, all necessary information to start with this project is there. Tutorials, frequently asked questions, links to the Telegram groups.

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Harm van den Brink

Harm van den Brink

Cyber security, smart grids, electric vehicles, distributed ledger technology, hardware. Owner of Innoshift B.V. Articles on personal title.