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    Rights: University of Waikato
    Published 27 March 2013 Referencing Hub media

    Kelvin Barnsdale shows us a simple homemade aerial that receives signals from an amateur radio satellite. Kelvin uses his laptop to view the satellite images.

    Point of interest:
    The New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters has branches all over the country. Visit their website to learn more about amateur radio.


    Anybody can receive a satellite signal with a simple aerial and a receiver like this. The aerial here is something I made using just wood and aluminium. There’s two frequencies this aerial is used for – the longer wavelength is the longer rods here, which is the signals that go up to the satellite, and the signals that come down from the satellite use the shorter rods cause they’re a shorter wavelength or a higher frequency. The satellite we’re looking at today is an amateur radio satellite that has a camera on board that sends pictures from the satellite down to us, and we can decode those pictures on a laptop.

    And this satellite sends the information, the picture from that camera to us, and so we can receive the pictures on the ground and get pictures of whatever’s underneath the satellite at the time – so I can do that. If I connect the computer to this receiver and then I start the software on the computer, and then I point the aerial at the satellite, we should get a picture coming through and it looks like the satellite’s over the north of New Zealand at the moment, and we’re getting a picture of Northland and down into Auckland area.