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README.md

Blockstream Satellite

This repository contains tools and instructions for running a Blockstream Satellite receiver.

The Blockstream Satellite network broadcasts the Bitcoin blockchain using the second-generation Digital Video Broadcasting Satellite (DVB-S2) standard. To receive this signal, you will need a DVB-S2 receiver, for which there are a couple of options. The receiver output will be a data stream that you will feed to a host running the Bitcoin Satellite application. This application, in turn, will decode the blocks received over satellite and keep the blockchain in sync.

Find out if your location has coverage by looking at our Coverage Map.

To assemble a receiver setup, you will need to go through the following steps:

  1. Get the required hardware, such as the DVB-S2 receiver, the satellite dish/antenna and the low-noise block downconverter (LNB).
  2. Install all software requirements, configure the receiver, and configure the host.
  3. Align your satellite dish appropriately to receive the Blockstream Satellite signal.

You can find detailed guidance for these steps on this documentation.

Hardware

The first step to getting started with Blockstream Satellite is to gather all the required hardware components. Satellite Kits with all parts included are available at the Blockstream Store.

There are three supported options with varying levels of budget, performance, CPU usage, and form factors. They are summarized in the table below:

Setup Kit Available Budget Performance/Reliability CPU Usage Form Factor Dual Satellite*
Software-defined Radio (SDR) ✖️ Most Affordable Limited High USB Dongle No
Linux USB Receiver Basic Kit Moderate Excellent Low USB Device No
Standalone Receiver Pro Kit Higher Excellent None Standalone Yes

* Specific to locations that have overlapping coverage from two satellites.

In all options, the following hardware components are required:

Component Region-Specific General Requirements
Satellite dish (antenna) Yes Diameter of 45cm or larger
LNB Yes Must be a PLL LNB with linear polarization and stability of +- 250 kHz or less
LNB mounting bracket No
Coaxial Cable No RG6 Cable

Note that both the satellite dish and the LNB are region-specific, that is, they must attend to the specifications of the satellite that covers your region. This is because they must be appropriate for the frequency band of your satellite.

An alternative to the satellite dish and LNB is the Flat Panel Antenna, available at the Blockstream Store. This antenna includes the functionality of the LNB internally, so it substitutes the dish, LNB and mounting bracket altogether. However, note it only works in Ku band (i.e. does not work with satellite T18V C band).

Additionally, each of the above three setups has specific complementary components, which are summarized below:

Setup Specific Components
Software-defined Radio (SDR) RTL-SDR dongle, LNB Power Supply, SMA Cable and SMA to F adapter
Linux USB Receiver TBS5927 Professional DVB-S2 TV Tuner USB
Standalone Receiver Novra S400 PRO DVB satellite Receiver and Ethernet Cable

Please refer to the comprehensive hardware guide in order to pick the appropriate components or visit our store.

Software and Setup Configuration

Setup configurations are dependent on your receiver choice and on the satellite that covers your region. To obtain the configuration instructions for your setup, please use the Blockstream Satellite command-line interface (CLI).

First, install the CLI as follows:

sudo pip3 install blocksat-cli

NOTE:

  1. The CLI requires Python 3.
  2. Some blocksat-cli commands require root access, so it is preferable to run the installation using sudo.

Next, run the configuration helper:

blocksat-cli cfg

Then, run the instructions helper and follow the instructions:

blocksat-cli instructions

Within the set of instructions, a common required step is the installation of software dependencies, which is accomplished with the following command:

blocksat-cli deps install

After following all instructions, the next steps include the receiver/host configuration, the installation of Bitcoin Satellite and the antenna pointing. Please follow the user guide.

A quick reference guide is available if you are familiar with the commands and steps of the process. Otherwise, we commend following the detailed user guide below:

User Guide

Support

For additional help, you can join the #blockstream-satellite IRC channel on freenode.

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