Skip to content
master
Switch branches/tags
Code

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 need a DVB-S2 receiver, for which there are a couple of options. The receiver outputs a data stream that can be fed to a host running the Bitcoin Satellite application. This application, in turn, decodes the blocks received over satellite and keeps 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 in 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 four supported setup options with varying combinations of budget, performance, CPU usage, form factor, and compatibility. They are summarized below:

Setup Kit Available Budget Performance/Reliability CPU Usage Form Factor Dual Satellite* C-band Compatible
Software-defined Radio (SDR) ✖️ Most Affordable Limited High USB Dongle ✖️ ✔️
Linux USB Receiver ✖️ Moderate Excellent Low USB Device ✖️ ✔️
Standalone Receiver Pro Kit Higher Excellent None Standalone ✔️ ✔️
Sat-IP Receiver Satellite Base Station Moderate Excellent None All-in-one ✖️ ✖️

* Specific to locations with overlapping coverage from two satellites.

The Satellite Base Station Sat-IP receiver is the only all-in-one hardware option (an antenna with an integrated receiver and LNB). Hence, it is our go-to receiver choice, with a minimalist design, simplified setup, and sufficient performance for most Bitcoin users' needs. However, note it only works in Ku band. That is, it does not work with the Telstar 18V C band satellite covering the Asia-Pacific region.

In all other setup options, the following hardware components are required in addition to the receiver:

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 frequency band of the signal covering your region.

Additionally, each of the above three setups has specific complementary components, 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 to pick the appropriate components or visit our store.

Software and Setup Configuration

The Blockstream Satellite command-line interface (CLI) is required to configure and run your receiver. You can install it by executing the following command on the terminal:

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 command 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, one of the required steps is the installation of software dependencies, which is accomplished by the following command:

blocksat-cli deps install

After following the instructions, the next steps include the receiver/host configuration, the Bitcoin Satellite installation, 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 recommend following the detailed user guide below.

User Guide

Support

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