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UPDATED ON April, 29th 2023

Following several requests to update the software and make sure it compiles on Ubuntu 22.04 with recent Python, the following has been done :

  • Migration to QWT 6.2
  • Rework of the .pro file to have it compiling for Python 3.10

It has not been tested on the air...

Original README

this is the the PicTalk software, an attempt to provide an "all in one" software to enable reception and decoding of PicSat telemetry and scientific data.

Current version (as of 21st of Feb 2018) supports SDRPlay RSP1/A and RTLSDR. Funcube is not working properly (frequency management issue) and will be added soon.

This sotware requires Python 3.5 to be installed with the following Python Packages :

  • Scipy
  • Numpy
  • ZMQ
  • Requets

To have the relevant packages, do:

  • sudo apt-get install python3-pip
  • pip3 install scipy numpy requests zmq

This application is split in two parts:

  • The core Qt C++ program manages the SDR device and extracts the sub-band of interest,
  • It scans the RF channel to estimate potential transmission from satellite
  • the IQ Samples are sent to the Python code in charge of demodulation and building the KISS AX25 Frame
  • The Python code sends back to C++ the decoded frame for local storage and display.

To compile this program you need to check that you have the correct Python installed, and in particular the following packages:

Required Qt Modules :

  • qt5-default
  • libqt5svg5-dev
  • qtmultimedia5-dev
  • libqt5opengl5-dev

Required librairies :

  • libusb-1.0-0-dev
  • libfftw3-dev
  • libczmq-dev
  • libhidapi-dev

To have all the required packages : sudo apt-get install libqt5svg5-dev qtmultimedia5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libfftw3-dev libczmq-dev libhidapi-dev

Clone the repository, then from the folder :

git clone Cloning into 'PicTalk'...

  • Then cd PicTalk
  • generate makefile : qmake
  • compile make

the project file is set to support python3.5. If you want to use a specific version, you have to update the following lines in the project file :

  • LIBS += $$system("python3.5-config --libs")
  • QMAKE_CFLAGS += $$system("python3.5-config --cflags")
  • INCLUDEPATH += $$system("python3.5-config --includes |cut -c 3-")

Run application:

By default the binary is stored in ./bin folder and requires the ./python folder to be present (the python folder contains the frame decoder)

Binary name : ./bin/pictalk

It will create a folder named "pictalk" in your home. This folder contains several files, and in particular the pictalkframes.txt that will contain all the decoded PicSat frames.

For more information, please visit


Receive, Decode and understand PicSAT messages






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