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The program for scheduling recordings and processing of the satellite and ground radio transmissions (like capturing of the weather APT images from NOAA satellites, voice messages from ISS, fixed time recordings of WeatherFaxes etc.) 🌍 📡

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autowx2 is a set of programs and scripts for schedule satellite and ground recordings with SDR dongle. Bundled plugins include scripts for processing weather APT images from NOAA or METEOR satellites, ISS voice communication recordings and some others.

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This is a rewritten and fine-tuned version of tools for the automatic weather satellite images capturing. Most directly it bases on cyber-atomus' autowx and my fork of autowx. The main differences between this project autowx2 and previously created tools:

  • high modularity - all recording and processing are done by separate scripts (modules? plugins?), which can be easily configured to meet one's needs. The main module (called noaa) is devoted to the capture of weather data from the NOAA satellites, but with other modules (i.e., ISS voice) one can record voice communication from the satellite (tested for ISS 🎉 !).
  • configurability - most (all?) variables can be set up in the config file. For both: the main program and the NOAA module.
  • flexibility - it can be set up to record satellite transmissions based on the passing predictions as well as fixed time recordings, configured via cron-like syntax.
  • simplicity (not sure if this is true). List of observed satellites is defined in one place only (the config file) and can be easily modified.
  • time efficiency - it can perform sdr-related tasks to do between scheduled transmissions (see below)
  • other features include: autocallibration between recordings with kalibrate-rtl; prioritization of recordings (eg., when passing time overlaps, choose one with a higher priority); generation of the passing/recording table for the next few hours (static html + image);

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autowx2 was tested and successfully applied to schedule recordings of:

  • NOAA weather satellites
  • METEOR-M2 weather satellite 🌐
  • ISS transmissions (voice, SSTV)
  • Fox-1B satellite transmissions
  • Fixed-time radiosondes (meteo baloons 🎈) observations (with radiosonde_auto_rx)
  • Fixed-time FM recordings

autowx2 can be easily configured to do other useful things (with SDR dongle) while waiting for the next scheduled transmissions. Tested and available "plugins" include:

  • APRS decoding (just log or act as a iGate)
  • ADS-B with dump1090, heatmap plotting
  • Radiosonde monitoring with radiosonde_auto_rx

Used libraries and acknowledgements

These scripts may be used by the autowx2 in the free time, e.g., to track airplanes, capture APRS signals etc:

Hardware requirements

  • usb dvbt dongle, like RTL2832 DVB-T tuner
  • antenna good enough to capture the signal of your interest. For antenna dedicated for capturing NOAAs telemetry, see a simple 137 MHz V-Dipole, for example. If you want to use the script also for other applications (capturing APRS signals, using dump1090 for tracking airplanes), any broadband antenna should be good.

System requirements

  • python 2.7 and bash (sh, csh will be also OK)
  • installed and working DVB-T dongle; to make this long story short:
  • adding the following statement to /etc/udev/rules.d/20.rtlsdr.rules:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="0bda", ATTRS{idProduct}=="2838", GROUP="adm", MODE="0666", SYMLINK+="rtl_sdr"
  • blacklisting the dvb_usb_rtl28xxu module:
echo "blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu" >>  /etc/modprobe.d/rtl-sdr-blacklist.conf
  • for more details, see here
  • for installation script on the Debian, Debian-like systems and Raspberry Pi, see the installation script ⚠️ use with care! inspect and tune before execution!


⚠️ Tested for x86, amd64 and Raspberry Pi

x86 and amd64

  1. Check the section hardware and system requirements
  2. Fetch sources: git clone --depth 1
  • alternatively: git clone --depth 1
  1. Inspect the script, modify if needed. In most cases, it should work out of the box (for debian and debian-like systems; tested on debian, ubuntu, mint and travis debian like linux). Modify wxtoimg section to fetch sources that matches your architecture.
  2. If you are fine with the above script, run it with bash ⚠️ use at your own risk!
  3. Edit the main config file
  4. Edit your system's crontab file and add the bin/ script to it, eg:
    0 4 * * * path/to/autowx2/bin/ 1> /dev/null 2>/dev/null
    you can also trigger it manually from time to time.
  5. Run the main program, wait for the next transit and marvel at the beautiful images (or other recordings)

Configuration files and other programs

Files, subprograms and configs

The main program to do all calculation, pass predictions and launch modules.          - the main program, the governor of all other programs and scripts     - the config file

The config file of the main program, may be used also by the decoding modules. It is used by te noaa module.

satellitesData - the dictionary (in the python style) of satellites to be observed and processed (eg., weather satellites) OR fixed times for recordings (eg., listening to the WeatherFax transmissions).

  • for the satellites, three values must be set:
    • the satellite name (eg., 'NOAA 18'), must be the same as one found in TLE file
    • freq - the frequency to listen at
    • processWith - the path to the script/module to run during the transit
    • priority - priority of the recording (if two or more overlaps); the lower number - the higher priority
  • for the fixed time recordings:
    • the id of the entry (any arbitrary string is ok)
    • freq - the frequency to listen at
    • processWith - the path to the script/module to run
    • fixedTime - the fixed time of recording in the cron style.
    • fixedDuration - the duration of the recording
    • priority - priority of the recording (if two or more overlaps); the lower number - the higher priority

Sample satellitesData dictionary:

satellitesData = {
    'NOAA-18': {
        'freq': '137912500',
        'processWith': 'modules/noaa/',
        'priority': 1},
    'NOAA-15': {
        'freq': '137620000',
        'processWith': 'modules/noaa/',
        'priority': 1},
    'NOAA-19': {
        'freq': '137100000',
        'processWith': 'modules/noaa/',
        'priority': 1},
    'ISS': {  
      # voice channel
        'freq': '145800000',
        'processWith': 'modules/iss/',
        'priority': 5},
    'PR3_NEWS': {
        'freq': '98988000',
        'processWith': 'modules/fm/',
        'fixedTime': '0 7-23 * * *',
        'fixedDuration': 300,
        'priority': 2},
    'LILACSAT-1': {
        'freq': '436510000',
        'processWith': 'modules/iss/',
        'priority': 3},
    'Radiosonde': {	# twice a day watch for meteo balloons
        'freq': '98796500',
        'processWith': 'modules/radiosonde/',
        'fixedTime': '20 0,12 * * *',
        'fixedDuration': 12000,
        'priority': 1},


  • ⚠️ TODO: dynamic priority calculation basing on the transit features, like azimuth or altitude.

A utility to generate transit plan for the next few hours. Two elements are generated:

  • a static html page (or actually the html table to be included in the page), see example
  • a static png (or svg) image showing the transit plan in the form of the Gantt chart; this, combined with above gives beautiful pass info page (glued together by to autowx2/var/www/table.html):


bin directory

Various auxiliary programs.             - aprs script to listen to and decode APRS data; to be run in free time   - aprs iGate launcher (pymultimonaprs must be installed) - calibrating script - initialization         - calibrating script - getting the drift      - keplers updated; can/should be run from cron
crontab/            - proposal of scripts to be run periodicaly


Modules/plugins to capture various types of data. Can be customized by any type of script (here bash scripts were used in most cases).

fm         - sample module to record FM radio to mp3 file
iss        - module for capturing voice data from ISS and others. Tested and works for ISS :tada:
noaa       - module for capturing weather data from NOAA satellites (see below)
radiosonde - module for running the radiosonde scanner (to be installed separately)
meteor-m2	 - module for running the meteor m2 capturing and processing programm


Module for capturing weather data from NOAA satellites.             - the main module file (bash) - launches below files:      - recordinf of a sound via rtl_fm     - processing of the recorded wav file, generates maps etc. - generate gallery       - generate gallery

tests               - directory with a test data


Generic module to capture various audio and raw packages (e.g., from ISS, but not only):   - record audio in iq/raw format  - record audio in mp3 format  - record audio in wav format


var directory

Variable data.

dongleshift.txt     - current dongle shift
nextpass.*          - list and plot of the next passes
tle/                - directory with tle data
flask/              - flask webserver stuff (see flask documentation):
   static/          - css, js
   templates/       - html template(s)
www/                - stuff for static webpages; templates and output data
   css/             - css, js

Static web pages

Modules may generate static webpages - snippets (see: noaa script). Then, the bin/ script collects these snippets and build a static webpage with all the data.

static web page

The web page is generated into /var/www/ (the default location).


autowx2 is equipped with a simple flask webserver showing what is going on - displaying current logs (with some limitations, i.e., not showing logs of external programs - solution needed) and updated pass list.

static web page

The default address is http://localhost:5010/ (the port may be changed in the config file via webInterfacePort variable)

Working instances of autowx2

If you have a working and publically accesible autowx2 instance, please share with us!

Issues? Comments? Suggestions?


The program for scheduling recordings and processing of the satellite and ground radio transmissions (like capturing of the weather APT images from NOAA satellites, voice messages from ISS, fixed time recordings of WeatherFaxes etc.) 🌍 📡




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