Simple Sat Tracker

Working amateur radio satellites is fun. What is even more fun though (at least to me)
is building all the automation into a station to make it even more technologically advanced. After all, Amateur Radio is a technical hobby where one is free to experiment and build. In the past I used a TS-2000 (and FT-736R before that) for sat contacts. Gpredict served very well as software for pass prediction and rig control for doppler shift. What I was lacking however was a automatic way to track the antennas so I had to do that manually which often times left me forgetting it during a QSO wondering why the signal was fading given the satellite was still visible.
There are quite a few solutions for Yaesu’s G5500 AZ/EL rotor combo. Which btw. is quite pricey and I never saw the need to spring for it given the limited availability of satellites and operating times. I went with two yagis mounted at fixed 20 degree elevation on a cheap AR-303 rotor and that did the trick as well. What this was lacking though was the ability to remote control the rotor from software. Enter Arduino stage left.
I began by understanding how the rotor controller works on a 3-wire rotor and then built the interface using an Arduino UNO and a relay shield so that I could trigger direction and tuning

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Next came the interfacing of all this and adding a LCD display to show status information.

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I’m currently trying to fix some last bugs in the code. But more or less it’s working (sometimes) to the point where it’s successfully tracking a satellite.
I will share more about this project in the coming days as I go along fixing the last bugs and making it finally work.

3 thoughts on “Simple Sat Tracker

  1. Hello my friend. I have a rotor AR-303 for tracking sat.
    I need info for automatized the system…are you more info? You can replyu to my

    PD: my english is very little, sorry for errors. Thanks

  2. Hello
    I am curious about the source code you are using. I have recently built a rotor project that I seen on YouTube. The mechanics are done. It is for use with an Arrow antenna and a camera tripod. I have purchased an Arduino uno with a DFROBOT 2amp motor shield. I also have recently picked up an LCD screen. My experience with writing source is limited. That being said I taking my time working through the steps. The motors for the elev. and Azimuth are small 1/4 amp low rpm high torque dc. More than enough for the job.If you could. Would you be able offer any direction on the source code. Tnx de VA3NXE

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