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Satellite Weather FAX System

This page is a work in progress. Click on a thumbnail for a larger image.

08/04/2012 - APT is back in service. The Woodhouse 6X6 antennas and Yaesu G5500 have been retired. The National RF WX-137Q QFH antenna has been reinstalled and is the primary antenna for the system. The images won't be as good as the 6X6 array but there are no expensive moving parts to fail.

06/19/2012 - The G5500 azimuth rotator suffered a massive mechanical failure. This is the second failure of the azimuth rotator. The stacked 6X6 antennas and rotators have been taken down. The APT system will be out of service indefinitely.

It seems Woodhouse is no longer in business. Antennas and replacement parts do not appear to be available.

 
Background

The Weather FAX system receives APT (Automatic Picture Transmission) data from NOAA POES (Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite[s]) as they pass within range of the receiving station. The whole surface of the Earth is scanned by POES spacecraft sensors several times a day. Currently there are three POES spacecraft transmitting APT. NOAA 15 is the AM spacecraft. NOAA 19 and NOAA 18 are the PM spacecrafts. NOAA 18 has suspected gyro system problems and may fail in a few months. NOAA 18 is not displayed here because NOAA 18 and NOAA 19 orbits overlap causing reception problems. More information about POES can be found here.

The received signal is sent to the weather station computer where WxtoImg image processing software extracts the data and generates the images. Additional information about WxtoImg can be found here.

Image quality varies depending on which satellite is overhead and the satellite ground track.


The downlink antenna has been upgraded from the National RF WX-137Q QFH omni directional antenna to a stacked pair of Woodhouse 6X6 12 element circularly polarized beams on a Yaesu G-5500 AZ/EL rotator. The Woodhouse beams give much better low elevation angle reception. The WX-137Q is still installed and is the backup antenna.


Hamtronics R139 Weather FAX Receiver
R139

Left Front: Hamtronics R139
Left Rear: Computer Audio Cable
Center: Receiver Breakout Box Parts
Right Front: Hamtronics Speaker
Right Rear: R139 Power Supply


DB9
DB-9 Interface Connector
Breakout Box
Adapter Box Close-up
Breakout Box
Adapter Box

Hamtronics Web site

Stacked Woodhouse 6X6 Antennas
on Yaesu G-5500 AZ-EL Rotator
Click a thumbnail for larger image

Wooshouse 6X6
As shipped

Woodhouse 6X6
Carton Contents
Woodhouse 6X6
Unpacked
Woodhouse 6X6
Assembled 6X6
WH 6X6
Stacked Woodhouse 6X6 Antennas
on Yaesu G-5500 Rotator
WH 6X6
6X6s in Parked Position
WX-137A
National RF WX-137A Preamp
WX-137A
Mounted WX-137A Preamp
Yaesu G-5500
Yaesu G-5500 Rotator Box Contents
G-5500
Top: GS-232B Computer Controller
Center: R139 Receiver
Bottom: G-5500 Control Box
WH 6X6
Cable Routing
WH 6X6
Close up of Yaesu G-5500
Cable Routing
6X6 Feed Point
Antenna Farm
Front: Discone Scanner Antenna
Middle: Boltek StormTracker Antennas
Rear: National RF WX-137Q
National RF Web site
Woodhouse Web site
Yaesu Web site

Other APT Antennas
WX-137Q
National RF WX-137Q QFH
WX-137Q
Looks strange from the ground.
APT-2CP
Woodhouse APT-2CP Turnstile
APT-2CP
Looking from the ground.

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