APT Weather Satellite Reception - Decoding and Display Software
Although expensive dedicated interfaces with accompanying software are
available from commercial suppliers of weather satellite hardware, most
enthusiasts these days decode the APT data from the NOAA satellites using their
personal computer and its associated
A number of dedicated amateur programmers have produced software packages that can be obtained either free, or for a very modest charge, and produce very high-quality images indeed.
|Wxsat||Christian Bock||Wxsat is probably the
simplest entry-level soundcard program. Wxsat can decode images in
real-time. The program can simultaneously save the image as a bitmap
and store the raw data as a WAV file for future decoding and
manipulation as the signal is being received.
Wxsat is freeware. A full tutorial on using this software is here.
|JVcomm32||Eberhard Backeshoff||JVcomm32 is a multi mode program which can receive and decode weather charts, weather reports, NAVTEX and SYNOP messages, weather satellites, ham radio SSTV and FAX. NOAA weather satellite (FAX) transmissions are decoded into images in real time, and the images saved as bitmaps. A demo version is available, but JVcomm32 must be registered to create usable images.|
|WXtoImg||Craig Anderson||WXtoImg is a feature-laden program that decodes NOAA data in real-time, saving the raw data as WAV files. The program can be made to process these WAV files into images in a variety of projections, and can create colour composites of numerous types. This is the most complex of the programs listed. To release its full power, registration is required, although the freeware version has more than sufficient features for the beginner.|
|APT Decoder||Patrik Tast||APT Decoder is a
another feature-laden program that decodes NOAA data in real-time,
saving the raw data as WAV files and processing them both monochrome
and colour composite images. The particular advantage of this software
is that it is completely free.
The link to Patrik's site no longer works. I have tried to contact him via Facebook. Until I hear from him the link 'APT Decoder' will directly download an archive copy.
|SatSignal||David Taylor||Satsignal differs from
the above programs in that it does not actually demodulate NOAA data
transmissions. Satsignal has been designed specifically to create
high-quality images from pre-existing WAV files created by programs
like Wxsat and Wxtoimg. Satsignal boasts an impressive array of image
enhancement tools (gamma, histogram, creating colour composites,
sharpening, illumination adjustment, cropping noisy lines etc.)
The basic version of Satsignal is free to use, but registration is required to unlock its full range of image processing tools.
|SatScape||Scott Hather||Satscape is primarily a fantastic satellite tracking program with a beautifully crafter interface. But it also has a facility that enables it to record NOAA raw data as WAV files. Satscape can combine its tracking powers to automatically 'switch on' WAV file recording when a satellite comes within range. These can subsequently be processed into images using Wxsat and Satsignal.|
Displaying Your Images
The NOAA APT images you create can, of course, be displayed by the above decoding software packages. However, if you wish to scan through a library of archived images, a dedicated image viewing program is preferable.
One of the best such programs is IrvanView, created by Irfan Skiljan. IrfanView is completely free, and is one of the most popular pieces of software of its type. It can view all the common (and many uncommon) image formats and has an impressive 'slideshow' feature.
Click this link for more details, and to download IrfanView.