NOAA Weather/Radio Fax over Shortwave Radio

July 13, 2010

While it would be a lot of fun to set up a weather satellite receiver and read signals from space, cost and time begins to become an issue.

So, while reading about receiving sat. signals, I learned that NOAA also broadcasts various weather maps over shortwave radio for marine vessels. I just happened to have a little shortwave receiver and with the closest NOAA Radiofax station in New Orleans, I thought I'd see what I could pick up.

Using a piece of software called MultiMode and with my radio tuned to 8503.9 kHz, I plugged my radio's audio out into my laptop's audio in, checked the broadcast schedule, and waited to see what I could see.

With the built-in antenna the signal was a bit noisy, but you can see the outline of a map coming through. Not too bad. It takes a minute or two for each map to be received. You can see my results below. And below that is what the map is supposed to look like.

NOAA Weather Radiofax

NOAA Weather Radiofax original

My next task is to try again using a proper antenna. With the ubiquity of the internet, it's fun to obtain data using these older methods.

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