Storing satelitte signals by Icom R20

Hello, in a project we would like to store satellite signals containing data for further processing. I have a IC-R20, and my question is if I can link this up to a PC and stor the signals using a software. Any inputs would be wellcome, any free sofware awailable…

Since the CI-V and audio are on the same connector, I don’t think you will be able to automate a schedule of satellite recordings.

You could probably find some software with VOX support and squelch the radio. Add a patch cord from the headphone jack to your PC’s line input. Then you will get recordings whenever a strong signal breaks through. That’s what I would do.

Or get a $25 RTL-SDR. There are lots of software options to automate recordings. And you can record 3 MHz wide at a time (raw IQ), enabling you to tune around and demodulate signals at a later date.

de W6EL

It might be possible to break out the CI-V and Audio. The manual doesn’t make it clear if that actually works. I don’t own one so I can’t really say.

Hi Elliott

Thanks for touching in, this is not my field, but I try to find out if it is possible. In whale project we deploy dataloggers containing multiple sensors, where one is a FastlockGPS. This data is normally received by ARGOS satellites and we get the data on the computer. However we would like to try to track the target real-time or almost real-time by receiving the satellite signals on antennas on the research vessel. Automate the FastlockGPS software and get the GPS position and track of the target. A bit like AIS signals on a chart-plotter…

All best


Hi Lars,

So you wish to receive from the sea beacon, or wish to receive from the satellite downlink directly?

In either case, you really will want a more modern and up-to-date receiver. The AOR AOR-AR8600MK2 would fit the bill nicely, assuming the bandwidth you need on the downlink fits within it (this I don’t know as I have never decoded from that satellite).

As much as I like the IC-R8600, it is nowhere near as sensitive as the AOR. And the R20 is far less sensitive than both.

I have seen a project that tracked sea life by receiving the beacons directly on an aircraft. I believe they did in fact use AOR receivers, but I cannot remember what frequency or technology was involved. For some reason I think it was VHF.

de W6EL

Thank you Elliott,

I will look into the receivers. The idea is not new, and some groups are working on this. We like to grab the satellite signal that are transmitting to the ARGOS satellites, directly on antennas on the vessel. The frequency of these sensors are at 401.677Mhz (satellite tags). When I do a table test with one transmitter using the IC-R20 the signal is okay, and in the signal there are different data along with the signal id. It is the data in then signal that I would like to transfer via a receiver to a PC. There are many different setups in use during wildlife tracking, like vhf signals, telephone signals, satellite signals. For us working with whales, the time at the surface is to short to get GPS fixes, so the technology using FastLockGPS, where some information of the satellites are collected, and this data is run in a software were the time is important, so that the collected FastLockGPS data can be merged back to how the satellites where when the whale surfaced and then we get the GPS fixes. To be close to real time tracking we need to find a system that can receive and decode this on the vessel. I am a biologist that try to sort it out. I think for the future there will be more interest in this technology in specific projects. Today we can receive this type of data within one hour when working through the ARGOS satellites.

Thanks again, nice with inputs on this topic



Very interesting!

Let us know how it goes,

de W6EL