Hillbilly tracking for low earth orbit satellites

In this video, radio amateur Travis Goodspeed KK4VCZ describes his satellite tracking system to the 30th Chaos Computer Congress

The YouTube description reads:

Satellites in Low Earth Orbit have tons of nifty signals, but they move quickly though the sky and are difficult to track with fine accuracy. This lecture describes a remotely operable satellite tracking system that the author built from a Navy-surplus Inmarsat dish in Southern Appalachia.

The entire system is controlled through a Postgres database, fed by various daemons spread across multiple machines.

So when I click on a satellite on my laptop or cellphone, it runs "UPDATE target SET name='Voyager 1';" and the motor daemon then begins to track the new target while the prediction daemon maintains accurate estimates of its position in the sky. Additional daemons take spectral prints or software-defined radio recordings of the targeted object for later review.

Watch 30c3: Hillbilly Tracking of Low Earth Orbit

Further information on the system on Travis Goodspeed's Blog

Other 30c3 videos available at

30th Chaos Computer Congress, December 27-30, 2013 at the Congress Center Hamburg in Germany