Outernet is a service intended for providing web-based information to individuals without access to the web. It is a startup computer and still going through much revision. The service will surely morph over time as interest and finances grow, but for now it’s an exciting project to be able to monitor and receive (even if I do have an internet connection!).
My Ku-band Outernet receiver hardware consists of:
- Raspberry Pi Model B and power, 8Gb+ SD card & case
- 802.11b/g/n wireless USB adapter (RTL 8188 chipset)
- Winegard Ku dish – it’s entirely possible an old Dish Network or Direct TV dish could be repurposed for this project, I’m just not sure.
- Linear Ku .4dB LNB – even if you repurpose a commercial dish, you’ll still need a universal LNB, check other sources because these can be purchase cheap.
- Generic USB DVB-S receiver – Be sure your receiver is supported by the Outernet software!
The software for an Outernet receiver (ORx) consists of a few pieces.
- Raspbian – my go-to Raspi distro
- TVheadend – the interface for the DVB-S receiver
- librarian – the archive manager for ORx
- ondd – The Outernet Data Delivery agent (software the decodes the bitstream off the satellite)
Following any FTA satellite tutorial, install your LNB and aim your dish to the southern sky so you can get a signal off of Galaxy 19. A tool like GeoSatFinder can help a lot with aiming. If the dish is aligned, it will be possible to get over 100 free video signals off of Galaxy 19. (Not that you’ll want to watch many of them!)
I have my dish mounted to a fence post that is sunk in a Home Depot bucket of concrete. The dish is low on the pole coming out of the concrete so it is not top heavy. I am at 32.5°N, so my dish is aimed according to that latitude. Knowing your longitude (I’m at 94.7°W) will also be necessary for aiming your dish east or west. (Galaxy 19, our intended target, is at 97°W so I have the dish aimed about 2° west of due south (~182° on my compass). Yeah, re-read that.)
So, with our dish aimed at Galaxy 19, we can test and fine-tune the dish’s signal with either a signal meter or by connecting the coax right to the DVB-S receiver. The signal meter will output a steady tone that will peak when you are aimed squarely at a Ku satellite – not just G19, so be sure you’re aimed at least close to 97°W. Besides adjusting east and west, you may also need to adjust the angle the dish is pointed (you might also adjust the rotation of the LNB to eek a little stronger signal out of the bird). Tools like GeoSatFinder will get your signal close, but a small amount of tweaking can help get the strongest possible signal for your exact setup and location.
If you do not have a satellite signal meter you can use the DVB-S receiver connected to a desktop to monitor the video quality of any feed. Outernet is (at the time of writing) on Transponder 27 for Galaxy 19. If you are seeing the white background Outernet screen shown above, you are ready to begin configuring the Pi to handle the bitstream coming off the satellite.
With Raspbian, you’ll need to install a few tools to get started with the Outernet install process. You’ll need to install pip by running:
Then you will be able to download librarian (from link above) using wget Then you can use pip to install the version of librarian your downloaded.
I >found out you need to somewhat roll your own LME2510C driver. So here’s how to accomplish that task if you used the LME2510C DVB-S receiver:
Download the windows driver file US2B0D.sys to extract the part you need.
Then, run each of the following commands. The steps below will: extract the driver into a usable format, rename the device ID, copy the file to the firmware directory so the rpi-update process will pick it up and install it. You’ll then have to reboot (as per the rpi-update directions) for the changes to take effect.
echo -ne \\xF0\\x22 | dd conv=notrunc bs=1 count=2 seek=266 of=dvb-usb-lme2510c-rs2000.fw
sudo cp dvb-usb-lme2510c-rs2000.fw /lib/firmware
sudo reboot Having done this, you should be able to boot and see your DVB-S receiver showing up in TVheadend by visiting port 9981 on your Raspberry Pi via a web browser. (For example http://192.168.100.2:9981)
For any FAQ or support related issued, consult the Outernet community.
For further review, you might check out this ORx HOWTO guide.
I am an ARRL ETP instructor for the ARRL Teachers’ Institute and an Instructional Designer and faculty at LeTourneau University, W5LET, in Longview, TX. I am also a doctoral candidate from the University of Texas at Brownsville. My current research interests include epistemology and the efficacy of education technology.
I became an ARRL Life Member at the ARRL Centinnial Convention in Hartford, CT, in 2014. Here is my QRZ page. In addition to amateur radio and electronics tinkering, I enjoy webscripting and computer gaming.