While the term “upcycle” is relatively recent, we feel like [saveitforparts] has been doing it for a long time. He’d previously built gear to pick up low-Earth orbit satellites, but now wants to pick up geosynchronous birds which requires a better antenna. While his setup won’t win a beauty contest, it does seem to work, and saved some trash from a landfill, too. (Video, embedded below.)
Small dishes are cheap on the surplus market. A can makes a nice feedhorn using a classic cantenna design, although that required aluminum tape since the only can in the trash was a cardboard oatmeal carton. The tape came in handy when the dish turned out to be about 25% too small, as well.
The dish isn’t just ugly, it probably won’t stand up to everyday use. The bit error rate was a bit high, but he did manage to pull down images from GOES-16. It sounds like he has plans to weatherize it and mount the dish permanently. The Raspberry Pi scripts would not work properly on his laptop, so he finally switched to a Pi. The images looked great
It seems to be a rite of passage to build a ground station out of junk. You might have better luck with some of the other software that is available.