Whilst it’s fantastic fun to try and hear a satellite with a handheld radio and antenna it can be a tricky dance to keep everything aligned. If you are serious about tracking satellites, a tracking antenna system is going to offer you the best signal quality and tracking. However, they can be tricky to build or expensive to buy. The AntRunner offers a solution that looks well engineered, light enough to be portable and not too expensive.
With a maximum load of 10kg, there’s plenty of capacity for whatever antenna you might choose to mount. Antennas can then be rotated 360° in azimuth and 180° in elevation giving complete coverage of the sky. It requires a 12V DC power supply and the system can be controlled with a serial connection or wirelessly via WiFi.
The AntRunner is compatible with numerous open-source control systems on a range of platforms. The ever-popular Gpredict is supported and the AntRunner drivers are included in the Hamlib main repository. If you are interested in running the AntRunner from an Android tablet the device is compatible with the open-source Look4Sat application.
Finally, the AntRunner itself weighs in at 2kg and looks pretty straightforward to rig in the field. We think this offers a great option for semi-portable ground station operations. Perfect for hiking into your favourite locale to work some satellites! 73.