Listening to Jupiter on a DIY Radio

By Jove, he built a radio!

If you want to get started with radio astronomy, Jupiter is one of the easiest celestial objects to hear from Earth. [Vasily Ivanenko] wanted to listen, and decided to build a modular radio receiver for the task. So far he’s written up six of the eight planned blog posts.

The system uses an LNA, a direct conversion receiver block, and provides audio output to a speaker, output to a PC soundcard, and a processed connection for an analog to digital converter. The modules are well-documented and would be moderately challenging to reproduce.

NASA maintains a list of receivers suitable for Jovian listening, although you can use basically any receiver that covers the right frequency band. If you want to hear what the giant planet sounds like, check out the video, below.

If you are interested in a cheap way to listen to some of our other cosmic neighbors, you might think about converting a satellite dish. Or, you can try something smaller.

40 thoughts on “Listening to Jupiter on a DIY Radio

    1. The “Jovian signal” *is* noise but it comes from Jupiter.

      So point at jupiter, did it get louder? Well done.

      You can pretty much hook a satilite + LNB + t-bias + rtl-sdr and listen to the sun if you want.

        1. The L bursts and S bursts from Jupiter (and often a combination at once). have distinctive sounds but still it is not always to easy to separate them from distant lightning and other sources of static. There are a number of examples of recordings on the web. There are also examples you download from the Radio Jove archive. The best way to learn to identify the signals, in my opinion is to follow along in some of our coordinated observations where you can see the wide RF spectra served out by observers with spectrographs along with strip chart type observations over the internet. There is free software on my website for producing the stripcharts, and if you have a SDR of the right flavor, RTL, SDRPlay, AirSpy, etc., you can produce a spectrum of Jupiter noise storms.

          A single dipole is the minimal antenna you can use and a dual dipole properly phased is twice as good. This info is available on the Radio Jove website. You will probably not be successful if you use one of those small loop antennas often seen promoted for this use,

          1. OP is using a dipole antenna though.

            Suppose I was to build the reciever and hook it up to a dipole antenna pointed somewhere in the general direction of Jupiter. How do I tell the difference between Jupiter and any other radio interference source that sounds like shot noise? How do I even know the device is functioning right?

            Presumably we can eliminate local sources by the fact that they persist even when Jupiter is nowhere in sight, but I’m sure there are radio reflections from the atmosphere, other planets, the background noise of space that sounds just like… well, noise.

        1. “OP is using a dipole antenna though.”

          So… fortunately it’s not like it’s a new discovery. Compare the received signal with those which were recorded by people with big budget huge dish directional radio telescopes. Note that the frequency is correct and the sound is the same. There you go.. you have the right signal. It’s from Jupiter.

      1. you can also tune into the Schumann resonance at 7.83, 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz.

        It’s caused by lightning induced interference that travels around the globe between the ionosphere and the ground. Nikola Tesla found this resonance, and because he was so obsessed with resonances he entertained a dream of deliberately inducing energy into it and drawing it back at another point.

        The principle is basically how the modern version of wireless electricity works, although the modern version uses resonant magnetic fields instead of radio waves. The Tesla version would have never worked because it leaks way too much energy, but pseudoscientific conspiracy theories persist.

        1. If you google “Tesla Secret” There is thousands of people just on the cusp of unlocking the secret to {insert something insane here}. Tesla was a genius but quite a few of his idea’s will never work. He did leave a brilliant legacy of things that did work though. It’s just a shame there are so many charlatans using his name to promote their lies.

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