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Maker Creates a Tricorder to Detect Starlink Satellites

Written by Stephen Vicinanza

A crafty maker created a tricorder to detect Starlink satellites. Of course, it has a Raspberry Pi inside. You could say the developer and maker, Saveitforparts has gone where no maker has gone before. He is using his homemade Raspberry Pi-based tricorder to detect Starlink satellites.

Tricorders are a device used to scan the environment around them, seen in Star Trek shows and movies. Saveitforparts uses his device to scan his surroundings looking for things like RF signals, and thermal bodies. There was an earlier report, found here, but now there is an update. The use of his Tricorder has moved to celestial bodies, looking for low-orbit satellites, which is an appropriate use of a tricorder.

The Starlink satellites are low-orbit relays for broadband connections. The Starlink system is run by SpaceX and used to provide internet access to many places, and often in places where it is hard to bring internet services by traditional fiber optics or cable.

The new upgrade to Saveitforparts tricorder is thanks to an LNB module scavenged from an old satellite dish. The module is capable of detecting KU-band radio beacons emanating from the Starlink satellites. The Starlink security system doesn’t allow for internet access but does allow the location of the satellite to be detected, as they pass overhead. The visual indicator displays the satellite as trails on the Tricorder’s LCD screen.

All the hardware rests snuggly inside a waterproof bright orange case. There are visual representations of the data collected from things like a thermal camera module, RF scanner, and more. The Tricorder can go on-the-road, with a nifty battery pack that allows it to be completely portable. The specifications and detailed accounting of the project can be found on the Saveitforparts blog. There is a recent showcase of the Starlink upgrades. Saveitforparts has a number of projects, many of which can be built at home. Here is his blog link, for more information

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For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.

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Maker Creates a Tricorder to Detect Starlink Satellites

by Stephen Vicinanza time to read: 1 min