The easiest way to know where a satellite is standing relative to your position on earth, is to make use of tracking software. Another advantage of the tracking software is that it can perform the Doppler correction using the cat interface of your transceiver. There are several software packages available that I will describe.
JSatTrak is a Satellite tracking program written in Java. It allows you to predict the position of any satellite in real time or in the past or future. It uses advanced SGP4/SDP4 algorithms developed by NASA/NORAD or customizable high precision solvers to propagate satellite orbits. The program also allows for easy updating of current satellite tracking data via CelesTrak.com. Because this application was written in Java, it should run on almost any operating system or directly off the web using java web start!
Gpredict is a real-time satellite tracking and orbit prediction application. It can track an unlimited number of satellites and display their position and other data in lists, tables, maps, and polar plots (radar view). Gpredict can also predict the time of future passes for a satellite, and provide you with detailed information about each pass. Gpredict is different from other satellite tracking programs in that it allows you to group the satellites into visualisation modules. Each of these modules can be configured independently from the others giving you unlimited flexibility concerning the look and feel of the modules. Naturally, Gpredict will also allow you to track satellites relatively to different observer locations – at the same time.
- Fast and accurate real-time satellite tracking using the NORAD SGP4/SDP4 algorithms.
- No software limit on the number of satellites or ground stations.
- Appealing visual presentation of the satellite data using maps, tables and polar plots(radar views).
- Allows you to group satellites into modules, each module having its own visual layout, and being customisable on its own. Of course, you can use several modules at the same time.
- Radio and antenna rotator control for autonomous trakcing.
- Efficient and detailed predictions of future satellite passes. Prediction parameters and conditions can be fine-tuned by the user to allow both general and very specialised predictions.
- Context sensitive pop-up menus allow you to quickly predict future passes by clicking on any satellite.
- Exhaustive configuration options allowing advanced users to customise both the functionality and look & feel of the program.
- Automatic updates of the Keplerian Elements from the web via HTTP, FTP, or from local files.
- Robust design and multi-platform implementation integrates gpredict well into modern computer desktop environments, including Linux, BSD, Windows, and Mac OS X.
- Free software licensed under the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public License allowing you to freely use it, learn from it, modify it, and re-distribute it.
HRD Satellite Tracker
This program is part of Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) is a suite of free Windows programs providing computer control for commonly used transceivers, receivers and rotators, this component is responsible for tracking satellites.
Website: Nova for Windows
The programs SatPC32 and Wisat32 perform orbit calculations of earth orbiting satellites. SatPC32 displays the footprints of one or more selected satellites on political or physical world maps and outputs related text data. Wisat32 shows a list of satellite positions in real time but without graphical functions. Both programs allow antenna tracking and radio frequency tuning (CAT) to compensate for Doppler effect. Wisat32, however, does not support CAT steering of the Icom and Yaesu half duplex transceivers. VFO frequency tuning, as required by modes like SSB through analog transponders (AO-7, VO-52), is also possible.
Website: SatPC32 (en)