ThumbNet. ( http://www.thumbsat.com/thumbnet ) was born to encourage students around the world to look up at the stars and to give them a chance to feel that they are part of something larger. The hardware to track and monitor radio signals from satellites in orbit is donated to the schools by ThumbNet, and with over 225 volunteer groups in more than 72 countries, we’re having an immediate and positive effect on the lives of hundreds of students around the globe!
Please read the press release about a new receiver for Software Defined Radio (SDR) (http://www.arrl.org/software-defined-radio) that was developed by Wade, W4VNO, for ThumbNet
Wade VanLandingham, W4VNO, recently told me via email the following:
“ThumbNet’s N3 SDR receiver is unique in its design and it is competitive in cost with the majority of the SDR dongles on Amazon or eBay. We design and produce updates of the receiver to meet the needs of the ThumbNet network, (This is the 3rd generation.) but due to minimum order quantities from the manufacturer, we end up with several hundred more than we need each time we do so. In order to not have thousands of SDR radios laying around, I try to offer them to others that share our education efforts (like Girl Scouts) or simply may have an interest in working with them (like HAM clubs). The small proceeds that remain go right back into the project to support its continued outreach and growth, and not into someone’s retirement fund.”
There is at least one other, open source distributed ground station effort getting started, SatNOGS (https://satnogs.org/). It is not limited to the ThumbSats like the ThumbNet project is.