I'm interested in building a Raspberry Pi based radio astronomy telescope. I'm not too set on any particular science objectives, but rather just want to get some experience with the full system, learn some about radio waves, and have some fun tinkering.

I see some various guides online such as:

But most of these guides are somewhat outdated or using relatively expensive hardware. I'm hoping to either use an old dish TV antenna or build my own from affordable components and then have an RTLSDR and Raspberry Pi form the main electronics parts of the system.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

  • Could you please stress out the part of your question that relates to Raspberry Pi? Building a radio telescope itself is off-topic. Dec 19, 2019 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


Well, I think the home made cheapie radio astronomy telescopes described in the articles you referred are the cheapest toys you can find. What Rpi can help is at the final output stage, doing the ADC and DigiPot jobs as shown in the following picture:

rt interface

You can find dirt cheap 10/12/16/24 bit low noise ADC and POT modules from AliExpress or Amazon. What Rpi can do more is time stamped data logging, stored in files for real time offline data analysis or AI pattern recognition and talking to aliens in the Galaxy/Universe, ...

For a feasibility, you don't need 9 bit accuracy, I would recommend the US$1 cheap guy - 8 bit PCF8591 ADC/DAC module which can do both ADC and POT. There is even on board a Sun light sensitive resistor to emulate the Sun!


(1) PCF8591 8 bit ADC/DAC Datasheet - NXP

(2) PCF 8591 ADC/DAC Module - AlliExpress US$1

(3) [Rpi (Rpi4B supported] Preloaded with Radio Astronomy Telescope Software - rtl-sdr.com 2019Dec17]4

(4) A Basic Primer On Setting Up An Amateur Radio Telescope -Cliff Bates KC7PPM 1998jan17

(5) Build Your Own [FM] Radio Telescope to Listen to Meteors - Nicole Gugliucci 2014aug08

(6) How to Use Your FM Radio to Detect Meteors - Sky Scan 2011nov19

(7) tmall TP-Link (60cm diameter) 2.4GHz 24dBi 2×2 MIMO Dish Antenna TL-ANT2424MD [普聯技術碟形天線[ - ¥680

(8) DSP PLL LCD 87-108MHZ Digital FM Radio Receiver Module (Rpi Compatible UART AT Commands) - ¥36

(9) China Sky Eye, the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, is now fully operational - Chinese Academy of Sciences 2019sep09

(10) Aerial view of world's largest radio telescope, in Guizhou, China 2017sep28

(11) 44 pulsars identified by China's FAST telescope

china fast rt


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