My bitcoin node, on an old and grumpy Linux laptop, has been getting the latest bitcoin ledger blocks through Blockstream Satellite since 2018. Blockstream Satellite is a service that is enabled by 4 geostationairy satellites, to cover the largest part of the globe. These 4 satellites broadcast the bitcoin ledger on a continuous basis. As an add-on, there is a Lightning Network powered Blockstream Satellite API which can be used to broadcast data globally, for only a few satoshis.

Last week, Blockstream announced an upgrade to the service, that included new S/W that should provide higher datarates and higher datalimits for files to share with the Blockstream Satellite API. In addition, there are a number of new Blockstream products in store, amongst which the flat panel receiver is most interesting for me. One recurring challenge is always to point my dish exactly to the Telstar 11N satellite. Just mispointing 0.5 degree means totally missing that satellite's signal from an altitude 36.000 km above the equator. In addition, the LNB, in the focal point of my dish, has an offset that is sometimes bigger than the bandwidth of the signal. As such, the S/W doesn't recognise the signal, and you think the dish is not pointed well, while actually, it is pointing where it needs to be pointed. With a flat panel, this will be so much easier. Just place it roughly in a clear direction, and you should be done. 2nd on my list is one of those TBS 5927 DVB-S2 tuners. What happens now is that such a tuner is being simulated in my SDR USB dongle, and it becomes steaming hot.

I have been testing the new S/W now for a few days, and got it to work! An update of bitcoind from version 0.15 to 0.19 is needed, as there exists now a special Bitcoind Satellite edition!

One thing I noticed is that cable length between my dish and computer has a big impact on the performance. As this is not noticable with the good old Blockstream Satellite 1.0, this took some time to find out. Of course the higher datarates become, the higher the losses in the COAX cable become. There is a number of S/W and H/W updates that I still want to make before I have it exactly as I want, but I can recommend anyone running a bitcoin node to try this out! For little less than 100 euro you can get the equipment to make it work the DIY way, or you go immediately for one of the Blockstream Satellite kits of course.

My Blockstream Satellite set-up is also an integral part of my new company Bitlinq. Together with the Lacuna Space IOT terminal, I have created an off-grid internet access capability.

I wish you a happy 3rd halving! This morning, my node predicted it to be at 22:00 CET tonight (May 11, 2020).