Wxsat¬ is probably the simplest entry-level soundcard program. Wxsat can decode images in real-time. The program can simultaneously save the image as a bitmap and store the raw data as a WAV file for future decoding and manipulation as the signal is being received.¬ Wxsat is freeware. A full tutorial on using this software is¬ here.
JVcomm32¬ is a multi mode program which can receive and decode weather charts, weather reports, NAVTEX and SYNOP messages, weather satellites, ham radio SSTV and FAX. NOAA weather satellite (FAX) transmissions are decoded into images in real time, and the images saved as bitmaps. A demo version is available, but JVcomm32 must be registered to create usable images.
WXtoImg¬ is a feature-laden program that decodes NOAA data in real-time, saving the raw data as WAV files. The program can be made to process these WAV files into images in a variety of projections, and can create colour composites of numerous types. This is the most complex of the programs listed. To release its full power, registration is required, although the freeware version has more than sufficient features for the beginner.
APT Decoder¬ is a another feature-laden program that decodes NOAA data in real-time, saving the raw data as WAV files and processing them both monochrome and colour composite images. The particular advantage of this software is that it is completely free.
Satsignal¬ differs from the above programs in that it does not actually demodulate NOAA data transmissions. Satsignal has been designed specifically to create high-quality images from pre-existing WAV files created by programs like Wxsat and Wxtoimg. Satsignal boasts an impressive array of image enhancement tools (gamma, histogram, creating colour composites, sharpening, illumination adjustment, cropping noisy lines etc.) The basic version of Satsignal is free to use, but registration is required to unlock its full range of image processing tools.
Satscape¬ is primarily a fantastic satellite tracking program with a beautifully crafter interface. But it also has a facility that enables it to record NOAA raw data as WAV files. Satscape can combine its tracking powers to automatically 'switch on' WAV file recording when a satellite comes within range. These can subsequently be processed into images using Wxsat and Satsignal.