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  • ADS-B FR24 etc

    Not simulator related but....
    With my interests in Aviation, Radio and IT, I thought a good project would be to set up an ADS-B receiver to see how far I could receive ADS-B signals.

    I've built a Colinear Coaxial Antenna, have a spare Raspberry Pi in the garage and ordered a DVB-T dongle which I'm waiting to arrive.

    My project will be to experiment with different home built antennas and then finally send my feed to Flight Radar24 and the like.

    Has anybody else ever done this or similar?
    If you don't use BOINC or World Community Grid then you should!


  • #2
    I use a home built ADS-B receiver using a raspberry pi3 for my real world flying. They work better in the air, but do surprising things on the ground too. I have picked up aircraft over 75 miles away.




    I use an Anker 26800 mAh Battery with it that is velcroed on for power.
    It also has a USB GPS dongle on the top that is velcroed on.
    Last edited by Travis; July 17th, 2017, 07:31 PM.

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    • #3
      Nice.
      You've got the height advantage :d I'm hoping to get around 30nm playing with different base antennas and locations.

      What software do you use?
      If you don't use BOINC or World Community Grid then you should!

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      • #4
        http://stratux.me/ With an Ipad and Foreflight. If you can somehow get the antennas at least at roof line or so that would be the best option. I don't know how the logistics of that would be, but yea. It doesn't work exactly at clear line of sight, but it sure helps if you can have clear line of sight to the range of aircraft you want to look at from the antenna. You may even be able to pick up an ADS-B tower if you are close enough to one. I have on the ground, but you have to be close, or have the altitude. Could always borrow someones drone and lift it up progressively to see if you can even get one haha. Anyway, The higher you can go, the better. Let me know if you have any other questions I can possibly answer.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ATC_ROO View Post
          You've got the height advantage :d I'm hoping to get around 30nm playing with different base antennas and locations.
          That's a really really short distance! :glee: (I'm sure you meant 30 nmi. )

          You may want to avoid too many elements on your collinear unless it's really well anchored and supported, else you may get the main lobe tilting in the wind. Plus you'd miss nearer aircraft at altitude.

          Are you planning to listen to both 1090 and 978 MHz? That would another reason for limiting the gain of the collinear so you can maintain bandwidth and use a single antenna, though if your coax is fairly thick I guess it should be OK.

          This is the kind of project I'd have loved to have done in the 80s.
          Follow our @msflights Twitter feed here for event reminders. Find out more about how our Twitter feed works here. Freeware aircraft and utilities in https://is.gd/StormsHangar

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          • #6
            Yes NM not nm :nevreness:.

            I think the software I'll be using is FlightRadar24s but will look a different software including the one you posted Travis.

            I've been building Antennas for 1090mhz as FR24 only supports 1090 AFAIK.
            I was not even aware you could receive weather on 978.
            I tuned one of my radios to 978 and had a flic about but didn't seem to be receiving any kind of signal, just static.

            My Colinear is built of 8 elements of 116mm and I'm using 75 Ohm coax due to the receiver being 75 Ohms.
            I've installed it in a length of plastic conduit in order to keep the weather out and this also helps to keep it vertical.

            My amatuer radio course years ago taught me about line of sight and that I can expect to work a station as far as I can see plus a little further.

            That's always been my Rule of thumb but obviously depends on area, transmit stations power, summer solstice etc.

            So although initially testing at ground level, I may (When Mrs Roo isn't looking) mount the chosen antenna on the gable end which will give it a 360deg view of the horizon.
            I can then position the Pi in my loft keeping the coax run fairly short to reduce loss.

            Just awaiting the dongle to arrive.
            Last edited by ATC_ROO; July 18th, 2017, 10:38 AM.
            If you don't use BOINC or World Community Grid then you should!

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            • #7
              I notice FR24 only mentions 1090, but IIRC the FAA wants 978 to be used for General Aviation below 18,000 ft (to reduce 1090 band congestion). Don't know whether if that will even apply to Europe. I'm no expert in any case!

              I used to wonder whether I should reactivate my old ham license, dormant for the last 20 years, but I'm in a different country now and I suspect it will never happen.
              Follow our @msflights Twitter feed here for event reminders. Find out more about how our Twitter feed works here. Freeware aircraft and utilities in https://is.gd/StormsHangar

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              • #8
                Like the US, I would imagine their is some way to find out online where the positions of these are. It is not easy to find, but it is there. I would suspect your best chances are near a major airport. If you are not within 30 miles of an airport that keeps a fair amount of jets going in and out, then you probably shouldn't waste much money on trying. If I were you, I would try to get that raspberry pi set up with Foreflight (Free might work) or another EFB(Electronic Flight Bag) that has the capability to pick them up and drive around to your nearest big airport. The tower location will only show up on the Foreflight map when they have a connection. Also you can be connected to many at once. I don't know the limit, but I have personally been connected to at least 5 while in the air at 3,000ft or below. I know Orlando (KMCO) has 2, and Tampa (KTPA) has 1. Not sure where I was picking up the others because I was busy flying around lol, but I know when I was first testing it(driving around) at Orlando, I had to be within about 1-2 miles from the airport property to get the tower.

                Good luck, I will keep an eye here.

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                • #9
                  Well the dongle arrived yesterday and I'm initially up and running receiving data which I'm sending to FlightRadar24 and Flightaware.
                  The fun starts now by optimising my setup and I'll post a write up with a few pictures shortly.
                  So far I'm receiving high level stuff at just over 100NM and the lowest aircraft I've tracked was at 800ft.
                  If you don't use BOINC or World Community Grid then you should!

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