Getting started with ADS-B
Starting out with gr-air-modes, I quickly saw planes moving about on a map and read this message from my living room:
(-43 0.00000000) Type 21 TCAS report from a35be8:
threat ID: 118faf1 advised: DON'T DESCEND DON'T
DESCEND >500FPM DON'T DESCEND >1000FPM DON'T CLIMB
>500FPM TURN LEFT complement: (multiple threats)
(resolved) ident a94
(-34 0.00000000) Type 17 BDS0,8 (ident) from aa1add type LIGHT ident N750JM
(-33 0.00000000) Type 17 BDS0,9-1 (track report) from aa1add with velocity 165kt heading 107 VS -768
I was hooked! I decided to make an antenna, and then another, then the Pi, and further schemes to
see what kind of range I'm getting with this.
After a night of collecting flight data, I decided I should relieve my
laptop from ADS-B duty and got a Raspberry Pi B+
to take over. After a short period of being impressed with how nice
the little pi works, reading and ignoring various lines from this guide,
, I was in business.
I'm using Mutability's fork
which has a lot of nice improvements over the original Antirez source.
Fire it up and check out the built in webserver on port 8080 of the host.
has a nice
example of the crowded European skies! Apart from the webserver,
dump1090 can post data in a variety of formats, some of which can be
sent to ADS-B aggregators.
While you get a nice amount of information with ADS-B, you don't get specific information about
the plane or flights which you can find from other trackers. airframes.org
has a very nice searchable collection but also a very kind no bots message. Respecting this, I found that
Paul Little has a nice sqlite3 database
of airframes and corresponding ICAO codes hosted at the Manchester TMA Overflights group
The FAA aircraft registry
is also a good source to find out more about aircraft in the US.
Here is a quick command line statement to fetch some information about ICAO code A7367F:
sqlite3 -csv basestation_latest/basestation.sqb "select modes, Registration, ICAOTypeCode, Operatorflagcode from aircraft where ModeS = 'A7367F';"
I need to compare the open source 1090 options to see which one reliably gets the best reception.
dump1090 works very well and has a built in httpd and can export to various formats easily.
gr-air-modes seems less stable but shows more messages. modes_gui is a nice starter program.
Most aircraft identification names are the flight number, others are less descriptive. Is this Mike Judge's personal plane?
Altitude : 2950 feet
ICAO Address : a7367f
Comm-B BDS : 20
BDS 2,0 Aircraft Identification : BUTTAIR
An unofficial database look at the ICAO address shows it's a Jetstream 4101 (JS41) with tail number N564HK. It's also owned by the leasing operator Wells Fargo Bank Northwest NA Trustee. 2 days later this plane was Identifying as "BUTTFACE".