ADS-B Mode-S

My tracking of nearby ADSB-out aircraft using my local AWACS server.

Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast - Mode-S

On January 1, 2020, all aircraft in US airspace will be required to have an ADSB-out or UAT capable transponder to transmit their position information to ATC or other aircraft. Since the transmission happens at 1090MHz, is vertically polarized, and is receivable within a line of sight, ground stations can pick up signals from aircraft hundreds of nautical miles away flying at high altitude!

Unscientific deployment observation

Being within the KIAH Mode-C ring, all planes are required to have a squawkable transponder for the primary ATC radar. Unfortunately, most of these planes are invisible without the 1090MHz transponder which allows for a MLAT(multi-lateration) calculation with multiple base stations. Sometimes an ADSB-IN aircraft is flying nearby which will activate a ADSB-R (rebroadcast). The traffic within several miles and within 5000' of the aircraft will be rebroadcast meaning that my AWACS system can now see the ground traffic at major airports as well as random signatures for the remainder of the transponder only flights.

Yesterday's Stats

Yesterday's Flights Last 24h range

Country summary

Total airframes: 1906
unidentified: 76 3.99%

Bahamas: 1 0.05%
Canada: 33 1.73%
China: 1 0.05%
Colombia: 1 0.05%
France: 3 0.16%
Germany: 5 0.26%
India: 1 0.05%
Ireland: 1 0.05%
Japan: 1 0.05%
Luxembourg: 4 0.21%
Malta: 1 0.05%
Mexico: 56 2.94%
Netherlands: 2 0.1%
New Zealand: 1 0.05%
Panama: 1 0.05%
Qatar: 3 0.16%
Turkey: 1 0.05%
United Arab Emirates: 2 0.1%
United Kingdom: 6 0.31%
United States: 1727 90.61%
United States Luftwaffe: 46 2.41%
Taiwan: 2 0.1%
Unassigned (EUR / NAT regions): 1 0.05%
Unassigned (MID region): 1 0.05%
Unassigned (NAM / PAC regions): 1 0.05%
Balloons (reserved for future use): 3 0.16%
Unassigned (reserved for future use): 1 0.05%

Airframe summary

T-38 : 5
C-17 : 2
C-130 : 1
C-130J : 2
KC-135 : 1
RC-135 : 1
B717 : 19
B727 : 4
B737 : 496
B747 : 9
B757 : 24
B767 : 27
B777 : 31
B787 : 9
DC-9 : 3
DC-10 : 3
MD-11 : 6
MD-8x : 19
A300 : 5
A319 : 74
A320 : 120
A321 : 68
A330 : 3
A380 : 3
E-135 : 22
E-145 : 38
E-145XR : 20
E-170 : 19
ERJ-175 : 113
E-190 : 20
CRJ700 : 22
CRJ900 : 50
TexanII : 8
Gulfstream : 43
LearJet : 29
Falcon2000 : 16
Falcon900 : 9
Falcon : 11
Beechcraft : 73
Piper : 12
Mooney : 8
Cessna-172 : 14
Cessna-182 : 2
Citabria : 1

Airline flight summary

Total : 2329
Callsign is tail number: 342
Numerical: 26
Unidentified: 30
AAL/AA - American Airlines : 203
AAY/G4 - Allegiant Air : 10
ABX/GB - ABX Air : 2
AFR/AF - Air France : 4
SLI/5D - AeroMexico Connect : 12
AJT/M6 - Amerijet International : 1
TNO/ - Aerotransporte de Carga Union : 2
AMX/AM - AeroMéxico : 14
ANA/NH - All Nippon Airways : 2
ANZ/NZ - Air New Zealand : 2
VIV/VB - Aeroenlaces Nacionales : 3
ASA/AS - Alaska Airlines : 17
ASQ/EV - ExpressJet Airlines : 111
NGF/ - Angel Flight America : 1
VTM/ - Aeronaves TSM : 3
CCA/CA - Air China International : 1
GTI/5Y - Atlas Air : 13
JZA/QK - Air Canada Jazz : 1
RCH/MC - Air Mobility Command : 4
SCM/ - American Jet International : 1
TSC/TS - Air Transat : 2
BAW/BA - British Airways : 6
BVN/ - Baron Aviation Services : 1
LXJ/ - Flexjet : 5
CLX/CV - Cargolux : 4
CPZ/CP - Compass Airlines : 1
CMP/CM - Copa Airlines : 1
DAL/DL - Delta Air Lines : 80
EVA/BR - EVA Air : 2
EMD/ - Eaglemed (Ballard Aviation) : 1
UAE/EK - Emirates : 3
EJM/ - Executive Jet Management : 3
EJA/1I - NetJets : 26
FLC/ - FINFO Flight Inspection Aircraft : 2
DCM/ - FLTPLAN : 3
FDX/FX - Federal Express : 13
OPT/ - Flight Options : 2
FFT/F9 - Frontier Airlines : 13
GJS/G7 - GoJet Airlines : 4
HPJ/ - Hop-A-Jet : 1
IFC/ - Indian Air Force : 1
JBU/B6 - JetBlue Airways : 30
KLM/KL - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines : 3
CKS/K4 - Kalitta Air : 3
DLH/LH - Lufthansa : 4
GEC/LH - Lufthansa Cargo : 1
MRA/ - Martinaire : 1
ASH/YV - Mesa Airlines : 254
JIA/OH - PSA Airlines : 1
PAT/ - Priority Air Transport : 2
QTR/QR - Qatar Airways : 4
LBQ/ - Quest Diagnostics : 1
RPA/RW - Republic Airlines : 64
SCX/SY - Sun Country Airlines : 8
SIS/ - Saber Airlines : 2
SWA/WN - Southwest Airlines : 277
SWG/WG - Sunwing Airlines : 7
NKS/NK - Spirit Airlines : 57
SKW/OO - SkyWest : 65
THY/TK - Turkish Airlines : 2
UAL/UA - United Airlines : 450
UPS/5X - United Parcel Service : 13
VOI/Y4 - Volaris : 8
VJT/ - Vistajet : 1
WJA/WS - WestJet : 6
SKV/RS - Sky Regional Airlines : 4
XOJ/ - Xojet : 1
AIJ/4O - Interjet ABC : 13
XSR/ - Executive AirShare : 3
ENY/MQ - Envoy Air : 40
RSP/ - Jet Suite : 2
ROU/RV - Air Canada Rouge : 1
JAS/ - Jet Aviation Flight Services : 1
GAJ/ - Wheels Up - Gama Aviation : 2
EDV/9E - Endeavor Air : 3
TAI/TA - Taca International Airlines : 4
CWG/ - Wing Aviation : 4

You only need a few things to get started:

My long range setup is using a Raspberry Pi Zero and a ProStickPlus. PiZero + ProStickPlus

To improve the setup:

ADSB-in

Since it's more expensive to add ADSB-in capability and not required by the FAA many planes don't have this. Fortunately, using almost the same setup as my home AWACS system Stratux can supplement your electronic flight bag. I'm currently using Avare with the external i/o plugin to connect to the homebuilt stratux.

References and Software

gr-air-modes - ADS-B receiving software.
wikipedia ADS-B
rtl-sdr ads-b article
antirez dump1090
satsignal pi-1090
asd-b.ca
mutability mlat-server
alkissack dump1090
British Airways used this in a pretty neat marketing campaign #lookup.