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: 1598
unidentified: 45 2.82%

Canada: 19 1.19%
China: 2 0.13%
France: 2 0.13%
Germany: 5 0.31%
Japan: 1 0.06%
Luxembourg: 1 0.06%
Mexico: 46 2.88%
Netherlands: 1 0.06%
New Zealand: 1 0.06%
Panama: 2 0.13%
Qatar: 1 0.06%
South Korea: 1 0.06%
Singapore: 1 0.06%
Spain: 1 0.06%
Tunisia: 1 0.06%
Turkey: 1 0.06%
United Arab Emirates: 1 0.06%
United Kingdom: 6 0.38%
United States: 1479 92.55%
United States Luftwaffe: 20 1.25%
Taiwan: 3 0.19%
Unassigned (MID region): 1 0.06%

Airframe summary

B-17 : 1
Glider : 4
C-5 : 1
E-6 : 1
KC-135 : 1
B717 : 6
B737 : 433
B747 : 6
B757 : 15
B767 : 21
B777 : 32
B787 : 12
DC-9 : 1
DC-10 : 6
MD-11 : 1
MD-8x : 25
A220 : 3
A300 : 3
A319 : 69
A320 : 99
A320-neo : 15
A321 : 81
A321-neo : 3
A330 : 1
A340 : 1
A350 : 1
A380 : 2
E-135 : 16
E-145 : 26
E-145XR : 11
E-170 : 15
ERJ-175 : 101
E-190 : 12
CRJ700 : 16
CRJ900 : 33
TexanII : 8
Gulfstream : 9
LearJet : 14
Challenger : 16
deHavillandCanada : 3
Falcon2000 : 8
Falcon900 : 1
Falcon : 5
Beechcraft : 66
Piper : 19
Mooney : 9
Cessna-172 : 32
Cessna-182 : 12
HondaJet : 1
Citabria : 1

Airline flight summary

Total : 2027
Callsign is tail number: 282
Numerical: 23
Unidentified: 17
Spionen: 1
UAL/UA - United Airlines : 425
SWA/WN - Southwest Airlines : 241
ASH/YV - Mesa Airlines : 229
AAL/AA - American Airlines : 154
DAL/DL - Delta Air Lines : 87
ASQ/EV - ExpressJet Airlines : 78
SKW/OO - SkyWest : 72
NKS/NK - Spirit Airlines : 68
RPA/RW - Republic Airlines : 66
JBU/B6 - JetBlue Airways : 27
AMX/AM - AeroMéxico : 20
EJA/1I - NetJets : 20
ENY/MQ - Envoy Air : 20
FFT/F9 - Frontier Airlines : 17
VOI/Y4 - Volaris : 16
SLI/5D - AeroMexico Connect : 14
FDX/FX - Federal Express : 13
AIJ/4O - Interjet ABC : 11
ASA/AS - Alaska Airlines : 9
GTI/5Y - Atlas Air : 8
BAW/BA - British Airways : 6
SKV/RS - Sky Regional Airlines : 6
LXJ/ - Flexjet : 5
WJA/WS - WestJet : 5
XOJ/ - Xojet : 5
ACA/AC - Air Canada : 4
DLH/LH - Lufthansa : 4
SCX/SY - Sun Country Airlines : 4
UPS/5X - United Parcel Service : 4
AFR/AF - Air France : 3
JZA/QK - Air Canada Jazz : 3
AAY/G4 - Allegiant Air : 2
ANA/NH - All Nippon Airways : 2
ANZ/NZ - Air New Zealand : 2
VTM/ - Aeronaves TSM : 2
CCA/CA - Air China International : 2
NRS/ - Atlantic Richfield Company : 2
CNS/ - Centennial Flight Centre : 2
EVA/BR - EVA Air : 2
UAE/EK - Emirates : 2
OPT/ - Flight Options : 2
KLM/KL - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines : 2
CKS/K4 - Kalitta Air : 2
QTR/QR - Qatar Airways : 2
SIA/SQ - Singapore Airlines : 2
THY/TK - Turkish Airlines : 2
CAP/C2 - CanXplorer : 2
BOX/3S - Aerologic : 2
GAJ/ - Wheels Up - Gama Aviation : 2
EDV/9E - Endeavor Air : 2
TAI/TA - Taca International Airlines : 2
LET/ - Aerolineas Ejecutivas : 1
RCH/MC - Air Mobility Command : 1
SCM/ - American Jet International : 1
CJT/W8 - Cargojet Airways : 1
CLX/CV - Cargolux : 1
CAL/CI - China Airlines : 1
CMP/CM - Copa Airlines : 1
EMD/ - Eaglemed (Ballard Aviation) : 1
DCM/ - FLTPLAN : 1
IBE/IB - Iberia Airlines : 1
RDK/ - Irish Air Transport : 1
XYZ/ - Island Air Express : 1
KAL/KE - Korean Air : 1
MRA/ - Martinaire : 1
PWA/ - Priester Aviation : 1
LBQ/ - Quest Diagnostics : 1
JAS/ - Jet Aviation Flight Services : 1

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.