Airband radio monitoring

Is anyone monitoring air-band in their region and feeding the audio out via RB24 or Flightaware? I see an option for RB24, wonder if this would be something to do. I have a raspberry pi 4B only picking up weather data from a PWS for broadcast, it could handle another task I am sure. I also have a few spare dongles that certainly cover the AM airband 108-136MHz, UHF as well.

It’s illegal in the UK (I appreciate you’re in Canada but just commenting on the legality here).

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FlightAware has airband radio on this site?

LiveATC feeds air traffic control communications (live, obviously) from many places around the globe where it is legal to do so (sorry UK :frowning: ). Many/most major airports are covered, but if there is interest and a sufficient amount of communication traffic to be of interest, an individual can set up and live-feed communications from their ‘feeder’ (usually a Pi) - detailed how-to provided here.

I set up a feeder for a while, but there was no significant traffic of interest, and we agreed to shut it down. However, if you live near a airport that has communications traffic to share, and it’s not already a live feed, it’s great for ‘listening in’ - shortwave listening for pilots :wink:

Personally, I found it useful to listen to a busy tower for KAPA to sharpen my phonetic alphabet skills and learn the value to being ‘to the point’ when speaking.

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Yes I am aware UK has laws regarding doing this, I’m sure they have their reasons… We do have similar laws here in Canada, mostly regarding dissemination of info gained from monitoring law enforcement, military, etc, (scanners) as there should be. We can legally monitor “anything” here and can possess any equipment to do so, but mostly have to keep “that” info to ourselves.
This may also pertain to voice air traffic in certain situations, which may have repercussions when broadcasting that audio to the “internet”.
I would only consider broadcasting the local area channel for GA traffic, likely out of range here for airport ATC anyway.

I don’t think Flightaware has this service after checking…

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Yes for pilots that would be a good thing to monitor and pick up some of the “good” habits and processes used over the air without having to set up their own receiver.

“Personally, I found it useful to listen to a busy tower for KAPA to sharpen my phonetic alphabet skills and learn the value to being ‘to the point’ when speaking.”

Not quite what the OP is asking but purely for “research” as I’m in the UK, I knocked up a spider antenna centred on 122Mhz and used a Pi 2 with a $10 dongle in the loft. On the pi I used rtl_tcp -a and then on my laptop SDR# to look across the frequencies. SDR# has an add-on called Frequency Scanner which worked well. There was a lot of interference from local FM transmissions so i dismantled it all. I’m sure those of you in non UK locations could do something similar and with appropriate filters knock out some of the FM frequencies.
All good fun.

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In practice that’s basically the position here in the UK as well. I’ve never heard of anyone getting into trouble for monitoring radio (at least not since the emergency service bands and mobile phones moved to digital encrypted services). For airband and marine it’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to make an issue of you listening unless you start making what you hear publicly accessible.

Yes, I have also tried Air Band with SDR# installed on my Windows Desktop. It gave reasonably good results. I tried 2 ways:

(1) Dongle plugged to Pi (rtl_tcp), like you have done.
(2) Dongle plugged into Windows Desktop on which SDR# is running (rtl_usb).

Above was only an experiment, as I have an LW/MW/SW/FM/Airband radio (Grundig Satellit 750) which I use to listen to Airband.

Feed Source:

Canada, Toronto (CYYZ) APPROACH

Click on play button when player is displayed

Canada, Toronto (CYYZ) TOWER

Click on play button when player is displayed

Canada, Winnipeg (CYWG) Approach/Departure

Click on play button when player is displayed

Canada, Montreal (CYHU) Tower

Click on play button when player is displayed


Nice and clear audio. Bit busier than CYWG…

Those just the basic RTL dongles?
I’ll check out the links you porovided above and do an install on the rpi4b when I get a chance.

+1 for RTL_Airband. I started using it a few months ago. It’s really good and reliable. The first half hour of setup takes some time, but great after that. It can feed all things, including any Icecast compatible site like RadarBox, Broadcastify and the rest.

LiveATC doesn’t want your feed unless you live on a runway (last I checked). I find those tower comms repetitive, limited scope, and annoying anyway. So I capture frequencies just outside of the airport, and high and far. The real diverse chatter and occasional sketchy events happen 50 to 180 nautical miles out from the airport.

Broadcastify is my favorite. Especially this super awesome feed. :rofl: VHF couldn’t care less about my tree situation.

One needs HF communication for oceanic flights, like trans-Atlantic flights, where VHF & UHF cant be useful due to distance, but Short Waves (HF) overcome distance limitation due to multiple reflections fron ionosphere and ocean surface.

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Now I’m using all three HF, VHF, and UHF to track/listen to aircraft. (Grandpa was a TWA pilot, 707s to 747s. It must be in my blood).

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Found that someone suggested adding a line (modifying) /usr/local/share/tar1090/html/index.html from @wiedehopf tar1090 seems to accomplish adding the audio play feature locally (not from FA or others, as asked for by OP) to the main page - see Play and audio stream (Feature Request #64) with one line of code sample.

For grins, I put the suggested one line of code in my copy of tar1090 at around line 832 with the audio playbar showing near the top. After restarting tar1090, and refreshing my page, there’s the player:

Of course, this change is custom, would not survive updates of tar1090, and would need to be maintained. Since the audio feed URL can be anything, including things like a local RTL_SDR dongle feed, seems like a straight-forward solution for those not averse to coding.

Problem is that you does not know where it’s forbidden and where not. Or are you aware of all laws in all countries?

In most cases it’s simply word of mouth where it’s allowed and where not

I’m lucky enough to be able to listen in legally in the UK, I have a PPL(a) and fly lol :wink:

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Same here, also PPL and legally licenced with an EASA language proficiency check :innocent::tada::beer::+1:t2:

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See you at Goodwood sometime :wink: