Does ACARS have any value similar to ADS-B?

Is it worth having any machines focused on decoding ACARS messages or should all focus be on ADS-B?

Hi there -

Years ago I used to run an ACARS-D rx site and server here at the house. At that time, I had an aviation band turnstile antenna on the roof, at least as high up as my current ADS-B antenna. I could hear some traffic, and contributed my feed to the overall acars-d feed. I don’t remember the message rate, but it was at least several messages per minute, maybe more.

Based upon your note, I was curious about ACARS. So, I fired up the receiver and reinstalled acars-d. Here in Arizona, most of the traffic I hear on acars is on 130.025 MHz. My set-up is reasonably good, with a roof-mounted aviation antenna and quality coax, and a decent receiver.

It’s been running for over 4 hours now, and in that time I’ve heard 664 msgs, while on ADS-B I’ve heard way over 120k. And at least according to what I hear on the ACARS channel and what’s decoded, I think I’m getting a pretty good % of the messages transmitted.

At a minimum, there’s a whole lot less volume on ACARS.

Cheers and 73 - Jon N7UV

Thank you for your message.

In addition to the volume being significantly less than ADS-B Flightaware has no sign of internal code that would benefit from ACARS data in the same way it does from ADS-B data.

We support ACARS positions and flightplans from the operators themselves, but not from crowdsourcing like ADS-B. Most operators don’t choose public redistribution of their ACARS, but some do.