FlightAware Discussions

HOWTO: Airspy mini and Airspy R2: Piaware / dump1090-fa configuration


i would happily buy an airspy mini if it were as easy to implement as the RTL-SDR.com or the FA dongles. as it is i keep waiting for this “How to” thread to stabilize. i spent years designing various transducers (mainly pro audio products) and always wrote the data sheets/installation manuals so that someone like me could easily follow.(ie, for Piaware SD card install, step 1, step 2 etc. with a totally separate guide for other installs). it would be great if Airspy published this since it’s in their economic interest to do so. (note, the current how proceedure to may indeed be stable but all of the comments make me nervous)


Their quickstart guide on the airspy homepage links to this thread actually.

Do you have input on the formatting? Happy to change it, but if you work your way from top to bottom it shouldn’t be a problem. (I’ll put some numbers on the steps.)
I’m pretty sure we could work out any kinks you could possibly have during installation.

But i’m also very versed with the different configurations by now and am reasonably certain that if you follow the steps it should just work!
(the piaware sd-card configuration is literally the same that burgdorfer is using successfully, the direct configuration of the dump1090-fa config file is something i run, not with the airspy as source for the data but it really doesn’t matter where it comes from)

No one commenting here has actually used the guide and only one of the replies here noticed an actual error.
As there are not many airspy users it’ll probably be a while until someone actually uses the guide, so you’ll maybe have to be the guinea pig :slight_smile:


i will be happy to be a guinea pig. in the morning i will send you info on my system and also purchase a mini



I have just upgraded the OS (new install) on my XU4/R2 combo using your superb instructions and installed piaware/dump1090-fa via apt / apt-get together with your auto start airspy_adsb per systemd service and all worked first time.

The only change I had to make was to the /home/pi/ path to suit my set up.

Many thanks for your hard work putting this together :grinning::+1:t2:


I guess i could change the directory to make it work independent of user name but people not using the raspberry pi probably can figure it out as installing the OS is more complicated.

Be sure to use -m 20 as the Odroid sure can handle the higher throughput on the USB.

Also i’m curious what gain / LNA you are running.



Running a cavity filter into a uputronics saw amp in roof space which comes down to shack to another uputronics saw filter/cavity into mini circuits splitter to feed my odroids.

I measured the db loss through the splitter as 5.5db and had to insert the 2nd amp to get back to my previous levels before putting the splitter in line - was running at 21 for gain…

Spent about 2 weeks comparing both systems on various gain settings, and eventually settled on 18 for gain setting.

Have been running the m -20 since getting the odroids :grinning:


Can you double check the throughput using this command:
airspy_rx -r /dev/null -a 20000000 -t 3
Some odroid kernels have a regression that limits the USB throughput. If the average is below 20MSPS, the recommended fix is to use kernel 3.10.*



Thanks for the heads up - Just checked on my xu4 (ARMBIAN 5.70 stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch) - kernel 4.14.87-odroidxu4) and averaged 20.0025 MSPS over 90s :grinning:


Excellent! And I see your MLAT is very good as well. Have fun!


the RPI 3B has 1GB of RAM…the Airspy mini suggests 2GB of RAM…
the RPI 3B runs at 1.2GHz…the Airspy mini suggests 2GHz

will the RPI3B run the mini?


For ADS-B the requirements are different than using it for receiving other signals.

Using a 12 MHz sample rate works for sure on the RPi.
Even 20 MHz sample rate seems to work fine for burgdorfer.


Other modes can be specialized and optimized to the bone if needed. The key DSP for doing it is already available in the SpyServer software. We just need more time.


hello wiedehopf,

as always, you are great. thanks for all of your help!

attached is a word document that (i hope) reflects your procedure for Piaware 3.6.3 (stretch) using an SD card install on an RPI 3B. i have written it assuming i will ssh into the system.

please review and advise what needs to be changed.

also, should i ask prog what are the allowed values of gain (-g xx) or do you know?

thank you


(Attachment airspy prelim (ssh into piaware SD card).docx is missing)


gain is 0 to 21.
Every increment of 1 is 3dB

Just start with 21 and you can always go down later.


1 a) Configuration for users of the piaware sd-card

use piaware-config to make the changes when logged in via ssh:

sudo piaware-config receiver-type other

sudo piaware-config receiver-host localhost

sudo piaware-config receiver-port 30005

sudo systemctl restart piaware dump1090-fa

2 Download airspy_adsb to /home/pi/airspy/

cd /home/pi

mkdir airspy

cd airspy

wget http://airspy.com/downloads/airspy_adsb-linux-arm.tgz

tar xzf airspy_adsb-linux-arm.tgz

3 Command for starting the Airspy mini

(this step 3 is mostly for explanation, you should be good continuing with step 4 in the next post)

(the rest of the guide assumes that the networking options -l 30005:beast -c localhost:30104:beast are used, the other options are up to you)

(the following commands assume the program (executable) is located in the folder /home/pi/airspy which it should be if you downloaded it as described in step 2)

Use the following command:

sudo nice -n -19 – /home/pi/airspy/airspy_adsb -l 30005:beast -c localhost:30104:beast -g 21 -x -m 12 -f 1

Add -b to enable the bias tee if necessary.

Adjust the gain by changing the number after -g.

You don’t need to change any other options.

You can start the program from the command line for testing.

To start it automatically after boot see the 2nd post of this thread (step 4).

Refer to the programs help to see what the options mean if you are curious:

/home/pi/airspy/airspy_adsb -h

-m 20 -p can yield better results than -m 12 but is not recommended for the Raspberry Pi as the USB can be too slow to handle the amount of data properly.

(It seems -m20 on the rpi 3b+ should work just fine if you don’t heavily load the ethernet, see this thread for some discussion on the topic: Checking for lost packages from Airspy)

If you have questions or the guide is not working for you please let me know and i will change this post.

4 Automatically starting airspy_adsb per systemd service:

Open /etc/systemd/system/airspy_adsb.service with nano using this command:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/airspy_adsb.service

Copy and paste the following:


Description=Airspy ADS-B receiver





ExecStart=/home/pi/airspy/airspy_adsb $OPTIONS











Ctrl-O and Ctrl-X to save and exit.

Open /etc/default/airspy_adsb with nano using this command:

sudo nano /etc/default/airspy_adsb

Paste this line and modify it as needed, it is just the command line options for airspy_adsb:

OPTIONS="-l 30005:beast -c localhost:30104:beast -g 21 -x -m 12 -f 1"

Add -b to enable the bias tee if necessary.

Adjust the gain by changing the number after -g .

You don’t need to change any other options.

Ctrl-O and Ctrl-X to save and exit.

After creating and saving those two files the service needs to be enabled:

systemctl daemon-reload

sudo systemctl enable airspy_adsb

sudo reboot

Now airspy_adsb should be starting on boot.

If you want to change the airspy options edit the option file with the command sudo nano /etc/default/airspy_adsb, save and restart airspy with systemctl restart airspy_adsb


hello wiedehopf, sorry, i am still struggling with what formats i can upload. i did the process in word and it looked very nice (color coded etc). i copied and pasted but lost all the nice colors etc…i will experiment


here are the 4 pages in .jpg format…i hope this works!


It’s just a copy of my guide. I don’t see any value in posting it here.

Eventual problems or problems understanding the guide will only surface once you actually implement it.


ok, understood. i have purchased the airspy mini and will give it a try. thanks again. i will advise


Oh and when you do the copy paste into the putty/ssh it’s probably best if you go copy directly from my guide.
If you copy it from Word you might get unnecessary newlines in there or some other weird stuff.

Maybe just remove those 2 really big posts as well they clutter a bit :slight_smile:
(I’ve looked it over and i think you didn’t remove anything you need)

Also just continue with 4 after completing 2.
(step 3 is mostly explanation of the command line or if you don’t use the systemd service from step 4)