FlightAware Discussions

Running a WebSDR alongside PiAware

Has anybody experimented with running a WebSDR service from the RPi alongside PiAware? WebSDR would use a dedicated USB dongle and antenna, and PiAware has control of its own USB dongle and antenna for ADS-B.

This is a very general question; I don’t have any specific method in mind. I’ve been playing around with public WebSDR’s online and really like them, and since there’s a RPi here running 24/7 anyway to feed FlightAware, it would an interesting side-project to add a receiver and WebSDR service to it, if that’s possible, for playing with on the LAN. Tuning in from a local computer and having a browse around to see what’s happening.

I don’t have any experience with what hardware / USB sticks are available or what radio bands are of current interest in the UK. I used to be on the CB back in the day so that would be interesting, but a search for any 27.6-28Mhz WebSDR services for those draws a blank so perhaps there is no hardware supporting it or things have moved on. It would be fun to explore any amateur radio stuff on sideband too. I did get to use a Yaesu radio for a while back in the 80s and really enjoyed homing in on sideband conversations and exploring when the skip was in.

If anyone’s played around with using a Pi for this kind of thing alongside PiAware, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Many thanks.

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If you don’t want to bother with a keyboard and display, you can run your RPi headless

Two main things to watch out for:

  1. Two dongles on one Pi requires a good power supply.

  2. you will want to write unique serial numbers to each dongle’s EEPROM, and configure both dump1090 & websdr to find their corresponding dongle by serial number.

Around 28MHz is a bit of a troublesome frequency for rtlsdrs as it’s right on the clock frequency and it’s at the low end of what most tuners can do, but also too high for direct sampling to work; that may be why there’s a bit of a hole there.

I tried once, and I was not happy with the performance of the RPi3 both receiving and decoding. If it’s for analog voice only, then it may be acceptable, but I would still consider an RPi4 instead.

I’m mostly interested in FT8, and the RPi3 on ‘deep search’ struggles to decode all signals fast enough as to be able to decode the next cycle, and this is with the SDR running on another machine.

As for SDRs, if you are interested in HF, the RTL-SDR Blog v3 stick has an experimental mode that uses only the Q branch of the I/Q stream, and that enables it to receive HF, albeit not very well.

An upconverter improves things substantially, but by then you are better off using an RSP1A or an AirSpy HF+ Discovery instead.

For VHF and up, the RTL-SDR Blog v3 is good enough for a lot of stuff. I would start with it before spending more money on other SDRs.

I’m happy to see the issue is now solved. Thank you for updating with the outcome!