FlightAware Discussions

Some noob questions about setting up a box

I stumbled on setting up a receiver when I was watching a friends flight.

Personally I have enough issues with two dimensions so while I’ve had the interest in learning to fly years ago., I realize it’s not for me. But it does interest me!

Some questions about setting up a receiver:

  1. is there a way to see if my next-door neighbor is doing this/you’ve got way too many receivers in this area to really be needed? If me doing this will help, I’m in. But duplicating / adding another to already dense coverage, I’d liklely pass.

  2. I have loads of retired Windows PC‘s. Can I get this running on a Windows OS? I’m just so much more familiar with windows os. and I’d have less costs if I can use one of these computers that are just going to waste

Thanks!

See https://flightaware.com/adsb/coverage#feeder-sites ((be patient, it takes a while to load),
and https://flightaware.com/adsb/coverage#data-coverage with everything except ADS-B / ADS-B UAT / MLAT turned off.

Unfortunately there is no Windows option for feeding data. You can find some older dump1090 variants and dump1090-alikes that will run on Windows if you just want to view data locally (YMMV, I have not looked at them for a long time)

If you have several old Windows Desktop/Laptop, on one of these you can replace Windows by Raspbian Desktop, and then on it can install dump1090-fa and piaware

Thanks for the info. So I got turned down for the flightfeeder (that’s basically where they give you the hardware to maintain?

And here’s a picture of my area - there’s several people doing ADS-B already. Is it overkill?

The A is where I am… I figure it’s about .8 miles from the closest dot.

The B is where a friend who IS a pilot lives. Not sure if he’d want to house the setup at his place. But is it overkill? This is central NJ. A and B are about 4 miles apart. Neither of us is next door to someone else, but pretty close.

Capture

and that zoomed in area with the A & B is in the circle of this image. So there’s loads of receivers nearby?

All the feeder sites which are giving hardware are mainly looking for areas where the coverage is bad or almost zero.

In well covered areas it’s pretty unlikely that you will get a receiver.
But that should not prevent you from building one on your own.

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I don’t think that map differentiates between 1090 and 978 feeder sites. Obviously the NE corridor is super saturated with 1090 sites, but if you’re interested in feeding data that few others are capturing, a 978 might be interesting.

Wondering if FA considers 978 coverage needs in applications for the free hardware, or just 1090?

OK, now I’m going down the rabbit hole : )

I found https://www.adsbexchange.com/

They have people feeding them data. And a cute map

https://tar1090.adsbexchange.com/

But that’s the 1090 band only? That 978 and you mention - seems an older product? More expensive to feed?

But some bigger picture things - people here are feeding to flightaware? And flightaware uses that data for themselves? Do they share? and there’s other commercial operations that have people feeding them? And this adsB exchange is another place to feed?

Being a noob to all this, I woudl think it’d be all 1 big pot of information that everyone shares? But what is the point of all these feeds? Are they needed for flight safety? Or for people not on the flight to know what’s above them, when their family is arriving, business use? The FAA / control towers don’t need / want this data? Do they have their own group of feeders?

and that cute map of planes on ADS B’s site. that might look different if another website had that map view because their feeders are in different locations? Or if you are a feeder, you can feed to more than 1 site? how many different sites do this?!

THANKS!

No, I’m feeding them 978 (UAT), would bet others are as well. Plus if you want unfiltered/unblocked aircraft (Private/Military/Etc), that’s the site to go to and also feed.

So I feed Flight Aware with 1090 and 978. Flight Radar 24 with 1090. ADSB-Exchange with 1090 and 978. Radar Box with 1090 and 978.

I do it for fun, was interested in seeing what was flying overhead (1500-2000 feet since i’m on the final for one of the airport runways) and found the tracking slow/delayed so I jumped in. Everybody here is phenomenal in helping you set up your own feeder. For me, it’s rather addicting, especially trying to fine tune the gear for optimal reception.

OK, so there’s a bunch of websites interested int he data. Is it easy to send data to several websites?

What type of receiver do you have that you also have 978? Does the flightaware stick let you give the data to other sites? ie what’s a good starter receiver? I found this which seems to let you receive more than just ads-b

Yes.

The same class of receiver - rtlsdr dongles - can also receive 978 so long as they don’t have a 1090MHz RF filter (so if you’re looking at FA dongles, you want the orange prostick not the blue prostick+)

Yes, it’s just a receiver; you can do whatever you wish with the locally received data. We develop and sell them at cost in the hope that it expands the pool of people that can feed us data.

Yes, that’s a rtlsdr-type dongle with no frontend filter; it’s a general-purpose SDR which could be used for 1090MHz ADS-B, or 978MHz ADS-B, or many other RF applications given suitable software / antennas. There are many different manufacturers/brands to choose from. Most ADS-B receiver setups use this type of receiver.

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Is the orange FA dongle locked to the ADS-B range? Or it’s comparable to coverage as the other unit? Can the front end of the blue FA dongle be turned off for 978? For other bands?

I’d like to set this up for the ADS-B / aviation assist, but for a comparable price, would like to get the most versatile product.

Is there a comparable page as https://tar1090.adsbexchange.com/ on FA?

and FA and other sites all have their own feeders? As I mention above, I thought it’s all 1 big pot of data that all websites tap into? But it seems each website develops its own group of feeders?

But as a feeder, I can give the same info to several websites? Just a question of bandwidth on my end? (likely not much bandwidth needed anyway, right?)

THANKS!

Looks like this was discussed here: What is the bandwidth of the flightaware ProStick?

According to @abcd567 at the time, “The tuner chip R820T/R820T2 go from 24-1760 MHz (but with reduced performance above 1500 MHz).”

No - It’s filtered in hardware…

Yes, you can easily feed several sites - No problems. I feed FlightAware, Radarbox, Flightradar24, Planefinder, ADSB-Hub, ADSB-Exchange, and a few personal VRS-servers - All on one Raspberry Pi. Not much bandwidth needed afaik (haven’t checked, i’m on a 500/500 mbps fibre, so no need to check)

My advise, get your toes wet;
Buy a dongle, an antenna, and a Raspberry Pi, and see what the result is… I know nothing about 978, but for a start I would ignore it (are you located in USA?)

When you’re happy with ADS-B, you can consider 978. 1090 ADS-B have a range of ~200 nm at many places, that will give you a lot of planes on the map.

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There’s no “lock”, it’s entirely a question of “how well does the RF frontend perform for the signals you want to receive?”

The orange prostick has a LNA that’s intended for use at around ADS-B frequencies. This helps with ADS-B reception, but the gain curve might not work out so well at other frequencies; YMMV.

The blue prostick+ has both the LNA, plus a narrow RF filter at 1090MHz to help reject noise in noisy RF environments (notably, GSM interference in the 800/900MHz region can be a problem when trying to receive ADS-B). It won’t work well if you are trying to listen to other frequencies, because the RF filter will end up filtering out the signal you care about.

If you want a general-purpose SDR, then the rtl-sdr-blog dongle is not a bad choice.

I am feeding a similar set of sites, my device is generating approx 1 GB of data on busy days with up to 2000 aircraft registered over the day

Thanks so much guys! Yeah, I gotta get my toes wet!!

2 other questions.

  1. I have a bunch of unused PCs (i5s with SSDs - I thing much faster than a Pi) currently with windows 10 on them… Rather than buy a pi, Somewhere, someone was saying I could load linix on 1 of them and then the apps for FA? Sound right?

But I know windows / being able to stay with that OS would be 1 less hurdle for me to get this up and running.

The RTL blog site talks of windows apps, but they are describing more for listening / broad band receiver.

If I want to stay with (or at least just start ) with a windows OS, does that make it much harder to get going with feeding ADS-B to FA and other sites that want the data? Availability of apps and availability of support? from the community?

  1. And for ADS-B, this is a good starter antenna? https://www.amazon.com/onelinkmore-1090Mhz-Antenna-Connector-Adapter/dp/B013S8B234

THANKS!

1 GB/day isn’t much - But i’m, still suprised. Does it use that much?

Have to set a 24H log on my router. Even though they don’t recommend it.

EDIT: Maybe the Pi it self can show network traffic - Any clues for a 24H collection of traffic?

Here are my bandwidth stats. I feed Flight Aware, Flight Radar and Plane Finder.

There is no compatble windows software to feed data to flightaware.

Realistically, the image file available from flightaware’s website makes setting up a raspberry pi quick and efficient.

Several folks on the forum have created excellent guides for new users, as well as guides to add-on to feed other sites, should you wish to do that.

With a few raspberry components, some easy assembly steps, and a few software steps once the image file is downloaded, you can do a complete hardware build and launch a site in a few hours.
And it works.

(And then the tweaking and optimizing
begins. The quest for even better results :smile: )