FlightAware Discussions

Some noob questions about setting up a box

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: )

First action: Reformat it and put Linux on it. A modern distribution is not more difficult to handle than Windows 10.
For feeding there are several guides available here in the forum as well.

It could be even less. The most of my bandwidth is going to the opensky-network, my remote VRS and ADSBx.
FA, FR24 and RB24 are using less, but i did not measure it on that level of detail.

Just checked my main receiver. For the last 30 days there are 70 GB of traffic counted on the WiFi interface. But that contain also local traffic to my VRS and access from my laptop

Yeah, for me at least… staying with win 10 would help keep it enjoyable. not having to learn linux / administering a different type of PC.

This page says dump1090 is available for windows - since 2014? Or are there more things needed to feed to AF?

https://www.rtl-sdr.com/ads-b-decoder-dump1090-now-available-windows/

and not to be a heritic here… but I am still trying to understand the idea of feeding / each website - FA, flightradar24, etc all are recreating the wheel? They aren’t all tapping into the same pot of data? I can be feeding FA and my next door neighbor feeds a different site?

What’s the benefit of feeding just FA? and not others? (less bandwidth / processor load I guess).

And the FAA? How do THEY get their data? you feeding to the FAA? Or they have their own locations?

Yes, the more feeders the merrier for that website. some go down once in a while. But is it ‘each website for it’s own’.?

And I am looking also for being able to play with the radio / listen to other things maybe. Any thoguhts on this:

versus another? or likely that SDR with their antenna kit for $35 delivered. I’ll get some ADS-B with the antenna?

OH! They just lowered the price for the combo! $31?!

How would that ever work …
The FAA wants reliable and known systems to receive ADS-B …
Yes they have dedicated stations.

FA probably has better coverage than them but that doesn’t matter much as they have different requirements.

I’d say all the sites are competitors and sell the data.

That’s a solid kit to start with.

Again, you CAN’T feed from Windows.
I’m not sure why you would ask the question and then not believe the answer given …

Yes you can receive the signals but sending the data won’t work.
If you just want to look at the data you can do that on windows.

But even then, the stuff for the Raspberry Pi is much better.
You install the stuff on the Pi, then look at the planes in your browser via the local network / WiFi.

Basically you mess with the sd-card … put it in the RPi and then use the browser …
Maybe read this:
https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build

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Having gone through the same newbie phase last year as @babaganoosh, I can empathize with the confusion when looking through a forum with 10+ years of postings and trying to make sense of completely new devices like the RPi, programs like dump1090, and weird terminology like “mutability.” I give our new member the benefit of the doubt that his response to @obj regarding dump1090 and Windows isn’t so much “I don’t believe you” as it is “I’m seeing conflicting information.” He’s seeing older postings in place like here Feeding PiAware from dump1090 for Windows referencing instances back in 2014 when, apparently, you technically could use a Windows instance of dump1090 to feed FA (via PlanePlotter, it seems). It further looks like this capability was discontinued in January 2019 as per here PlanePlotter Support And FlightAware. So @babaganoosh I understand your confusion, and I know that enthusiasm to get your equipment running can override patience to search for answers in favor of posting more questions. But that searching is part of the fun, and you learn a lot more by reading past answers and doing the detective work whenever possible.

Incidentally, regarding FAA’s acquisition of ADS-B data, it would be cool to think our equipment is playing a real role for ATC, but they maintain their own versions of our receiver equipment at their Ground Based Transceiver sites across the country. Here is a neat guide I found: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/acf/media/Presentations/13-02-RD261_Charting-ADS-B-GBT-JCollins.pdf. ADS-B data is too critical to trust to individual folks putting up antennas on their wives’ she-sheds.

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If you buy a Pi, you can install a pre-made image that requires no linux knowledge what so ever (and it will just work).

What is it that you find interesting about ADS-B?
You can run a straight win(n) system and not feed anyone.
Each of the aggregators offers a sweet deal to encourage you to feed them. If they offer something you want, you’ve found a symbiotic relationship.
Taking FA as an example, have you looked at what extras you get over a basic membership?

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Here is the Air Services Australia information showing their ADS-B coverage

For comparison, Australia is 7.692 million km² and US is 9.834 million km²

ADS-B ground stations have been installed at remote locations in Australia, co-located with existing radio communication facilities.

Even though most of Central Australia and the North West is a great big (uninhabited) empty, aircraft flying above 20,000’ can be seen by ATC and also have VHF communications.

There is no UAT in Australia and no need for two receivers.

If you had bought a Pi and followed the installation instructions on the FA web page you would have been receiving aircraft and been feeding FA in a few hours without any LINUX knowledge.

By following a few simple instructions available on this site you could then optimize your installation (tweak) all from the comfort of you Win 10 browser.

It requires no knowledge, it is cheap, it is easy and there are very friendly and talented people on this discussion board to help if you should get into trouble or would like to improve your receiver.

Have fun!

S.

You will need to answer the question by yourself. Nobody asked you to feed, so you should have an idea why you want to do it.

Have you seen my previous post? Any modern Linux distribution is easy to handle, even if you’re used to move the Windows mouse only.

I am pretty sure the FAA does not rely on data delivered by some enthusiasts sharing the data from their 50$ devices…

However there are plenty of airports which are using data from Flightaware/Flightradar as an additional source.

For ADS-B (1090) the Orange stick from FlightAware, seems best.
For UAT (978) the Red stick from AirNav RadarBox, seems best. I have not seen anyone else mention this one: smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B083JJG4LC

Note that depending on your area, UAT may have more or less traffic, in my system it ranges between 2% and 5% of the ADS-B traffic on a daily basis. I may try a better antenna for UAT, but it is not clear how much more UAT is out there for me to receive.

If you want a SDR for testing other bands; almost any of them will work fine. You might want one with a metal case so you can put an external heat sink on it as they run hot. smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HA642SW

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I vote for the blue FA Stick instead

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Thanks guys!

wmccouch said my thoughts SOOO much nicer than I could in reply to wiedehopf : )

Wmccouch - Thanks for clearing things up for me re windows. AND FAA / ADS-B.

geckoVN - being an IT consultant, I have an instance on Amazon Web Services running linux for my Ubiquiti unifi controller software. I followed pages on setting up the instance, installing the software… and kinda pray it keeps working. Otherwise envisioning scrambling to find someone on the unifi forums to help (and yes, there’s some people that are whizzes and love to help. but I don’t like having to scramble to get things back up… That’s my only dealings with linux. For this, I guess it’s less stress / can be down for a few days / just wipe it and start from scratch : )

I do want to feed (if I wantted to just see the planes, the live maps are on the web).

I know I get perks. Haven’t really looked into them… and yeah, maybe that’s part of my interest : ) Even if I have no need for those perks other than ‘getting something for low cost’.

@babaganoosh

Linux is not difficult, just different from Windows.

Unless you take a plunge into water, you are not goung to learn swiming. Buy a Pi and write OS on its microSD card, boot and start. This forum has lot of members who will be happy to help you at all steps you get stuck.

I’m totally newbie with linux. Have messed with my UniFi devices via SSH, thats all… My first feeder took under an hour to setup. It’s really easy to get it going.

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When I purchased my first Pi in 2015, I did not know anything about linux, but could learn it by trial and error, like a kid trying to ride a bicycle, and falling and injuring frequently.

I remember those days I was practicing various linux commands without fully underdtanding what they do. All was going happily till after few succesdful commands I issued following command, and Pi crashed and refused to reboot.

sudo rm -rf /* :slight_smile:

Linux is very powerful, but you can easily break it if you make a mistake. The good news is that you can easily restore it by reimaging the microSD card, an easy 5 minute’s operation.

 

I had a lot of Linux skills in the past based on my job.
Then i lost them over the next 10-15 years because i never needed it again.

With that project i reactivated them again, but it was like learning to drive again.

sudo mv /boot/* /dev/nul
is also not a good idea :slight_smile:

My point exactly. I’m more interested in the radio propagation and maximizing my range - the planes themselves (for the most part) come second.

I guess “getting something you don’t want just because it’s free” is a reason.

If you factor in the cost of electricity, a buying Pi is cheaper than a free PC.

To set up piaware on a brand new Raspberry Pi to feed Flightaware you need no LINUX knowledge or skills.

Open this page and follow the Windows commands in Part 2 Install PiAware on your SD card.

If you start with using ethernet rather than WiFi to connect your Pi to your local network in the first instance that is ALL you need to do.

Should you need to use WiFi the instructions to edit a file on the SDcard whilst it is plugged in to your Windows PC are there.

You may decide to run some LINUX commands at a later date to improve your receiver but at least start and get it going and worry about what comes next when you actually need to.

Once you have assembled the hardware required it will take an hour or two to get it going the first time and there is about a 99% success rate.

S.

Windows

  1. Download PiAware on Raspbian Linux 3.8.1 ZIP (516MB) and save the file on your computer.
  • Clicking on the link will automatically download the file into the download folder.
  1. Go to https://etcher.io/ download the SD card writer (approx 80MB) and follow the directions to install the program.
  • Information on your Windows operating system can be found under: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System. View the Control Panel with small icons to see all the Control Panel options.

Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> System

  1. Open Etcher.
  • Etcher may need to be run as administrator (right-click, “Run as Administrator”).

Windows 'Run as Administrator'

  1. Select the PiAware zip file.
  2. Select the correct Micro SD card USB drive carefully, the process will overwrite any data on the drive and people have lost years worth of pictures accidentally. Consider removing external hard drives and other devices to avoid accidentally overwriting the data.
  • Confirm the drive on the ‘My Computer’ screen. The below image shows the micro SD card as ‘Removable Disk F:’.

Etcher Icon

  1. Once you are sure the correct drive is chosen press ‘Flash!’.
  2. After PiAware is installed Etcher should automatically eject the SD card, if not manually eject the SD card and remove from the computer.
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Just checked my Raspberry 3 which is operated outside 24/7
I am using a controllable powerunit which also counts the power consumption.

Raspberry 3B doing feeding only is consuming 2.96 kWh per month. I am pretty sure no PC can beat that

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Thanks, good to know.

S

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