Category Archives: Aircraft

Getting started with dump1090 and ADS-B

Recently I started getting interested in the information that can be viewed from the data routinely transmitted by aircraft flying around.

You might have seen Android Apps or websites like FlightAware or FlightRadar24

As well as having their own receivers for data these sites are fed by a network of contributes, me included.

I’m based in the UK and interested in military traffic. If you are too then I definitely recommend checking out 360Radar. While some of the other sites filter out certain aircraft, such as military aircraft, 360Radar don’t. There’s a (closed) Facebook group for 360Radar which is the best place to find out more information. There’s a lot of old information spread around different sites and it can be difficult to get the most up-to-date information and instructions.

If you want to get started the easiest way is with a Raspberry PI and a cheap USB TV dongle.

That’s the TV dongle I have, but there are lots of different models available. While originally designed to receive TV signals, these will pick up the ADS-B data transmitted by aircraft on 1090Mhz.

Here’s my setup –

pi 3 and tv dongle

The TV dongle will come with an aerial that’s OK for testing, but you can purchase a better one to increase the range significantly.

There are 2 main pieces of software that work on the PI to receive, display and share the data.

  • the drivers for the TV dongle
  • dump1090 – which processes the data received by the dongle

While it’s possible to install these manually, the easiest way to get started  is to install the excellent PiAware software – https://uk.flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/install

This will install the TV dongle drivers, dump1090 and also the software to feed your data to FlightAware

With just the Pi, TV dongle and PiAware you’ll have a web server on the Pi showing aircraft around you, like this –

PiAware

There’s lots more you can do with the data, I’ll do a few more posts about this.

If you set up get a receiver then please do contact Phil at 360Radar and find out how you can contribute your data, and also access the 360Radar site where you can view all the contributed data.