Building FlightAware PiAware ADS-B Ground Station

One project I have done is building my own ADS-B station using raspberry pi and a dvb-t stick. With this station you can create your own virtual flight radar system. So you can see what is flying in the sky above you. The parts you need are not that expensive. The parts you need:

Raspberry pi (with power supply at least 2A)
DVB-T stick
Coax cable
USB hub for the extra power
Network cable or wifi usb stick
Micro SD card

Now we can setup the Raspberry Pi. There are couple of methods of installing Piaware on your pi. You can begin from scratch (for the more advanced users) or you can download a pre-configured image for your pi. This tutorial is based on the tutorial on Flightaware.

For Windows:

  • Download the Raspbian image (link)
  • Now unzip the file to a location on your computer
  • Download tool W32diskimager (link)
  • Now unzip the file and start the application. Sometimes you need to use “run as Administrator” (using right click on file)
  • In the program you select the the img file you extracted on your computer
  • Now you must select the drive that is your micro SD card. Be careful… select the right drive…
  • When you selected the right drive you can push the “write” button and get a cup of coffee.
  • When the proces is completed don’t forget to safely eject the card the correct way.

For Mac users:

  • Download same image as Windows users and extract it.
  • Download Applepi-Baker (link)
  • Insert micro SD card in reader
  • Now select in Applepi-Baker the sd-card.
  • Click on “prep for NOOBS” this wil erase your card.
  • Now select on the right top the IMG file you extracted earlier.
  • Now click on “restore” and wait.

Now your micro SD card is ready for use we can setup the hardware.

Slide the micro SD in the slot on your pi.
You connect the powered USB hub to a free USB port on the pi and connect the network cable or put in usb WIFI adapter.
Now plug in the antenna cable into the DVB-T stick and put it in the USB hub. Place the antenna as high as possible. But for testing you can place it by the window.

Everything is setup now so you can plug in the micro USB power connector in the raspberry pi and let it boot.
You can connect it to a monitor using HDMI or connect it to your TV. A tip is to buy a <a href="http://www.banggood Go” target=”_blank” data-slimstat-clicked=”false” data-slimstat-type=”0″ data-slimstat-tracking=”true” data-slimstat-callback=”false” data-slimstat-async=”true”>wireless keyboard so you don’t have to setup a SSH connection.

After the boot and no errors (I didn’t get any errors) you can claim your PiAware client and get a FREE FlightAwarefree Enterprise Account (USD89.95/mo value). The only thing you have to do is share your data.

To check if you receive someting you can go to http://<IP Raspberry pi>:8080 in your browser. Here you can find the “web” output of Dump1090.


You can also see the data in your console using: ./dump1090 --interactive

Now you see data you can expand your config with a Virtual Radar Server or like me ModeSmixer2 on my webserver.




Some links with info about some software for ADS-B.

Radarspotting (ModeSmixer2)
Constructing an ADS-B Collinear Antenna (antenna I use)

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