ADS-B Receivers

And now for something completely different…

I’ve been hosting ADS-B receivers from FlightAware and FlightRadar24 for a few years now. Living in ML, I had an optimal location. Sure, there were limitations from mountains 100 miles away, but in general, I could pick up aircraft broadcasts above Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Richland.

Before we’d sold the house, I started receiving regular alerts from FlightAware that my receiver was offline. Checked everything, of course: it’s connected, nothing’s changed, device is plugged into the network, DHCP service is showing the device is alive. Even its own onboard diagnostics are even showing that it’s fine… except…

I sent an email to FlightAware to let them know it was offline and suggested that perhaps its 1090 radio was faulty.

They were rather dismissive. “No. Just double check it’s plugged in and connected to the network.”

It is. It’s reporting an error with the 1090 receiver.

“No. Just make sure it’s plugged in.”

Time passed. Moved house. And finally got round to taking a closer look…

I don’t have a prime location now. I can’t even get the antenna atop the rental’s roof. But, I can improvise a bit.

Right, so my FlightRadar24 receiver continues to work just fine. Well, limited receive range of course, but still fine.

But the FlightAware receiver…

It has an “internal” USB receiver. Just a simplistic RTL dongle from the looks of things.

I have a few spare RTL SDRs. Soooo… plug it in, power it up and it reports that everything is normal. Works fine. Still rather annoyed that FlightAware was dismissive of the issue I was reporting. But it works now.

Someday, I’ll see about having the receive antennas as high as possible. Perhaps I’ll have an antenna tower installed at the “next house”.

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