Thursday, September 04, 2014

Homebrew 1090 ADS-B Raspberry PI Remote Monitoring Server.

This project started as an attempt to build a 1090 halfwave dipole for a RTL Dongle but turned into a complete ADS-B monitoring station using a Raspberry Pi as the 1090 ADS-B receiver and server.

I'm not getting into the full antenna construction/software setup, and assume that you have some radio/linux knowledge. This is just to show what can be done with a few bits of scrap and a cheap ARM computer.

Parts used

1 x Raspberry Pi

1 x 32Gb SD card with noobs installed. (Can be a smaller card. I just had this one spare).

1 x RTL2832u Dongle

1 x MCX to BNC cable

1 x USB rechargeable battery

1 x Empty whey protein container to be used as a water tight box for the above.

1. For the antenna I used a scrap of metal rod which was originally a part of a garden ornament that was being thown out. I used this web site to work out the lengths of each of the legs to create a half wave dipole for 1090Mhz... Highfields ARC

This is the finished article. It's not pretty, but as you will see later, the results are interesting.

I used scrap wood to make the mast and a excessive amount hot-melt glue to protect the feeder and connections from the weather.

2. I drilled a hole into the lid of the protein container and mounted the MCX to BNC lead. Again, plenty of hot-glue for rain protection.

3. To set up the the Raspberry Pi to be a ADS-B server I used this excellent write-up to install Dump1090. There's even a script to automate the setup.

Dump 1090 Install.

4. With all the bits together, time to stuff them into the container...

With the Raspberry powered up and running Dump1090, I setup Virtual Radar to decode and track 'local' aircraft.

I live between Nottingham and Derby in the UK, quite near to East Midlands Airport and could pickup quite a few aircraft with the basic antenna. But with the homebrew antenna, I can now receive planes to the north and high altitude planes as far south as London.

Next, I'll add a 12v to 5V DC-DC converter and power the rig with a small 12v motorcycle battery.

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