Picking up ADS-B Flight messages ON a €40 Raspberry Pi
After listening to a talk by RenderMan DEFCON 20: RenderMan on ADS-B (Interesting talk) I came accross a few threads on how it was possible to recieve these ADS-B broadcasts using no more than a Raspberry Pi and a €8 DVB-T digital tv usb dongle.
As I had a Raspberry Pi spare I decided to see if I could get this working on my Pi. After doing a bit of research on a compatible usb dongle it transpired that I needed one that could tune into the 1090 MHz range to pick up ADS-B broadcasts. This led me to the RTL2832U/E4000 or a newer RTL2832U/R820T chip/tuner combination that tune into 1090 MHz and there are plenty of these out there on eBay. Please do double check the specifications before purchasing from the link. The one I purchased was this one.
I found a great How To guide online from a guy called David Taylor http://www.satsignal.eu/raspberry-pi/dump1090.html explaining the complete setup and following the guide worked to the letter. He explains it all fully and there are plenty of other links with further information on his site. It is recomended to use a powered usb hub but for me anyway it worked fine from one of the usb ports on the Raspberry Pi. Even using the dedicated mini areil that came with the dongle I was soon able to pick up plenty of aircraft traffic within a range of around 150 km. Impressive for €8 :) I intend to make a cheap homemade antenae when I've some time.