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Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

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uncle_bob
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Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby uncle_bob » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:42 am

For a while now, I've been running a home aircraft radar and found it quite interesting.
And I was wondering if any other Cumulus users do the same?

My plan was to use it as a feeder to Flightradar24.com with the added benefit of with doing so, gave you a premium subscription to FR24.

Upon doing so I found that it wasn't just a great and cheap way of subscription to FR24, you actually can track and display the aircraft you received on any browser.

Total cost of ~$10 AUD (for dvb-t dongle off an auction site ;))

Software being used:

Flightradar24 beta feeder:
http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/ ... Win-RPi%29

Virtual Radar Server:
http://www.virtualradarserver.co.uk/

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N0BGS
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby N0BGS » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:27 pm

Why, yes, as a matter of fact some do. :)

I started out with an R820T dongle some months ago and just received FR24's BeagleBone RadarCape earlier this week. I built an 11-element coaxial collinear antenna and currently have it installed about 65-feet above ground in a tall pine tree. My coverage to the south is quite good but to the north is poor since there is a large hill less than a mile away. I have a second location also which has much better northerly coverage. I stream this data back to my web server. You can see both feeds in VRS under: Menu/Receiver/Merged Feed. I also feed all of this to FR24. Using both receiver locations I get about a 225-mile range.

Take a look: http://www.kpw3.com:8080/VirtualRadar

Cheers,

--Kurt
Blitzortung Station 1809

uncle_bob
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby uncle_bob » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:25 pm

I wish I had that range Kurt. I'm using a R820T dongle and the stubby antenna that came with it. FR24 reports my range at 129NM though in the picture linked (the range rings are 50KM), and in some directions, I'm receiving aircraft 200+KM away. We're also located in a valley so that doesn't help the cause though we have a good view North-West.

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N0BGS
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby N0BGS » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:36 pm

If you are at all handy you can build an antenna like this:

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/QST/This%20Month%20in%20QST/January%202014/VirtualRadarJan2013QST.pdf

and you'll greatly increase your receive range.

--K
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby beeman » Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:16 pm

Hi Bob & Kurt,
I don't visit this forum very often so I've only just found this post.

I've been playing with the R820T dongle and been testing lots of different antennas. I got poor results with the CoCo. How did you work out your element length and do you have a shorted top?

I've settled on a 6 element Franklin design made from the Earth wire in UK 3 core mains cable. It's about 1.8mm diameter. There is an enormous thread here http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/3831-best-antenna

I have Dump1090 running on a Raspberry Pi too. I'm waiting for a couple of rainy days to get the whole setup located in the loft.
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby uncle_bob » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:44 am

I've been playing with the R820T dongle and been testing lots of different antennas. I got poor results with the CoCo. How did you work out your element length and do you have a shorted top?


I haven't changed my antenna, still using the stubby supplied.

Code: Select all

I've settled on a 6 element Franklin design made from the Earth wire in UK 3 core mains cable.  It's about 1.8mm diameter.  There is an enormous thread here [url]http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/3831-best-antenna[/url]


How's this working out for you? I might make an antenna someday.

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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby studebaker » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:25 pm

Hi Folks,
Just stumbled across this post recently. As a retired air traffic controller I was/am intrigued. Ordered a R820T dongle from Amazon which is scheduled for delivery mid-week. This afternoon I assembled the antenna referred to in NOBGS's post, and only on completion realized what Beeman was referring to when he mentioned his results with CoCo. :( . Will definitely give it a go when my stuff arrives, as it seems to work well NOBGS ....I've checked out your site several times. The terrain in this area is quite flat and and I am about 30 km (18mi) from CYOW airport and about the same from Ogdensburg NY. There are major Hi level airways within 40 km (25 mi) north and south of my location.
Having a little hiccup (sic) with the ADSB# installation, but will investigate further later this evening. May ask for help at some point in the future.
Cheers
Studebaker

http://kerrentweather.ca/

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N0BGS
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby N0BGS » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:48 pm

Hey Guys:

Not sure why people seem to have trouble with the coco (coaxial collinear) antennas. I built an 8-element and a 11-element and both seem to work great. My range is greatly limited to the north from my home site due to hills less than a mile away that are more than 100-feet higher than the roof of my house. Despite that, I can still routinely receive aircraft in that direction out to 75 miles. It is much better to the south. To get around this issue I've installed another receiver site on top of one of the buildings I work in near Bangor International Airport. I just raised the antenna, 8-element coco, another ten feet yesterday. I also shortened the RG-6 feedline by placing the R820T dongle up near the antenna and powering it with a USB extender cable. The range is tremendous! 240 miles/386 KM.

To see the range visit my page at http://www.kpw3.com:8080/virtualradar/desktop.html Click "Menu" on upper right of map, then receiver. You can chose a single receiver or all of them as a merged feed. You can also chose "Receiver Range" from the menu and pick a receiver location and get the range plot. Check the Bangor plot. Woo-Hoo!

We may want to take this discussion offline at some point since this is a Cumulus forum. BTW, I LOVE Cumulus!! It just works and works and works! :D

--Kurt
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studebaker
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby studebaker » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:12 pm

Hi Kurt,
I've checking your site several times daily and am really impressed. I'm hoping when I get up and running that my results will be as good. I'm not sure when I'll receive my R820T. Despite having ordered it from Amazon.ca (Canada), I discovered that it was shipped from California via USPS. According to tracking it is currently bouncing around NY state. It will still have to go through Canada Customs and Canada Post before I get my hands on it. GRRRR!
N0BGS wrote:We may want to take this discussion offline at some point since this is a Cumulus forum. BTW, I LOVE Cumulus!! It just works and works and works! :D

I agree, thought the same after my earlier post. I too really appreciate Cumulus and all Steve's efforts in creating and maintaining such great software and forum. PM me if you have a suggestion of what we do, even if it only trading email addresses.
Bernie aka Studebaker

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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby steve » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:58 pm

I'm happy for you to continue here, if you wish.
Steve
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Hosting available for Cumulus web sites. See http://sandaysoft.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11876

Please read the posts in the Announcements section about the current status of Cumulus development now that I have retired

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N0BGS
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby N0BGS » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:37 pm

Since you're the boss that works for me.

Thanks, Steve.

--Kurt
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby studebaker » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:30 pm

Works for me also! Thanks Steve.

Bernie

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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby studebaker » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:59 pm

Received the R820T dongle yesterday. Am up and running using "stubby" antenna, which is currently poorly sited....still amazed at the a/c I can track using RTL 1090 and Virtual Radar. Have my coax/collinear antenna installed on sun room roof (much to my wife's chagrin) :roll: . Had planned on using coax from antenna to dongle located in my basement, but have read it is better to locate dongle close to antenna and use USB cable to computer. I am a bit concerned about locating the dongle outside, but think I can probably enclose it in some kind of protected container if necessary. Anyone any advice to offer re: cabling....i.e. what has/is working for you?
Thanks

uncle_bob
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby uncle_bob » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:23 am

Have my coax/collinear antenna installed on sun room roof (much to my wife's chagrin) :roll:


Haha :lol:

Had planned on using coax from antenna to dongle located in my basement, but have read it is better to locate dongle close to antenna and use USB cable to computer. I am a bit concerned about locating the dongle outside, but think I can probably enclose it in some kind of protected container if necessary. Anyone any advice to offer re: cabling....i.e. what has/is working for you?
Thanks


I used a 10 metre USB extension cable and screwed an extra length of rod (Aluminium curtain rod :) ) to my Weather station mast. It's a bit rough but it's all working well. Here's a still picture from my weathercam. I recommend taking a look at my weathercam on a windy night ;) The white thing towards the top of the mast is the housing for the dongle which is an old pool chlorine tablet bottle. It's open at the open for the cables to come out and to let some heat out. The stubby antenna is out of view but not by much, just the length of the cable (which is bugger all).

Note the camera is on a lean, not the mast :lol:

Image
Last edited by uncle_bob on Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

uncle_bob
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Re: Aircraft (planes, google loon etc) spotting.

Postby uncle_bob » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:58 am

Studebaker (and any other VRS users) It would be great if you have spare upload bandwidth and could feed VRS World http://www.vrs-world.com/virtualradar/desktop.html#

It's like Flightradar24 but using VRS. Ask Jonfear here for details if you're interested. http://forum.virtualradarserver.co.uk/v ... ?f=9&t=510


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