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Author Topic: Your own aircraft Radar System for less than $20.00 and improved antenna.  (Read 33550 times)
Flyingnut
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2014, 01:36:43 PM »

George,

I read your articles and really appreciate the time you took to provide these.  I think I am going to give this a try.

I have a question and maybe this is another article.  How would one take the received ads-b data and send it to a host site, such as Host Monster, HostGator, etc?  I can write a php script to recieve the data and insert it into a hosted database, but what is needed to take the gathered data and then call the host site's php script?  I guess it would be different if one would be gathering the data on a PC or a Raspberry Pi.

Thanks!
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Marty
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av8tor172
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2014, 03:16:51 PM »

DUMP1090 (the adsb program that runs on the Raspberry Pi) is written in C.  So as a quick and dirty setup I would just go into the DUMP1090 "c" code and every time it received a new mode-s message have the c code send this to a website/php as a long URL.

Have a webpage on your gator host (or who ever you use, I use Hostway, been there for 13 years and love them). Call the PHP something like process_mode_s.php.  Now modify DUMP1090 to then access the website http://www.yourdomain.com/process_mode_s.php?hexcode=AEFF09&altitude=36000&lat=29.32&long=80.23

Then process_mode_s.php can take the variables just to it and store them in an SQL database to be displayed on your website.....quick and dirty but might work.

I never tired to pipe any text from DUMP1090 to a file, might look into that too. Kinda just thinking out loud and brainstorming. Tell me more of what you would like to do with the data....sounds interesting as I do a ton of PHP and SQL stuff with my website.  Heck, most of the .html files are actually generated by PHP code...

George
www.MilAirComms.com
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Flyingnut
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2014, 04:36:39 PM »

George,

Thank you for the Dump1090 suggestion for sending the data to a host site.  My use would be to use the data on a google map.

I have done this for a flight sim organization and thought I could try it with real ads-b data.  The flight sim scenario uses FS2004/FSX and FS Flight Keeper to send a user's flight data to the website. The data is received via a php script that stores it in a MySQL database.  Other scripts pull the realtime flight sim data and plot it on a google map.  Really no different than what Plane Finder or FlightRadar does.

Thanks!
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Marty
PPL - Instrument Rating
8 NW of KORD
RonR
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2014, 06:34:12 PM »

Hey George,

Here's a question for you: if you start SDS# and then adjust the RF Gain within that program through the Configure button, is that setting saved when you close it out and start up RTL1090?  In other words do you happen to know if RTL1090 uses that gain setting?

Ron
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2014, 06:53:52 PM »

Here are some screen shots from adsbscope since increasing the gain...seems to be much more on the screen than before and they seem to be further away too!...woo hoo!  And this is still with the little 6" antenna!
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 06:55:43 PM by ronr530 » Logged

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RonR
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2014, 10:22:44 PM »

So at the moment my little 6" antenna is sitting on a south facing window sill.  Just for kicks and giggles I came up with the idea of taking a sheet of aluminum foil, curving it around the little antenna at about 6" away from the antenna and taping it to the window.  The foil is acting as a reflector.  This seems to have enhanced the range such that I can see planes to the south on the "scope" at a distance of more than 100 NM.  Nice!

Update: I watched two JetBlue flights go southbound.  One at FL380 went out of range at 128 NM and the other at FL360 went out of range at 143 NM.  And a northbound USAirways flight came on the "scope" at 137 NM.  Amazing.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 11:11:48 PM by ronr530 » Logged

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av8tor172
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2014, 07:44:51 AM »

Hey George,

Here's a question for you: if you start SDS# and then adjust the RF Gain within that program through the Configure button, is that setting saved when you close it out and start up RTL1090?  In other words do you happen to know if RTL1090 uses that gain setting?

Ron

I don't think so, the rf gain is not stored in the dongle. Its stored and remembered by SDRSharp.  When you start dump1090 I believe it uses some default gain value based on what the make and model of dongle can support.  I'm sure there is an option when you start dump1090 to change the gain.  You can try typing "dump1090 --help" for a list of options and how to set them.

George
www.MilAirComms.com
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av8tor172
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2014, 07:51:57 AM »

So at the moment my little 6" antenna is sitting on a south facing window sill.  Just for kicks and giggles I came up with the idea of taking a sheet of aluminum foil, curving it around the little antenna at about 6" away from the antenna and taping it to the window.  The foil is acting as a reflector.  This seems to have enhanced the range such that I can see planes to the south on the "scope" at a distance of more than 100 NM.  Nice!

Update: I watched two JetBlue flights go southbound.  One at FL380 went out of range at 128 NM and the other at FL360 went out of range at 143 NM.  And a northbound USAirways flight came on the "scope" at 137 NM.  Amazing.

Here's a thought for you.  Find a UHF TV antenna, possibly one with the mesh parabolic reflector on the back, mount that on a mast and turn the mast with some low speed motor. Since the signal on the various ADSB software will still display a plane 5 minutes after signal drop the fact your antenna is turning lets say 1 RPM you shouldn't have dropouts when the antenna is in other directions during its rotation. Oh, did I just describe the transponder interrogator antenna for a poor mans apartment LOL....it might work to get good signals from all directions.

George
www.MilAirComms.com
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RonR
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2014, 10:26:14 AM »

Well, I just watched a JetBlue flight go southbound out of JFK.  He dropped off the "scope" at 169 NM.  Wow.  You can see it in the attached pic.  The second pic is of my homemade reflector  smiley

I actually have a long-range UHF TV antenna mounted on the roof on a rotor Smiley  I will definitely have to give that a try!  I'm just waiting for my antenna adapter to get here.  Thanks for that idea.
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2014, 04:48:20 PM »

If it were me (and it might be in due time), following George's suggestion for slow rotation I would see if I could find an old Raytheon Pathfinder 2500 or 2600 marine radar scan head like I used to have on my boat, or the Furuno equivalent from the early 80's. The scan head has plenty of real estate in it once you remove the magnetron and related electronics, and the drive motor could be replaced with something much slower or driven at lower voltage (they had 12 & 24vdc models). The rotating antenna is fed via central waveguide, meaning it simply rotates around the fixed waveguide, and you could just put your dongle below and let the motor spin the head around above it. I seem to recall they were s-band rigs (2-4 gHz) but I think the gain and directivity of the array would probably more than offset any wavelength dependent characteristics. Mine was a 2600, which had 50mi range, primarily a function of transmit power, but as a receiver it should easily get those ADS signals out to the radio horizon. Could probably get one of them out of a dumpster at a marina or from some old codger who repairs antique marine electronics for free. If neighbors ask about that thing rotating on the top of your house, just tell them you might need to move at night. Of course you could always do the same thing with a domed unit because they probably have a similar internal setup. The great thing is that it's already weatherproof and could contain everything you need including the PI.

Just another odd-ball project idea served up for you from a certifiable oddball.
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2014, 06:39:03 PM »


Just another odd-ball project idea served up for you from a certifiable oddball.

You're oddball idea made me think (they call it brainstorming!) but yes, so you don't have to worry about cabling getting tangled up by the rotation of the antenna just mount the entire dongle/Raspberry on the antenna itself. Since in my example I get the data from the Raspberry via wifi there are no network wires, the entire dongle, Raspberry and wifi is on the rotating antenna.  Next is power, a battery pack with 4 D-cells should work......  how's that for an oddball idea.

George
www.MilAirComms.com
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2014, 07:16:54 PM »

You don't want to be climbing up on the roof to change the batteries, but some of those radome units use slip rings and have electronics in rotation, so you could do that. On the non-radome unit like I had you could probably remove the antenna bar and make a parabolic reflector that rotates around a fixed whip. You'll note on the attached photo, the radiating element (left of red line) is just a stub that is fixed in the center of rotation and the antenna (which is just a 4' long waveguide with slots and baffles that bolts over it) rotates around it. You would just extend that radiator to 2.7" long for 1090, make a PVC pipe and cap that fits over that o-ring  you see to protect the whip and internals from the elements, then bolt your parabolic reflector or a corner reflector to a pair of those mounting holes, tilted up ten degrees or so. In fact, if you just made a corner reflector with a flat "base" side on the bottom in addition to the two vertical sides, you would probably get the elevation for planes well above the horizon as well as those on it.

I wonder if I have one of those old heads buried over the garage... I had a couple spare rigs for parts, but I think they went into the dumpster at some point. I know I still have a drive motor. Could be a very interesting project.
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Flyingnut
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« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2014, 07:16:37 PM »

I received my Raspberry Pi today.  Still waiting for my doggle to arrive.  I followed George's article documenting the initial RPi setup. http://www.milaircomms.com/raspberry_pi_setup.html  Everything worked just fine. 

After setting up the Wifi connection via a wired connection with wicd-curses, I disconnect the wired connection and can stay connected to the Wifi.  However, I have one problem. Once I reboot the RPi, the Wifi connection is not established anymore.  Using "Fing" on my iPad to look at what is connected to my wifi network, I can see that the RPi connection is dropped when I reboot the RPI and it never connects again.  Any ideas?  I am trying to google for some ideas too.

Thanks!
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Marty
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av8tor172
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« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2014, 07:47:54 AM »

Here is what I found on my system.

Once you get wicd-curses to connect to the Wifi the first time, removed your ethernet cable from the pi.  Then everytime I reboot the Wifi connection is active, I've done this many times without any problems. 

However anytime you reboot the pi with the ethernet cable connected you then have to use wicd-curses to 'connect' to the Wifi.  Took me a few tries to see what was happening, but now that I never reconnect the ethernet cable I've been coming up with the Wifi connection everytime.

If that procedure isn't working for you, I'm not sure what to look at next other than to make sure all the settings in wicd-curses are being remembered during reboot.

George
www.MilAirComms.com
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Flyingnut
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« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2014, 07:37:39 PM »

George,

I got the Wifi connection working by following the steps on this website: http://www.howtogeek.com/167425/how-to-setup-wi-fi-on-your-raspberry-pi-via-the-command-line

Now the wifi connects after each reboot and I can connect remotely from my Macbook.

I had to add these 5 lines to my /etc/network/interfaces file:

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
iface default inet dhcp
auto wlan0

and these lines to the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file:

network={
ssid="YOURSSID"
psk="YOURPASSWORD"
proto=WPA
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
pairwise=TKIP
auth_alg=OPEN
}
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 10:02:00 PM by Flyingnut » Logged

Marty
PPL - Instrument Rating
8 NW of KORD
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