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After you have read through the info below contact us for instructions if you want to proceed with a feed.

There are two primary ways to provide a feed to

  • One or more RTL2832 SDR's (Software Defined Radios)
  • VHF radio/scanner and sound capture device

Either method requires a Raspberry Pi computer (Pi 2 or later) and an external VHF antenna. With indoor antennas you will achieve poor results. In some cases attic-mounted antennas can work if you are close (usually within 3 miles) to the airport.

We also support generic desktop computers (only for radio/scanner feeds w/ sound capture).

RTL2832 SDR Receivers

RTL2832-based SDR dongles are small USB Software Defined Radios (SDRs). Attached to a tiny, low-power Raspberry Pi computer, one or more SDRs can be used to send ATC transmissions to The price of a single SDR is around $30. This option requires some knowledge and level of comfort with command-line Linux (no graphical interface). We have an SD card image based on Raspbian and instructions that makes setup easy. We will send complete instructions to you upon confirming details of your proposed setup/frequencies.

SDRs we have tested and use routinely:

Nooelec SMArt
Nooelec Nano3

Scanner/Radio/Sound Card

Any scanner (or other) radio capable of receiving 118-136 MHz AM aircraft band will work. Avoid scanners that do trunking/P25/digital - those models are far more expensive than needed for providing an airband audio feed.

Some older models that work well and provide good value for this application:

  • Uniden/Bearcat/Uniden BCT8 (available used)
  • Uniden/Bearcat BC-350A/BC-350C/BC-355C/BC-355N (US model, available new and used)
  • Uniden/Bearcat UBC355CLT (EU/international model, available new)
  • Uniden/Bearcat/Uniden BC780XLT (available used)
  • Bearcat BCT15X (available new and used, US/EU)

Used scanner radios are available on eBay and elsewhere for reasonable prices.

The radio's audio output connects via a mono audio cable to an internal soundcard or USB sound capture device. A single device can handle one feed (channel). If it has a stereo input it can support two feeds with a proper stereo to mono splitter ("Y cable").

  • You will need a *mono* 1/8" audio cable to connect the scanner to the sound card's "Line In" input.
  • If you only have a Mic In input then special care will need to be taken to ensure the volume on the scanner is kept very low - otherwise you will overdrive the microphone input and your broadcasted audio may be distorted.

Location and Antennas

Distance from the airport is the #1 factor in achieving good signal reception. Generally you need to be within 10 miles (16km) of the airport of interest, unless you are at a higher elevation than the airport with a clear view toward the airport. Let us know your location and we can analyze whether it will work.

The antenna (and its placement) is the #2 factor in achieving good signal reception. It is generally best to mount the antenna outside, since that is typically far enough away from noise sources and will provide the best signal capture. Radio frequency interference (RFI) can mask airband signals and adversely affects reception quality. In airband monitoring we are frequently dealing with weak ground signals (controllers and aircraft on the ground) - picking up airborne signals is easy since those are usually "line of sight."

Here are some antennas that work well, especially if mounted as high as possible and away from noise sources (light dimmers, computers, power lines, etc.):

1) Arrow Antennas GP126
Note: There are several antennas listed on that page - order the GP126

Recommended 50' coax cable example part numbers - purchase a cable with the right length and connectors for your installation: Low-loss MAX400 cable   RG-8X cable

2) Centerfire Airband Folder Dipole Antenna

Recommended coax cable: RG-6 CATV coax attaches directly to this antenna...the equipment end of the coax cable will need a coax adapter that depends on type of receiver being used, but will typically be a female F to male BNC adapter if using a scanner. If using an SDR you will need a short thin patch cable with a female F connector and a male MCX or SMA, depending on which SDR you have

3) Diamond D777 VHF/UHF Airband Antenna

Recommended 50' coax cable example part numbers - purchase a cable with the right length and connectors for your installation: Low-loss MAX400 cable   RG-8X cable

Once you have selected equipment for your feed please contact us for further instructions.