Modern times: ADS-B via SDR R820T, RTL2832U

To cut a long story short – the SAT tuner receiver is working great, but here, close to EWR, JFK and LGA airports, there is just too much going on in the air for the ATMega8 to handle, via the serial link – quite a few frames are dopped during transmission. So, I could go into developing a decoder using a more capable processor, which should also improve frame integrity by faster sampling, and so on. I figured, this may take several months to get it started, and in the end, not much learning – others have done this before, and it really only about faster processing, than anything else, and buying a designated ADS-B receiver, well, that’s not much fun.

Well – why buy a designated receiver? Good friends told me, I should look into some Chinese magic gadgets, called DVB-T/DAB/FM USB on xbay, for about USD 10 delivered. These little devices really are nothing short of a miracle, containing a silicon tuner, in this case, a R820T (which is arguably the best type of SDR USB stick you can get for anything related to ADS-B), and a RTL2832 chip. The RTL2832 is more or less just a reasonably fast 8-bit ADC that can -as some really clever people have figured out before-feed the data streem directly to USB, and into a computer. The rest is history, em, software, therefore, the thing is called software defined radio, aka, SDR.


Tutorial (you will find many more comprehensive around):

Step (1) – install the generic WinUSB driver (Zadig installer), don’t bother installing any of the software supplied by your prefered Chinese source of little gadgets.

Step (2) – install SDRSharp, this comes with ADSBSharp. ADSBSharp will feed all received frames to a designated network port

Step (3) – install ADSBScope, or any other ADS-B plotter you like that can serve as a client and listen to a given (local) network port

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