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ADSB. ACARS. VDL2. Data Decoding website for Southern California

Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#1
Greetings. Sheepishly I have only just found out about this forum, but am excited to find you all.
I would like to share a little website I have been working on for the past few years.
It is a mix of URL's due to the decoding that we are doing.

ADSB and VRS. Virtual Radar Server. We have around 12 different Raspberry Pi ADSB decoders scattered around the Los Angles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas area and they all feed back into my central VRS system.
http://thebaldgeek.net:2277/virtualradar/desktop.html#

ACARS. We run 3 main ACARS sites in Temecula, Phoenix and Las Vegas. They each feed back into my central server. I cover
129.125, 129.525, 130.025, 130.450, 131.550 and 131.725.
VDL. On the same three sites, we also run VDL SDR receivers and they cover 136.975, 136.650 and 136.800.
Further more, I have custom coded some deeper message decoding to try and filter the interesting words from the data stream. You can find these filtered messages here;
http://thebaldgeek.net:2880/ui/#!/1

This is the gateway website into the other decoded messages. Click the menu button on the top left of the browser bar and you can find the VDL, HF and Inmarsat messages.
The HF is currently tuned to 6559.
Inmarsat moves around a little depending on my mood. :). It uses a small dish TV sized dish.

I am happy to answer any questions. Hope you find it of interest if not of value.

EDIT: Very remiss of me to forget to mention the two people that feed my system data from LA and San Diego. The bulk of my ADSB data come from these helpful folks.
If any one else in the area would like to feed their data into the system, just let me know.

EDIT 2. Updated/corrected the ACARS and VDL frequencies I cover.
 
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AirScan

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Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
332
#2
tbg,

Thanks for posting, and thanks for providing such an excellent resource. I've been watching it for over a month now.

I'm particularly interested in ATC and the CPDLC transmissions that you are getting on SATCOM. Are you aware that with the latest software updates CPDLC messages can now be decoded ?

CPDLC messages can be identified by the AT1 just before the aircraft registration. From one of your recent logs.

08:47:12 03-02-19 AES:3C6503 GES:05 2 .D-AIHC ! AA T /YEGE2YA.AT1.D-AIHC23C2EB9D6B1624D9F3AA4F9C17D960BC76

YEGE2YA = ATC facility, Edmonton Center
AT1 = CPDLC message
D-AHIC = aircraft registration
23C2EB9D6B1624D9F3AA4F9C17D960BC76 = CPDLC message, decodes as follow.

Header:
Msg ID: 7
Timestamp: 16:46:46
Message data:
CONTACT [icaounitname] [frequency]
Facility Name: EDMONTON
Facility function: center
VHF: 133.075 MHz

If you are interested in updating your software to decode these you can find more information here (if you didn't know about it already).

acars-vdl2 groups.io Group

Any chance of adding a word filter for "AT1" to your SATCOM logs to filter out these CPDLC messages to a dedicated window ?

Are you actually getting anything on these VDL2 frequencies - 136.725, 136.775, 136.875 ?

AFAIK they are not active in North America. In addition to the primary on 136.975, confirmed secondary VDL2 frequencies used in North America are 136.650 (ARINC) and 136.800 (SITA). You might have better luck with these.

Is there anyway the aircraft and ground station hex ID's could be displayed as well on your VDL2 logs ? This would make it easier to follow and help ID ground stations.

Thanks again for providing such a great site !

Cheers,

AS
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#3
Hi AS,
I have just added that word filter and it now has its own section on the Inmarsat page.
Thanks for pointing that out.

I was not aware of the software update, so thanks for pointing that out as well, I will have to look and see about updating.

We currently cover the following VDL frequencies; 136.725 136.775 136.875 136.975 I was thinking about what code I need to tweak to show the number of messages received on each of those like I do for ACARS.... Its a bit tricky because the decoding software does not list them unlike the ACARS decoder.

Cheers.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#4
We have just now updated the version of JAERO I was running, again, thanks for the tip, I am a little annoyed with myself that I did not know about the update.

Please don't hesitate to reach out and let me know if there are any other word filters you would like added.
Glad you are finding the site of value.
 

AirScan

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
332
#5
Great, thanks for doing that !

I'm skeptical that you are getting anything on 136.725, 136.775 and 136.875 ? I'm fairly sure these frequency are not in use for VDL2 in North America. I'm guessing that if you are seeing them, then whatever you are using to decode them is incorrectly identifying the frequency ?

AS
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#6
We used a scanner to pre-listen to all the VDL frequencies before putting them into the Raspeberry Pi SDR, so we can confirm that we were getting VDL data on them.... that said, I am more than happy to re-visit them.

We are using the following decoder; szpajder/dumpvdl2
I don't see the option for it to provide HEX codes, but have opened a ticket and asked the question, so we will see what he has to say.
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
1,652
Location
GA!
#8
Nice work. I have a question for you..How did you setup your Dump1090 to look like this. I am running Windows 10 Pro, Dump1090, PlanePlotter, MilAirComms1090 and VRS.

Dump1090 map
 
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Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#11
I am using this custom image; [WORKING] New ADSBExchange base image v1.0
From my base URL, http://thebaldgeek.net:2288/ Click on the 'Dashboard' link and then enter the user/pass of adsb/adsb
You can see the data this setup collects.
This is on top of the 1090 custom map that you were asking about.
What I have done is to change the code and to put the VRS map at the bottom of the data rather than the 1090 map.
The nice thing is that it all runs on a Pi3.

If, on the other hand, you are referring to this map; http://thebaldgeek.net:2880/worldmap/
This is the worldmap from Node-RED which is the core code base I use to do all the word filtering.
It also has a heap map function built in which is really handy for tracking flight density.
 
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AirScan

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Feb 13, 2007
Messages
332
#12
I'm not sure what is going on with you being able to hear something on 136.725, 136.775 and 136.875 ? Stange ? I've never seen any reports of these being used in North America and the FCC database does not list any of them as active VDL2 frequencies. As I mentioned 136.650 and 136.800 are the confirmed 2 other VDL2 frequencies in use.

I'm using dumpvdl2 as well and this is what the output looks like that I'm getting.

[2019-02-03 02:08:19 GMT] [136.975] [-41.1/-51.1 dBFS] [9.9 dB] [0.8 ppm]
ABFD66 (Aircraft, On ground) -> 10510A (Ground station): Response
AVLC: type: S (Receive Ready) P/F: 0 rseq: 6

[2019-02-03 02:10:48 GMT] [136.975] [-35.2/-50.0 dBFS] [14.8 dB] [0.4 ppm]
AB00CE (Aircraft, Airborne) -> 1025EA (Ground station): Command
AVLC: type: U (XID) P/F: 1
XID: Handoff Initiaion
Public params:
Parameter set ID: 8885:1993
Procedure classes: 00 01
HDLC options: 20 a4 88
VDL params:
Parameter set ID:V
Connection management: 01
XID sequencing: 05
AVLC specific options: 27
Destination airport: KDTW

It looks like whatever you are using to display them on your website is filtering out the first 2 lines and then only displaying message with an aircraft registration in them ? If the whole message, and all messages, could be displayed it would provide a lot more information. Hopefully Tomasz who wrote dumpvdl2 will get back to you with some more info.

AS
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Messages
889
#13
Just wanting to know where can I find the add on's he is using for VRS.
Didn't notice anything significantly different with his VRS and my own (except several thousand miles) and you linked the standard dump1090 webserver display not VRS.
What addons are you seeing?
 

footage

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 20, 2004
Messages
38
#14
This is great. Would you be interested in having a receiving node in the city of San Francisco? If so, please DM -- would love to connect.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#15
@AirScan I have changed my VDL frequencies for the ones you mention and all I can say is wow.
I was getting around 10,000 messages a day on the ones I was monitoring, but using yours, I get over 20,000. More than double!
We will leave it on the 3 that you mentioned. Seems to be a lot more accurate.

Regarding dumpVDL2. Yes. Its a bit frustrating that the terminal output includes more information than the streaming output.
I asked the author of the software and he said that what you see in the streaming is all there is.
The reason is because the streaming is for PlanePlotter and so it can only have the most basic information.
He displays a little more on the terminal because its got no connection to PlanePlotter.
He said that is a future plan to expose all the information, but no date on that.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#16
@AirScan Bit of a break through due to your prompting this morning....
I figured out that I can stream the full dumpVDL2 data to my system by using the 'pipe' and 'netcat' command.
For example; dumpvdl2 --rtlsdr 2 --gain 44.5 136650000 136800000 136975000 | nc -u url.com 12345

So, now if you look at my vdl2 screen, you will see frequency and signal strength (but sadly, no HEX codes).
Any thoughts of what I might do with the extra information?

EDIT. Wait, are these the HEX codes you are looking for?
[2019-02-04 18:14:00 UTC] [136.650] [-21.7/-42.7 dBFS] [21.0 dB] [0.8 ppm] AA1B9A (Aircraft, Airborne) -> 1140FA (Ground station): Response AVLC: type: S (Receive Ready) P/F: 0 rseq: 2
 
Last edited:

AirScan

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Premium Subscriber
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Feb 13, 2007
Messages
332
#17
Nice ! Looks good now, you're displaying all the data. Yes those are the hex codes, they identify the aircraft and ground station.

The message count dash board is interesting. It would be cool if you could break it down and display real time ground station count as well on the dashboard. This would show all the ground stations you are receiving aircraft "talking" to and how much traffic each one is receiving. Not sure how hard that would be to set up ? Something that would look like this, sorted by number of messages (daily).

10500A 1467
1040FA 1244
282317 1005
1140FA 994
10318A 842
23D617 752
ETC ...


Is there anyway to load the VDL2 data into a database like with what you have setup with the older ACARS frequencies ? I'm talking about this page.

http://thebaldgeek.net:2228/#

That would be handy, clicking on an aircraft and showing all the messages from it.

From what I've seen so far you are only able to receive downlinks from aircraft, I guess you are not close enough to the airports to get the uplinks. Also interesting to note that 136.800 does not seem to be active in the area yet. Will keep an eye on this as SITA has just started up some new stations in the New York-Maine area so I suspect it might not be much longer before we see some out west as well ?

One last thing, any chance you can add "AT1" to your message filter here too, I'm curious how much CPDLC traffic there is on VDL2.

Thanks again for providing this, great job !

AS
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
29
#18
I have the top 40 list limping. I want to break out the ground stations and perhaps aircraft to ground. At the moment it only shows the top 40 aircraft. Also I know the link is broken. I will remove the hyperlink soonish. Consider it work in progress.

The database stuff is a massive undertaking. Will put in the consideration basket.... I see where you are headed with it and agree, so I just need to scope out how best to tackle it (for example, putting it INTO the database is easy, displaying the selected results and how to select the data is the tricky bit).

Temecula would only get aircraft, I am miles from any ground station. PHX is close to an airport. They should hear something and I plan to tweak the filter to see what he can hear.

I did not see any 'AT1' messages, so I have set the filter to be 'CPDLC'. Not sure that is the same thing for you, but take a look and let me know if its doing what you were looking for.

It's my pleasure, and thanks for taking the time to review the page, use it and provide feedback.

Cheers,
tbg.
 

AirScan

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
332
#20
I have the top 40 list limping. I want to break out the ground stations and perhaps aircraft to ground. At the moment it only shows the top 40 aircraft. Also I know the link is broken. I will remove the hyperlink soonish. Consider it work in progress.
That works, the ground station listing is handy. Looks like you are pushing close to 40 ground stations. Would it be hard to say increase it to show 50 or 60, so you wouldn't miss some of the very rare ones ?

I see a ground station listing as 12404A. This is the first time I've ever seen a 12xxxA station ID. I'm guessing it's maybe in Mexico ? Any chance you can throw 12404A in the filter for a day or so and I can take a look at some complete messages and maybe figure out where it is ?

PHX is close to an airport. They should hear something and I plan to tweak the filter to see what he can hear.
I notice you get the ground station on the old ACARS frequencies. I'm surprised you are not getting the VDL2 stations in PHX as well ? Hopefully you can tweak it to get them.

I did not see any 'AT1' messages, so I have set the filter to be 'CPDLC'. Not sure that is the same thing for you, but take a look and let me know if its doing what you were looking for.
CPDLC works, actually it's better, so thanks. They are slowly implementing CPDLC use across the country, so it will be interesting to watch that space and see how it's going. Although it might be awhile as it looks like LA is one of the last Centers that will be getting it.

https://www.harris.com/sites/default/files/en-route-cpdlc-site-activation-map-20190111.pdf

It's my pleasure, and thanks for taking the time to review the page, use it and provide feedback.
I really appreciate you taking the time to do this, much appreciated. Sorry for all the questions, but while I got you.

I'm wondering about your HFDL reception of 6559. I've monitored this frequency on a few occasions and it is far busier than what you are picking up, I'd estimate you are getting about maybe 1% of the traffic. What sort of antenna and setup you are using ? Any chance you can throw CPDLC in the word filter there too please ?

AS
 
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