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Virtual Radar

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N0IU

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After reading "Virtual Radar From a Digital TV Dongle" in the January 2014 edition of QST, I have finally made the leap (well more like taking a tiny baby step) into SDR. I know this is old news to some of you, but it is amazing what you can do with a $10 dongle and free software.

The article also includes instructions on how to build a coaxial collinear antenna out of RG6 cable, but even with the antenna that came with the dongle, I am able to track aircraft from well over 150 miles away. I live in the area where the red arrow is pointing and the aircraft in the red circle is 200 miles away! I am wondering if I should even bother building the antenna?

(Yes, everything is to the north of me because the "shack" is on the north side of the house and the antenna is just sitting on the window sill.)

I have also been playing around with SDR# and am now itching to get a Hamitup upconverter.

I have been into amateur radio for over 21 years and this is the first thing to come a long in a very long time that has me excited about the hobby.
 

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W0WFX

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I am wondering the same thing after putting my Virtual Radar together this weekend. The included antenna that came with my dongle is pulling in aircraft from all bearings. I put the mag mount antenna on a cookie sheet ground plane and have it sitting on shelf next to an outside wall. It is working so good I am not sure if building the antenna in the article will help.
 

n9mxq

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How long did it take to start seeing aircraft? I've tried to no avail..
 

N0IU

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How long did it take to start seeing aircraft? I've tried to no avail..
As soon as you press the Start button in the ADSB# program, you should immediately start seeing numbers appear in the Frames/sec area... assuming there are aircraft in your area that are transmitting ADSB data. The number that appears represents the number of aircraft it is tracking.

You will also see the number of aircraft being tracked when you start the Virtual Radar Server program. Once you click on the link, this will bring up a Google Earth map showing the positions of the aircraft. You will not see all of the aircraft being tracked because the data being received may not include their position.

(The numbers do not match in my examples because this number is constantly changing due to the fact aircraft are constantly moving in and out of your coverage area)

The ADSB system is still in its infancy and aircraft in the US are not required to start using it until 2020.
 

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n9mxq

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I see everything but the aircraft being tracked.. My system hasn't seen any.. And with the amount of traffic around here that, to me, means something isn't working..
 

N0IU

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Yes, given your proximity to O'Hare and Midway, you should be seeing lots of aircraft.

Let's start here...

When you start the ADSB# program, do you see your dongle in the Device box?
 

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BMT

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Open this link and look for a box in your area feeding this server.
You should be able to get and idea what's flying in your area.

Civil Air planes with Mode-S ADS-B

The military side is blocked unless you are feeding the server.

BMT
 

n9mxq

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It sees my stick, and receives packets for hours on end. I can go into SDR# and tune 1090 and see what I think are data bursts. They're too random to be generated.

I'll keep poking at it and see what I can get to work. And if I can't get it to work, oh well, it was fun trying..

And you forgot one airport. RFD which is the UPS hub in this area. They fly over all the time.
 

N0IU

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You say you see everything but the aircraft being tracked, right? Are you able to bring up the Google Map at all or do you just get a blank screen when you click the link?

I am asking because when I upgraded VRS v1.2.4 to v2, the link for the Desktop Version just gave me a blank screen with IE9. But when I selected Old Desktop Version, it worked just like it did before the upgrade. I was able to get the "new" version link to work with Chrome however. So I am thinking there may be something in the code for the new website that IE9 does not like.
 

n9mxq

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Map works and displays fine. But I get no aircraft tracked in VR and none displayed on the map.
 

n9mxq

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Actually got a plane or two.. But nothing like I'm expecting.. Will keep fiddling with it..
 

737mech

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Virtual Radar New Version

2.0 out today better stuff for viewing options etc. Nice upgrade from 1.2.4. Also added support for more receivers!
 

737mech

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Some ideas to help, I've read that adsb# cannot run at the same time as SDR.(ADSB# doesn't like it) Also, after reading this post I'd like to ask for a screen shot of your adsb# maybe something there we can help point out? What AGC are you using?
One more question, what sqb are you using?
 

n9mxq

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SDR# and ADSB# cannot share the device. Learned that the hard way. I've tried no AGC, RTL AGC, and Tuner AGC.. I'm getting some messages, but not enough to consider letting it run for more than experimenting.

My max # tracked is 5. And most of those don't display on the map.
 
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