I'm not sure where the idea came from, but at one point I thought it would be interesting to see what aircraft I could hear using an RTL-SDR dongle.
I found that FlightAware maintains a piece of software available in GitHub that is a simple Mode S decoder for RTL-SDR devices. This software is the successor to dump1090-mutability which is nicely available as a package available to the Raspberry Pi.
After installing the package, I found that I can run it like so:
dump1090-mutability --interactive --net --net-sbs-port 30003 --phase-enhance --oversample --fix --ppm -1 --gain -10 --device-index 0
This started decoding packets and displaying information in the terminal about them.
I was surprised at just how many I could see with an indoor antenna. And I thought it might be nice to see them visually on a map.
I found that the software that I run every day for some of my Amateur Radio stuff, Xastir has a script written specifically to "convert" dump1090 output to APRS objects in Xastir - that was exactly what I needed.
scripts directory, I found the
ads-b.pl script and ran it with the directions found in the file:
./ads-b.pl planes 1016
It began processing data...
And objects appeared on the map
I was surprised at how many airplanes were flying over and found it fun to watch.
I also found ADS-B Exchange - track aircraft live that let me view even more data online.
As I think is typical with the Amateur Radio hobby, this was a lot of fun to explore.