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This project shows you how to build a cheap ADS-B Aircraft RADAR using a Raspberry Pi and a compatible USB TV tuner.

Equipment Required

  1. Raspberry Pi single board computer [1] [2]
  2. USB TV Tuner with RTL-2832U chipset [3]
  3. 5V Micro USB power rated to at least 1.2A, although more is probably better. I use one of these [4].

Software Installation

The following assumes you have a working Raspberry Pi running the Raspian OS. Setup:RPI_Raspian. The RPi must have access to a work internet connection and the current software is up to date. To update the pi run the following 2 commands

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Supporting utilites

Install the following support tools git git-core pkg-config cmake build-essential libusb-1.0-0-dev

sudo apt-get install git git-core pkg-config cmake build-essential libusb-1.0-0-dev 

RTL-2832U driver

Download and install the driver from

git clone git://
cd rtl-sdr
mkdir build
cd build
sudo make install

Enable the udev rules for the device.

cd ~
sudo cp ./rtl-sdr/rtl-sdr.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/

Restart the RPi and connect the RTL-2832U based USB dongle to your RPi, you should see the light come on.

sudo reboot


Dump1090 is a simple Mode S decoder for RTLSDR devices [5] a recent fork [6] is also available. Original git clone git://, latest git clone git://,

git clone git://
cd  dump1090

Test the installation a the terminal with

cd ~/dump1090
./dump1090/dump1090  --interactive

you should see a live update of the available data like this:


A rather more impressive visualisation of the data can be seen via the network interface.

cd ~/dump1090
./dump1090 --quiet --net &

the & pushes the programme to the background and frees the terminal.

To see the graphical output first find your RPi IP address via

ifconfig | grep 'inet addr:'
inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
inet addr:  Mask:

The default port is 8080 so point your webbrowser at and you should see:

Dump1090 Webpage

Running dump1090 as a Daemon

Based on the instructions here [7] this is readily achieved by creating an init file.

sudo nano /etc/init.d/

Paste the example code from the above link, edit the file settings PROG_PATH PROG_ARGS

PROG_ARGS="--quiet --net"

Make the script executable

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/

Create the runlevel shortcuts with the command:

sudo update-rc.d defaults

The programme will run automatically on system power up.

To start or stop the new daemon use

sudo service stop
sudo service start


Broadcast your effort

To make the graphical webpage visible from outside your network, use the port forwarding of your router [TODO].

Contribute to the wider community


Things to check.

  1. Does your RPi have enough power? Try a powered USB hub for the dongle?


  1. Farnell raspberry-pi
  2. RS raspberrypi
  3. DVB-T USB TV RTL-SDR FM+DAB Radio Tuner Receiver Stick Realtek RTL2832U+R820T
  4. apple-12w-usb-power-adapter