With some extra down time this weekend, I decided to give ACARS and ADS-B monitoring a try.
I'd been avoiding this for a while because of all the caveats about the H/W needed, especially for ADS-B: you need a carefully tuned, external antenna; you need a specialty dongle; you need a short run of low-loss coax; you need an LNA, you should get a band-pass filter; etc.
So this was going to be real quick science project, just to see if I could pick up anything at all with my basic RTL-SDR set-up. The only thing I had going in my favor was that I upgraded my generic Noo-Elec dongles with 1 ppm RTL-SDR.com units last month. I figured I'd be lucky to pick up anything, and was prepared for complete wash-out.
Long story short, I was amazed at how much I was able to pick up. And my best 1090 MHz results came from the little whip that accompanied one of the dongles. It was just sitting on the bookshelf next to my computer, and outperformed my attic discone-with-LNA.
Not sure if I will get into this deep enough and long enough to upgrade the hardware, but I guess the lesson here is if you've been putting off checking out this side of the hobby because of the perceived HW requirements, give it a quick try.
This forum is for the discussion of the signals monitored on 1090 MHz that allow for the plotting of civilian and military aircraft using PlanePlotter and other software.
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