The best for last: A complete Docker-RPi-RTL-SDR ADSB/ACARS Solution

 

After my last two blogposts [1][2], many of you asked “Why Docker on a Raspberry?” if you can install all the software directly (“There are so much tutorials“). Yeah, that’s right – but think how much work you have to invest to get the following setup running:

sdr_gear

  • Raspberry Pi 2 & 2 RTL-SDR Sticks
    • Nr 1 is monitoring ADSB via dump1090
    • Nr 2 is monitoring ACARS on 2 frequencies via acarsdec
  • FR24FEED (www.flightradar24.com) is taking the data from dump1090 and feeds it to FR24
  • FlightAirMap (PHP/MySQL) is taking the data from acarsdec and dump1090 to generate a comprehensive statistic and live map of your received data.
  • A Mysql server for storing the Data behind FlightAirMap

You need five services which you have to install/compile, to configure, to link and to manage.

But there is a much more convenient solution: docker-compose and one (!) configuration file 🙂

FlightAirMap & dump1090 Screenshots

flightairmap_3
FlightAirMap

flightairmap_2
FlightAirMap

flightairmap_1
FlightAirMap

dump1090
dump1090

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RPI + Docker + ACARS: Receive “Aircraft SMS”

After the fantastic feedback i got for my blog post about ADSB reception with RTL-SDR (and Docker), the next point in my list is ACARS.

The basics: What is ACARS?

ACARS is short for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, a digital data link between an aircraft and a ground station and/or satellite.

ACARS Terminal
ACARS Terminal

The on-board avionic computer system (aircraft) consists of the ACARS Management Unit (ACARS MU) and a Control Display Unit (CDU) for sending and receiving digital information messages from the ground-based stations.

Ground equipment is made up of a network of radio transceivers managed by a central site computer called AFEPS (Arinc Front End Processor System), which handles and routes messages. Generally, ground ACARS units are either government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, an airline operations headquarters, or, for small airlines or general aviation, a third-party subscription service. Usually government agencies are responsible for clearances, while airline operations handle gate assignments, maintenance, and passenger needs. (Wikipedia)

 

This is a message send by the CFD (Central Fault Display) of an aircraft 😉

#CFB.1/WRN/WN1511161031 383100506MAINTENANCE STATUS TOILET

Or something like this

N12114 CO0070 1EHAM REQUEST GATE ASSIGNMENT ETA0447

You’re now interested how to receive such messages with minimal Hardware? You have your Raspberry Pi 2 ready? Docker installed? RTL-SDR attached? Then read on.

If not, start with my earlier blog posts to get the basics:

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