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ads-b with usb dongle on board an airbus

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  • ads-b with usb dongle on board an airbus


    A simple question. When flying (as a passenger) I am always curious to check the plane's location - especially as I am interested in identifying the geographical features when visibility is good. I usually carry a small GPS unit for that purpose but sometimes it's not easy to get a fix.
    Now if I use an ADS-B dongle with my laptop (of the cheap kind), would I be able to receive the signal emitted by the airplane itself and therefore get my position from the airplane's own GPS)?

    Being so close to the emitter I guess it would be possible but on the other hand maybe the plane's fuselage can block the reception if the emitter is located outside the plane - as I would expect it to be.

    Did any of you guys already experiment with this?


  • #2
    I wonder if the airline would allow that.. Obviously they want all electronic devices shut off during takeoff and landing. Would be interesting to receive adsb data on board. I'm curious!


    • #3
      Likely overloaded. There are 2-3 transmitters on an aircraft and the system fluctuates which is used.

      And I doubt you will find anyone experimenting, without being asked to leave the aircraft in fear The CAA don't approve such things, and I suspect the staff even less with little knowledge.
      Posts not to be taken as official support representation - Just a helpful uploader who tinkers


      • #4
        Thanks, what do you mean with "likely overloaded"?

        Well, it's just a USB dongle, a purely passive thing that doesn't emit anything... Plus, when it is hooked to a laptop (the use of which is now allowed even during takeoff and landing) it's pretty much inconspicuous. In fact, when flying over Europe I guess you might be able to use the same stick to watch DVB TV! No idea though if you would still receive the TV signal 10,000m above the ground.


        • #5

          You don't require carrying anything on board and can make use of some of the existing IFE (in-flight entertainment system) on many airlines/aircraft. I haven't experienced it myself but a couple of members of my family have described them to me from their experiences. It is described in the following link;

          Note in particular:

          "Varieties of in-flight entertainment[edit]
          Moving-map systems[edit]

          Simplified version of Airshow
          A moving-map system is a real-time flight information video channel broadcast through to cabin project/video screens and personal televisions (PTVs). In addition to displaying a map that illustrates the position and direction of the plane, the system gives the altitude, airspeed, outside air temperature, distance to the destination, distance from the origination point, and local time. The moving-map system information is derived in real time from the aircraft's flight computer systems.[12]

          The first moving-map system designed for passengers was named Airshow and introduced in 1982.[13] It was invented by Airshow Inc (ASINC), a small southern California corporation, which later became part of Rockwell Collins. KLM and Swissair were the first airlines to offer the moving map systems to their passengers.

          The latest versions of moving-maps offered by IFE manufacturers include Airshow 4200 by Rockwell Collins, iXplor2 by Panasonic Avionics and JetMap HD by Honeywell Aerospace. In 2013, Betria Interactive unveiled FlightPath3D,[14] a fully interactive moving-map that enables passengers to zoom and pan around a 3D world map using touch gestures, similar to Google Earth.[15] FlightPath3D was chosen by Norwegian as the moving-map on their new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, running on Panasonic's Android based touch-screen IFE system.[16]

          After the attempted Christmas Day bombing of 2009, the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) briefly ordered the live-map shut-off on international flights landing in the United States. Some airlines complained that doing so may compel the entire IFE system to remain shut. After complaints from airlines and passengers alike, these restrictions were eased."

          Unfortunately many domestic or short haul flights throughout the world don't appear to offer such functionality and as the article states some were temporarily shut down following incidents but from what I've read and heard these restrictions are now lifted. Note also the data comes directly from the aircraft's own instrumentation within the cockpit/avionics bay hence there is no need to try to attempt to intercept the feed from the aircraft's downlinks/uplinks as you've enquired. As Oblivian has alluded to it may not be appreciated by the flight crew to be attempting to hack into their systems, no matter how innocent or well intentioned it might be with the end result being that which he has referred to in being asked to exit the aircraft. You may even cause interference to their signal in doing so simply by attempting it.

          If you have internet access available on board I'd think you would also have access to such sites as FR24 (not sure about the cost, if any). From memory others have mentioned this feature both on this forum and the chat.

          Last edited by fungus; 2015-05-01, 13:43. Reason: minor corrections
          YSSY2/T-YSSY4 [SBS-1 Basestation w/- SSE-1090 SJ Mk2 Antenna (Thanks Delcomp) ] [Uniden UBCD996T w/- 16 element Wideband Discone VHF/UHF Antenna, and tuned 108MHz-137MHz Airband Antenna] [Trialing a home-brew 1090MHz collinear antenna]


          • #6
            Yes you're right, sometimes there is no entertainment whatsoever. Especially on shorter flights or with low-cost carriers. So you have to provide the entertainement yourself

            And even in recent aircrafts with better mapping software (I flew back from the US last summer and noticed it had really improved), I have found it to be pretty disasppointing compared to what you can get with offline openstreetmap maps...

            But interferences? I don't really see how, it's not like you are sending a request to the aircraft transponder, as far as I understand it's completely passive, isn't it?


            • #7

              Can you dance?

              Seriously, whilst that particular aircraft system itself may be regarded as 'passive' the dongle (or anything else for that matter) interrogating or attempting to interrogate the signal isn't necessarily so. As Oblivian has pointed out it would be attempting to get a 'fix' from any one of (or all of) the multiple transmitting antennas externally on the aircraft. I certainly wouldn't want to be arguing the point with the crew who might not necessarily understand what you are attempting or be the least bit sympathetic. I'm not even sure that it is legal. Might need a very good (and expensive) lawyer.

              Last edited by fungus; 2015-04-30, 13:25.
              YSSY2/T-YSSY4 [SBS-1 Basestation w/- SSE-1090 SJ Mk2 Antenna (Thanks Delcomp) ] [Uniden UBCD996T w/- 16 element Wideband Discone VHF/UHF Antenna, and tuned 108MHz-137MHz Airband Antenna] [Trialing a home-brew 1090MHz collinear antenna]


              • #8

                If I may put in my 2 cent's worth.

                Just the dongle will/might not capture any data without an antenna plugged-in. Your fellow passengers are going to scream terrorist once they see this setup. No?


                • #9
                  It is possible and it works obviously.


                  • #10
                    Laptop + USB-USB cable+ DBV-T stick + antenna + earphones + backpack

                    Use laptop with cable....keep stick and antenna in backpack. Turn on SDR Sharp and tune to predefined freq. and listen to comm.

                    Don't miss freq change...atc-atc transfer

                    DISCLAIMER: DO NOT try this in real life!

                    Just a joke!

                    There is android app for smartphones on the market....
                    Last edited by Amper; 2015-04-30, 18:29.
                    For official support use Contact Form


                    • #11
                      I remember seeing pictures of a guy talking about SDR at a conference with him sitting on the plane picking up stuff with passengers next to him. I would be nervous if i saw someone with a dongle with an antenna too though!


                      • #12
                        Dvb-T stick pass on x-ray without damage? I'm not sure......

                        Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mrcarlos View Post
                          Dvb-T stick pass on x-ray without damage? I'm not sure......

                          Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk
                          I don't see why not. Laptops do.


                          • #14
                            ADS-B onboard B737 realtime PFD and ND

                            ADS-B onboard Ryanair 737
                            Not exactly what TS was asking for but this person used it to display (in real time) the status from the primary flight display (PFD) and navigation display (ND).

                            If you are worried about the text on the dongle causing trouble you can always put a sticker over it with 'music' written on it

                            Originally posted by maddav View Post
                            ...especially as I am interested in identifying the geographical features when visibility is good.
                            This will be a challenge. You will need display software with a detailed map included to be used offline...
                            I don't know if it will be possible to save the flight path like you would with a GPS.

                            With my Garmin eTrex20 I'm able to zoom in to see details on the map while it's saving the track. Keeping the GPS near the window is enough to keep a lock on narrow body's but on wide body's that can be a challenge.


                            • #15
                              Laptops don't pass on x-ray

                              Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk