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Thread: Want to expand my horizons / don't know Planeplotter yet

  1. #1
    Passenger dplarson's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
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    Montana USA
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    Want to expand my horizons / don't know Planeplotter yet

    Maybe this isn't the best place for this post, I'm not currently running Planeplotter but I suspect I should be.

    I host a FR24 receiver, feed it to my home PC running Virtual Radar Server for my own entertainment in my own home. I'd like to do more and this is where I need help.

    I'd like to be logging data for more than what seems one day with Virtual Radar Server.

    Is there a way to see if a receiver is hearing interrogation modes 1-5 or A or C but not displaying them because they are encrypted / location unknown? How do I log or track aircraft that do not show up on fr24 website or my internal Virtual Radar Server live tracking or historical screens but I know they are there and presumably broadcasting some interrogation mode from their transponder? After all, there is more than ADS-B on 1090MHz right?

    How can I make multilateration available in my poorly covered home area?
    Either publicly on fr24.com, for the Planeplotter community only, for my own internal use only, or all of these?

    If I am able to place another ADS-B receiver at another location, will that help me with establishing mlat?

    How far apart do they need to be, a few miles, dozens of miles, different counties?

    I know that's a lot and I've read many other posts, I have a vague general idea of how some of this works but I don't know of a good summary that explains all of this.

    Oh yes, instead of a free receiver from fr24 or the other big website, should I just buy my own receiver that is an all in one box that can receive and log everything? Is there such a thing and what is it called?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Passenger
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    Good questions. Bit advanced for me, but stuff I'd like to eventually know too

  3. #3
    Passenger dplarson's Avatar
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    Funny you write this today, I was just poking around this and some other aviation forums when you wrote your reply. I'm still around, still running the FR24 receiver with VRS and haven't learned much more since I wrote that post. It seems people who figure out my questions don't like to talk about it. I am seeing MLAT in my area on FR24 so there are some more FR24 feeders in my area, that is nice to see but on my other questions there has been no progress.

  4. #4
    Flight attendant
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    Oct 2013
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    Lugo, Spain
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    As a Planeplotter user I'll try to help you a bit.

    You're right, there's a lot more info available from 1090MHz, directly or making some kind of postprocess. PlanePlotter is the way to go for this, but it is not an easy nor trivial stuff.

    You (still) have many Mode A/C interrogations on 1090MHz, mainly from general aviation. You can't log that: Mode A only shows a squawk code, Mode C shows the squawk code and altitude. But you can manage to track them with a nice PP feature called "Beamfinder". Knowing the radar locations around you and their rotation rates, you can fill up a small file on PP to make it work. If one non-position aircraft answers a radar interrogation, and anothes full ADS-B aircraft answers interrogations from the same radar, PP can calculate the signal time of arrival difference from both and trace a "radial" from the radar station. Making this for two or more radar locations gives you some radial intersections where the non-position aircraf is.

    There's also a lot of Mode-S signals on 1090MHz. It is not that exact, but you can consider ADS-B as a subset of Mode-S specification. There are many aircrafts with Mode-S transponder not giving position. Once again PP can "beamfinder" them, or much better try to multilaterate. You can log and try to track all Mode-S traffic, but multilateration need a good bunch of near and well distributed receivers like yours in your area to work. The minimum to make MLAT fixes are 4 stations.
    Northwest Spain: F-LECO1, F-LEST1

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