The Banana PI BPI-M2 as a ADS-B radio receiver controller

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The Banana PI BPI-M2 makes a great base for an aircraft data receiver station for ADS-B transmissions. ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – broadcast) is the new standard for aircraft position reporting worldwide and most aircraft use it to send their position to ground controllers and other aircraft. There are several websites that show aircraft in flight worldwide. These websites receive their aircraft data in many ways and the radio hobbyist is one of them.

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To receive the 1090 MHz ADS-B radio signal requires a capable receiver and antenna as well as a computer to process the signals and plot the locations. The Banana Pi BPI-M2 is a capable computer for this task. We coupled it along with a small inexpensive USB powered radio receiver called a DVB-T stick to receive the 1090 MHz signal.

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An external rooftop antenna is desirable for best reception, but we are using the small antenna supplied with the DVB-T receiver for this blog article.

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We are sending data to FlightRadar24.com for this example, but the setup is similar for the other sites out there. FlightRadar24 has a software package and instructions for the Raspberry Pi system and the Banana PI BPI-M2 will run the same Rasbian operating system so setup is fairly easy.

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The needed items are as follows:

  1. Banana Pi BPI-M2 computer board
  2. The Raspbian operating System
  3. 5 Volt @ 2 Amp power supply¬†(Either micro USB or one with a 4.0×1.7mm barrel connector.
  4. USB DVT-B receiver module and antenna
  5. Powered USB Hub
  6. 4GB or larger Micro SD Card

The DVB-T receiver draws enough power that the powered USB hub is recommended so that the ports on the Banana Pi are not overloaded.

Once you have all the needed components you will need to follow the installation instructions to setup and install the Rasbian operating system as well as the FlightRadar24 software. It is all command line based, but pretty well documented.

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