Tagged: adsbscope

COAA PlanePlotter Review Part 1

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At the heart of the PlanePlotter system is Mlat. Here a USAF E-3C (SHUCK80H) is being successfully Mlated (manually by me - the blue lines are hyper curves used during the process). Note also the KC-135R (QID81) and MC-130J (LEGIT41)
At the heart of the PlanePlotter system is Mlat. Here a USAF E-3C (SHUCK80H) is being successfully Mlated (manually by me – the blue lines are hyper curves used during the process). Note also the KC-135R (QID81) and MC-130J (LEGIT41)

PlanePlotter Version Reviewed: 6.4.1.0-6.4.1.2 (GS/MU rN)

As an aviation enthusiast of many a decade I can tell you that this sort of hobby evolves over the years. Back in the 1980’s the only tools I had were a pair of binoculars, a copy of Ian Allan’s abc Military Aircraft Markings, a note book and pencil. As time went on I added a 35mm SLR (remember those?) and a collection of high powered lenses. The 90’s saw the addition of my first scanner plus a spotting scope for good measure. I was pretty much sorted – not much got past me at my local airfield.

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SDR Software (Free Stuff!)

Check out the Realtek RTL2832U+R820T USB SDR at Amazon.co.uk

So you are in receipt of a shiny new Realtek RTL2832U+R820T SDR dongle and I understand the first thing you want to do is start decoding ADS-B, ACARS or some other exotic data format. Maybe you just want to listen in to some local comms? Well we really need to get some software loaded up.

There are two popular SDR tuning programs and both are freeware: SDR# (SDRSharp) and HDSDR. I’ve tried both, but highly recommend SDR# as its more user friendly – especially for newcomers so we’ll stick with that.

SDR# (SDRSharp)

There are numerous SDR# versions available (stable/nightly builds) and a degree of experimentation is required to get the program up and running. Installation worked flawlessly on one PC but was a total nightmare on another. Eventually I got it working on both (funnily identical Windows XP platforms!). SDR# requires .NET Framework to be installed prior to running and the problems I had installing SDR# on my laptop was because I had 4.5 installed and not 3.5. To be on the safe side I ended up installing .NET Framework versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.5 and 4.5 (overkill or what?!).

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