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ADS-B: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast

You can find some excellent descriptions of the system here:

ADS-B Technologies (Commercial site)

ADS-B FAQ (Commercial site)

ADS-B on Wikipedia

There are several professional ADS-B receivers on the market for use by pilots and commercial enterprises, too many to list here. This article will try to cover amateur-level ADS-B reception, decoding, and plotting/viewing solutions.

Decoding, Plotting, and Sharing Software

PlanePlotter RTL-SDR and multiple receivers supported. Plots, shares, and can feed other software. The de facto standard software package for decoding ACARS/ADS-B/Mode S/HF Selcal, sharing, plotting, alerting, multilateration, and Beamfinding. (Free for 30 days, then Paid. Free licenses available via FlightAware) (Windows)

Dump1090 Dump 1090 is a Mode S decoder specifically designed for RTLSDR devices. It can interface with a large number of devices including RTL dongles, Kinetic SBS1/SBS3 products, and more (Free) (Mac/Linux)

ADSB# RTL-SDR-based, decode-only, no plotting capability (Free) (Windows)

RTL1090 RTL-SDR-based, decode-only, no plotting capability (Free) (Windows)

Globe-S RTL1090 Edition Designed to plot location data and flight list from RTL1090 output. (Free) (Windows)

FlightAware provides free licenses to PlanePlotter (above) and other hardware/software in exchange for feeding data to FlightAware. Users receive free premium accounts and can track ADS-B participation (Free) (Windows, Unix)

flightradar24 Users are entitled to a Premium account on the flightradar24 tracking site in exchange for sharing ADS-B data. Their software requires a decoder application such as listed above, and does not directly plot data on a GUI or map. ADS-B data is sent to their servers, and is plotted on their web site on a Google-based map. Users in sparse coverage areas may be eligible to receive ADS-B monitoring equipment from flightradar24 in exchange for an agreement to share ADS-B data. (Free) (Windows)

Virtual Radar Server Decodes from several ADS-B receivers or can accept networked data feed. Serves a Google Maps-based display of aircraft positions and flight list. (Free) (Windows)

adsbScope Supports hardware and software decoders. (Free) (Windows)

Cocoa1090 RTL-SDR-based (Free) (Mac)

For other RTL-SDR solutions, see the Big List of RTL-SDR Supported Software. Some of the packages listed here may work with other SDRs

Hardware Decoders (all PlanePlotter-compatible)

Mode-S Beast


Kinetic SBS-3

AirNav RadarBox

PlaneGadget Radar

Aurora Virtual Radar 3D/SSRx

miniADSB Kit


RxControl Kit

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