Websites like flightradar24 always fascinated me. A significant amount of the data fr24 is based on, is actually coming from crowdsourced receivers of ADS-B transponder signals. fr24 even has a dedicated section with information for building your own Raspberry Pi based receiver.
The benefit of having your own receiver and providing the data to fr24 are besides the fun project that you get a free business subscription for fr24. More than enough reasons to launch a small side project.
Note: flightradar24 recommends to have the antenna mounted on a roof top with unobstructed 360° view.
My personal experience is that it can work well but with limitations, close to a window - but your results may vary.
Building a Debian 11 based receiver
1 - Hardware
As recommended on the fr24 page I ordered the NESDR SMArTee v2 Bundle from Nooelec which is an USB SDR receiver that costs around 50$ including shipping to EU.
As I have a virtualization server I use a standard Debian 11 VM instead of additional hardware such as Raspberry Pi and passthrough the USB device to the VM.
2 - Software installation
Note: On Debian 11 Bullseye it seems to be necessary to install dump1090 manually and before the flighttracker software. Normally this shouldn't be required and happens behind the scenes automatically. I have not investigated why this is but likely because Bullseye is still quite new. Therefore we deviate a bit from the proposed standard installation procedure by this additional step.
2.1 - Installing dump1090-mutability
# Install dump1090-mutability package sudo apt install dump1090-mutability
Important: If you're asked whether it should start the server automatically, answer No since this would otherwise interfere with the fr24feed I observed on my installation.
2.2 - Installing fr24feed
Download the latest version of the fr24feed package from fr24 https://www.flightradar24.com/share-your-data.
There is also a PDF manual available with more information https://repo-feed.flightradar24.com/fr24feed-manual.pdf should you require more detailed information or thorough trouble shooting.
# Download the latest fr24feed release wget https://repo-feed.flightradar24.com/linux_x86_64_binaries/fr24feed_1.0.25-3_amd64.deb # Install the fr24feed package sudo apt install ./fr24feed_1.0.25-3_amd64.deb # Run fr24feed manually and signup for a new key sudo fr24feed --signup
The Nooelec receiver is of type
1 -DVBT Stick (USB) otherwise no special settings are required. I chose to have the additional feeds running.
For the initial test run you may want to run fr24feed directly from the console to observe the log output live. Alternatively you can also just observe the log output from
Once everything is up and running you can enable the systemd service in order for the fr24feed to be started automatically.
sudo systemctl status fr24feed # Enable autostart and start the service sudo systemctl enable fr24feed sudo systemctl start fr24feed # Verify the service is running sudo systemctl status fr24feed
Check the output of your machine with your browser on http://ip:8754/.
It should look like this:
At least the UDP ports 8099, 19788, 48786, 56171 must be open for the tracker to fully work with MLAT.
That's it. Enjoy your new ADS-B ✈️ flight tracker and your new and free flightradar24 Business account.
I am able to see around 1k aircrafts a day with this setup here.