We are proud to announce our endorsement of the Aircraft Tracking Service 360Radar. You may or may not have heard of them before but we have been working with them for a while to ensure The EGXWinfo Group has the tracking service it needs to support our operations going into the summer. They have been keen to help where they can as we have certain requirements that not everyone will need, but they have been quick to get these facilities in place for us and have proven very responsive in making sure the network works at its very best for everyone else using it too. From this announcement we will be trying very hard to recruit new sharers that may or may not have their own ADSB receivers yet, every single contributor to the service will improve our coverage and in turn get free access to the best tracking service I have managed to find.
Their network of ground stations feeding data into the service is growing rapidly and we see almost daily improvements when being able to track aircraft lower and more reliably, see the example picture of an aircraft on an SRA approach for Runway 22 at Scampton. The system is web based, which means that you can use the service from almost any device with an internet connection and browser. The service automatically detects what type of device you are browsing on and adjusts accordingly to make sure service is rendered correctly on all the different devices with all the different screen sizes. There is a full menu allowing you to customise your own view from what is displayed in an aircraft label, to the fields contained in the aircraft list, to the type of aircraft you want to filter out. The service is far easier to use than programs like PlanePlotter which is geared more to the power user that needs all sorts of functionality but in return requires a synchronised system clock, regular updates, has limited support and a very steep learning curve. 360Radar takes data from ADSB receivers, FLARM receivers and satellite services and combines it all into one view. It also contains a powerful MLAT Server (Multilateration) so Mode-S equipped aircraft (that do not transmit location) can be plotted automatically when their transponder signal is in range of four or more ground stations sharing data to 360Radar. It is also a private network as it can only be accessed by contributors, this means that it is not subject to blocking or filtering, so every aircraft with a suitable signal is shown on the network, most importantly this includes Military aircraft. The sophisticated mapping system uses Google maps and is capable of overlaying weather data like, rain, wind, cloud and chart overlays (see featured image) such as ATZ, MATZ, Radar Corridors & Danger Areas, with even more in development. 360Radar was born out of the LowFlyingWales.co.uk ADSB network but is now called 360Radar, some of the setup information is listed on the old website, but it is all fine and up to date however I just wanted to re-assure you that you have not got lost in the process when you see their old branding.
If you have an ADSB receiver
We would really encourage anyone with an ADSB receiver, FLARM receiver or Satellite Link to contribute their data to the network, most people however contribute by ADSB receiver. For ADSB data you will need to do two main things, make your data available via an internet connection and install and briefly configure the MLAT client so that your data can be used by the MLAT Server to work out locations of the Mode-S aircraft. If you have an ADSB receiver then full instructions are available here: How to contribute You will be taken through the process and at the end you fill in a contact form to send off for your username and password, just remember to mention we referred you in your message. For instructions on contributing FLARM or Satellite data get in contact with 360Radar. Most importantly you can still contribute your data to other services and use PlanePlotter if that is what you are used to!
If you are thinking about getting an ADSB receiver
If you do not have an ADSB receiver but are thinking about getting one then we would encourage you to do so. Ideally you must be confident installing drivers & software onto your operating system so you can successfully set things up. If you do not feel confident in setting things up please get in contact with 360Radar, as subject to their workload, they may be able to support you getting things set up by connecting to your computer remotely using Teamviewer but please check with them before purchasing a receiver. The cost of the basic hardware is fairly low, it can be done for £5-£15 if you already have a PC or Raspberry Pi that you can install it on and leave running 24/7. The hardware is a simple USB TV Dongle that can be used to tune into a frequency of 1090MHz and pick up transponder signals instead of watching TV, it is a great use of the hardware and considering a purpose built reciever can set you back £300 is represents a huge saving. These dongles are being used all over the world by hundreds if not thousands of users successfully so its a tried and tested re-purposing of technology and not something experimental that we have knocked up on the cheap. At the end of the article I will list some information about what type of TV Dongle you need, I may be able to offer some for sale for people who are happy to install it unsupported. Alternately you can click through to their How to contribute webpage where you can get information about your options and what setup they require.
If you do not have a receiver but want to access the service
If you do not have an ADSB receiver and have decided you do not want one, then you can still access 360Radar. However you will be required to pay a low subscription fee as free accounts are only given to those feeding data permanently to the service. Subscribers help contribute to the costs of running the network, costs include renting a server within a data centre for speed and reliability. The network has to be private and only for contributors of money or data otherwise Military Aircraft would have to be removed and aircraft owners would have to be given an “opt-out” facility. If you want to access the service without contributing data then enquire about becoming a subscriber here.
The benefits of 360Radar:
- Web Based
- Available on Computer, Tablets & Mobiles
- Shows Military Aircraft
- Automatic MLAT
- Does not block or filter aircraft
- Uses ADSB/Mode-S/FLARM/Inmarsat
- Uses Google Maps
- Chart Overlays available
- Can Overlay Weather Data
- Is free for data contributors
- Subscription for non contributors
- Is being continually developed
- Is based in the UK
- Is endorsed by us, and you know I do my homework!
Join the 360Radar Community
If you are a Facebook user then you can join the community on the 360Radar Facebook Group where you can ask questions, join in with the conversation or see what people are discussing. Just ask to join and when approved you will be able to see what a friendly bunch we all are. You can also see some of the things in development and you will soon find out how proactive and forward thinking this network is. Like I say if you have any questions just ask and you will find the odd person who will point you in the right direction for purchasing receivers, parts and upgrades to improve your own ground station coverage.
What USB TV Dongle to buy
Where to buy
This one is up to you, most people buy them on eBay, if you are confident on the platform then go ahead, check the sellers feedback though as some are shocking. You can save a few pounds buying them from sellers in China if you are happy with their feedback and don’t mind waiting a week or two for it to arrive. Otherwise you can select a UK seller and pay a little more for delivery as soon as next day. I would simply search for “RTL2832U+R820T
This seems to be the model that most people used to buy, its the correct chipset for use and does the Job fine, however there are now better out there and the upgrade to a “T2” seems to carry very little price difference so personally I would at least go for the T2 upgrade. These usually come with a very basic antenna which is fine to get you started and you can upgrade at a later time once you get used to it all.
This is the new standard over the “T” model being the “T2,” there is very little price difference at the moment so I would urge you to buy this model at a minimum. This is the model I currently have a few of so please get in touch if you want one, I normally sell them around the £15 mark but I will not be able to offer any support in getting it up and running, 360Radar may help you but please get in touch with them first to confirm this before purchasing. These usually come with a very basic antenna which is fine to get you started and you can upgrade at a later time once you get used to it all.
RTL2832U+R820T2 1PPM TCXO
This is believed to be the best available at the moment without the addition of things like filters and amplifiers. It is the standard “T2” with the addition of a temperature compensated oscillator (TCXO) which limits the “drift” off frequency to a claimed 1PPM. There seem to be two different ways to go about the addition of the TCXO, some added at manufacture and some added after. The people that manufacture them with the TXCO say that you can’t trust those that add the TCXO as an addition afterwards but then the folks that add the TXCO on after manufacture say its perfectly fine, I can not offer a judgement either way so its a judgement call for you to make. These either come with the basic “Twigglet” antenna or a newer and better telescopic metal antenna, both however are basic and if you are serious about things you will want to invest in a better, dedicated antenna.