Raspberry PI with dump1090 and PiAware


  • RTL2832U & R820T2
  • Raspberry PI 2

RaspberryPi with DVB-T RTL2832U

Preparing the Raspberry PI

Install your preferred build of Raspbian. I used Raspbian Jesse Light as a desktop environment is not needed for dump1090/PiAware, everything can be done through an ssh terminal. Latest build supported by the Raspberry Pi foundation is here

Once the Raspberry Pi is up with a build of debian login using the following credentials (note this is for Raspbian Jesse and may differ with other builds)

username: pi
password: raspberry

Configuration can be performed remotely from here on out. To do this find the IP address of the device


This will give an output that looks something like this. Look under eth0 for the network address of the device ( is my address in the below output)

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ ifconfig
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::37c9:d737:bed2:e836/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:10844 errors:0 dropped:25 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:3017 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:9831206 (9.3 MiB)  TX bytes:299259 (292.2 KiB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

I was using Windows to remote into the Raspberry PI. A decent SSH client for Windows is Putty but feel free to use anything you prefer.


Make sure everything on the Pi is up to date, this will take a fair while…

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade


Install packages required to build SDR-RTL

sudo apt-get install git git-core cmake libusb-1.0-0.dev build-essential pkg-config

Build sdr-rtl

git clone git://git.osmocom.org/rtl-sdr.git
cd rtl-sdr/
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

If everything above was compiled and returns no errors sdr-rtl package is now installed

  • Build guide used above for sdr-rtl was sourced from here. If there are any errors thrown by the above process have a look here as it has a number of common issues and fixes for them.

Copy the device rules to the correct location

cd ~
sudo cp ./rtl-sdr/rtl-sdr.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/
sudo reboot 

After the reboot run the following

rtl_test -t 

From this point this guide was followed. The response from the above command should be something similar to the following

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ rtl_test -t
Found 1 device(s):
  0:  Realtek, RTL2838UHIDIR, SN: 00000001

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM

Kernel driver is active, or device is claimed by second instance of librtlsdr.
In the first case, please either detach or blacklist the kernel module
(dvb_usb_rtl28xxu), or enable automatic detaching at compile time.

usb_claim_interface error -6
Failed to open rtlsdr device #0.

Note that this is the generic driver that is used to receive TV so is no use for using with dump1090. To fix this do the following (based on this guide)

cd /etc/modprobe.d
sudo nano no-rtl.conf

Put the following in the conf file

blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
blacklist rtl2832
blacklist rtl2830

Save and reboot again

sudo reboot

When the device comes back up re-run the test command

rtl_test -t

This time the following response was given

Found 1 device(s):
  0:  Realtek, RTL2838UHIDIR, SN: 00000001

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Supported gain values (29): 0.0 0.9 1.4 2.7 3.7 7.7 8.7 12.5 14.4 15.7 16.6 19.7 20.7 22.9 25.4 28.0 29.7 32.8 33.8 36.4 37.2 38.6 40.2 42.1 43.4 43.9 44.5 48.0 49.6
[R82XX] PLL not locked!
Sampling at 2048000 S/s.
No E4000 tuner found, aborting.

Setup dump1090

Following the guide here. Clone the dump1090 repository

cd ~
git clone git://github.com/MalcolmRobb/dump1090.git
cd dump1090

If everything has been built correctly and is connected then dump1090 can be started

./dump1090 --interactive

or if the Raspberry PI is running without a display over the network

./dump1090 --interactive --net

An example of the output for interactive net mode

Hex     Mode  Sqwk  Flight   Alt    Spd  Hdg    Lat      Long   Sig  Msgs   Ti-
7CF7C4  S           PHRX1A                                        7     8    3

There are a few ways to run the application in the background To allow dump1090 to run in the background and still look at the output from it the following can be done

sudo apt-get install screen
screen -S dump1090
./dump1090 --interactive --net

To just run dump1090 in the background (persist after you logout) run the following command (or any command and follow it with an ampersand)

./dump1090 --quiet --net &

Daemonize dump1090

Following the guide here. Create a new file for daemon script

sudo nano /etc/init.d/dump1090.sh


# Provides:		dump1090
# Required-Start:	$remote_fs
# Required-Stop:	$remote_fs
# Default-Start:	2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:		0 1 6
# Short-Description:	dump1090 initscript

## Fill in name of program here.
PROG_ARGS="--interactive --net --no-fix --net-ro-size 500  --net-ro-rate 5"

start() {
      if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
          ## Program is running, exit with error.
          echo "Error! $PROG is currently running!" 1>&2
          exit 1
          ## Change from /dev/null to something like /var/log/$PROG if you want to save output.
          cd $PROG_PATH
          ./$PROG $PROG_ARGS 2>&1 >/dev/null &
          echo "$PROG started"
          touch $PIDFILE

stop() {
      if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
          ## Program is running, so stop it
         echo "$PROG is running"
         killall $PROG
         rm -f $PIDFILE
         echo "$PROG stopped"
          ## Program is not running, exit with error.
          echo "Error! $PROG not started!" 1>&2
          exit 1

## Check to see if we are running as root first.
## Found at http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/shell-root-user-check-script.html
if [ "$(id -u)" != "0" ]; then
      echo "This script must be run as root" 1>&2
      exit 1

case "$1" in
          exit 0
          exit 0
          exit 0
          echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|reload}" 1>&2
          exit 1
exit 0

Make the file executable

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/dump1090.sh

Add the run level shortcuts

sudo update-rc.d dump1090.sh defaults

Now the following commands can be used. The dump1090 service will also start automatically on boot

sudo /etc/init.d/dump1090.sh stop
sudo /etc/init.d/dump1090.sh start
sudo update-rc.d -f dump1090.sh remove

Dump1090 Web Interface

Dump1090 has a web interface that can give a live feed of data it is picking up. This can be looked at by pointing the browser at the IP of your device on port 8080

Flight Aware Interface

Setup PiAware

From the official guide over at FlightAware. Download the package

cd ~
wget http://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/files/piaware_2.1-5_armhf.deb

Install the deb file

sudo dpkg -i piaware_2.1-5_armhf.deb

Install any missing dependencies

sudo apt-get install -fy

Enable auto updates pushed from FlightAware

sudo piaware-config -autoUpdate 1 -manualUpdate 1

Setup PiAware with your account

sudo piaware-config -user USERNAME -password PASSWORD

Restart PiAware

sudo /etc/init.d/piaware restart


The PiAware package will call home with the provided details once it has restarted.

Collinear Antenna

Collinear Antenna - At the bottom of the post there are a few resources which are also good to watch / read to give a better idea about how to construct the collinear antenna.