Hak5: ADS-B on a Quadcopter carrying a Wifi Enabled Linux Computer, RTL-SDR and Coaxial Collinear Antenna

Over on YouTube, Hak5 a electronics enthusiast channel has posted a video showing an interesting ADS-B project they undertook.

The Hak5 team took a quadcopter up on top of a high mountain, attached to it a WiFi Pineapple (a small WiFi equipped Linux computer), an RTL-SDR dongle and a coax collinear antenna and then flew it up high. They ran dump1090, a Linux based ADS-B decoder on the WiFi pineapple and then broadcast the decoded information back to a laptop on the ground.

Although the results were less than favourable, it is still an interesting project to explore. Their poor results may be due to a nearby RF broadcast tower which could have been overloading the dongle, or EMF from the quadcopter motors.

Tracking Aircraft over 300 miles away! Mountain + Drone + SDR, Hak5 1609

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Amazing! nice combination. thank you all the best.


I think if you were able to convince your special someone to help you with a science experiment, then a “failure” is worthwhile!


i think is necessary to set low gain in dump program. In my city (Bologna-Italy) best results are with 20dB of gain. Putting 25dB or more, no aircraft ! The low distance from repeater (at level of antennas ) will increase EMI problem. For this, at ground level, in this test, is best. Increase distance from repeater and put low gain (15-20dB)!!! bye!


tech-affine girlfriend = epic win