The rtl_acars console based ACARS decoder which is based on rtl_fm has been updated by a new author, gat3way on Reddit. The new updates include decoder sensitivity improvements and the following:
- Multiple frequencies scanning is now supported (by providing multiple -f arguments at command line and -l ). Since there is no audio output and it’s hard to determine right squelch level, a squelch debug option (-r) is implemented. Use it to experiment with squelch value, it’s simple: good squelch values flood stdout with “hopping freq!” messages yet avoid too high squelch levels. In general, values between 20-30 work good with my setup (big city, lots of radio interference, NOAA turnstile which gives -3db due to rhcp polarization).
- Aircraft and airline databases now supported (using the acarsdec builtin ones). DBs are text files using simple format, so you may easily update them. I would very much appreciate your help to keep that up-to-date.
- Certain improvements in frequency hopping code as compared to rtl_fm, but don’t expect wonders, it takes time to retune so data loss is not avoidable especially if you provide lots of frequencies to scan or huge ranges.
- A simple Makefile to make it simpler 🙂
In the future gat3way hopes to support the decoding of multiple ACARS channels as well. The updated rtl_acars software can be downloaded from github here.
Yesterday we posted about the command line rtl_acars ACARS decoder. Today on YouTube, Pawel Janowski has posted a video showing how to download, compile and run the rtl_acars.c code on Linux.
Pawel has also posted the compilation instructions on his blog (in Polish but the console commands are easy to discern from the text).
On the Osmocom mailing list, Andreas has posted his work on a console based ACARS decoder for the RTL-SDR. Check out the mailing list thread here, and original post here. The second post on the thread shows how to compile it under Linux. Andreas writes
I have combined “rtl_fm” with Thierry Leconte’s (GPL’ed) acarsdec library code and created “rtl_acars” which can directly decode ACARS flight info messages to the console. Confirmed to compile on OSX 10.6 (not possible for me to check if it also compiles under Windows and *nix). Feel free to add it as another proof of concept to your distro unless you consider it too much of a quick&dirty hack.
Only the source code is available, and you will need to compile it yourself. The code can be found here.