Tagged: rtl_acars


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.

rtl_acars.c Compilation Install Video

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).


RTL_ACARS Console Acars Decoder for RTL-SDR

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.