Tracking airplanes in real time up to 400+ miles, with the use of RTLSDR and Coax Cable

Dustin Sterkenburg · November 29, 2014

Here is a fun project that you can do that allows you to track airplanes in real time for less than $50.

Tools needed:

USB RTL-SDR (hardware that can capture radio waves):

External Antenna Connector (optional as it includes a mini antenna with the above USB device):

Dump 1090 (software that logs the data and shows the planes in realtime on google maps):

10-15 Feet of Coax Cable (any scraps will do).


Collinear Antenna build with coax cable (optional):


Video Link

Instructions: Install your favorite version of Linux, Dump 1090.  Plug in your USB hardware.  Execute the following:

./dump1090 --interactive --net

Finally open the browser and browse to http://localhost:8080 to see live traffic.

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