While fully configured kits can be purchased in our http://adsb.store, many enthusiasts choose to build their own hardware, which is the purpose of this discussion.
While it may be theoretically possible to run the processing off of hardware other than a Raspberry Pi, using a Pi has many advantages for cost, simplicity and supportability reasons. At this time, the latest Pi is the 4B model, which is typically less than the cost of an older Pi 3B+. For best performance, a Pi 4B is recommended, but the 3B and Pi Zero 2W will also work. Amount of RAM doesn’t make any difference at this time. Usage for a dual-frequency ADS-B install is under 1GB, and often under 0.5GB.
SD Card size should be 8gb minimum. For best longevity, we recommend an industrial card such as this one.
Power supply issues are common when using a Pi based receivers and SDR. The Pi 4B requires 5.1V 3.5A power supply. The Pi 3B+ requires a good 5.1V 2.5A power supply. Clean power is important in maintaining a stable decode, and preventing random “odd issues” due to fluctuating line voltage. For this reason, we absolutely recommend the “official” raspberry pi power supplies, which are available from a variety of vendors.
We can’t express enough how important enough power for the Pi SDR combo is, many of the issues feeders have are due to poor power supplies creating under volt or under current anomalies with the Pi.
Antenna & SDR
Once you have the Pi and power supply, you will then need an SDR (software defined radio) USB stick, SD card and an antenna. A complete starter kit with all of these items can be obtained here.
Optional – if you wish to add the 2nd US-only frequency, 978, you can also purchase this SDR.
If you are using your own SD card, simply download our software from https://www.adsbexchange.com/image
Using good quality cable is important in optimizing range and decoding of ADS-B signals. Short runs of 3-5 feet / 1-2 meters can use RG-58 or other ‘poor’ cable. Runs of 10 feet / 3 meters or more require and low loss equivalent cable designed for high frequency (i.e. LMR195 or higher).
SMA to N-Type Male: https://amzn.to/2GJBBOH
Do not underestimate the loss from poor cable and connections.
The purpose of a signal filter is to remove “noise” from neighboring frequencies to allow the decoder to better “hear” ADS-B signals. If you purchased the ADSBx Blue SDR the filter is built in, but other brands may benifit from adding one. Any filter will slightly reduce signal strength, however if you are nearby a cellular tower or other RF-dense environment (or only have an indoor antenna) a 1090mhz signal filter may help. There are many models on the market. Our 1090mhz filter can be purchased here.