ADS-B, an acronym for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast is a technology that allows tracking aircrafts using high speed radio transmissions. I have never had much interest in this technology until recently. While I was fiddling with this mode with Ian, we discovered a very simple way of demodulating this digital mode using the cheap DVB-T/FM (rtlsdr) dongles. This diagram explains how it works:

Simple ADS-B Demodulator

The final application, ADSB# (read ADSB-Sharp) is released under the MIT license and looks a bit like this:


The executable can be downloaded here. The sources are also available here.
Henry Forte also wrote a nice documentation to get started. You can view it here.
Configure your plotting software to use in AVR format.
I’m working with Osmocom on a C port of this POC application. Check Keen’s git repository.
There’s also another version by Salvatore Sanfilippo that uses the same decoding method developed in the latest versions of adsb#. Have a look on it here. Very promising so far!
More on this later…


119 Responses to ADSB# – A simple and cheap ADS-B receiver using RTL-SDR

  1. artouste says:

    Bonsoir Youssef
    Whoo , ta nouvelle version demenage !
    J’ai cru à un bug de calcul du fps
    Tu a recupéré un vieux stock de produit ayant appartenu à L.Amstrong pour booster ainsi ton code ? :D
    merci pour tes realisations

    • Youssef says:

      Merci beaucoup! As tu senti une différence au niveau de la réception, nombre d’avions etc. ?

      • artouste says:

        Bonjour Youssef
        je continue en français ?

        Oui pour moi c’est flagrant, je suis assez mal plaçé geographiquement , je n’ai une vue degagée que selon en gros une ligne coupant Paris en passant par Melun et Cergy.
        mais il n’y a pas photos :
        J’ai une “portée” plus etendue et je detecte plus d’avions (j’estime à la louche çà à un bon tiers en nombre)
        2 hard copy d’il y a qq minutes
        meme conditions de reception, aucun reglages modifiés
        au demarage d’ADSB#

        J’en profite pour te demander si ce ne serait pas possible d’avoir sur adsb# simultanement une sortie data alimentant ton HUB et une autre locale pour visualiser “mes” avions ?

        en tous cas, super boulot, (sdr# et adsb#)

        Pour l’anecdote et l’actualité, j’ai traçé au travers de ton HUB hier le vol AFR439 de l’ouest de l’ile de jersey jusque’à CDG

  2. sv4xxx says:

    AVerMedia H830 USB Hybrid DVB-T…. will ever be supported?

  3. w1ebr says:

    I just updated to ADSB#v1.0.11.0. The frames per second went from a range of 0 to 8 per previously to a range of about 35 – 50. What changed? For all of those frames, I am not seeing any more than 3 planes.

    Thanks for the help!


    • ATCtech says:

      I’ve seen that same characteristic for some time now. Seems like every other release shows (in my case) many, many hundreds to 1400 or more FPS, then the next release will drop to 250-350 with no change in targets displayed or acquisition range of the receiver.

      I’ve had zero problems with CPU loading all along, so the raw FPS number doesn’t seem to have any real bearing on my computer performance either. Not worth worrying about, but I am curious why it changes like that.

  4. Ross says:

    Everything up to 1.0.10.x was working well, but eventually gives an error message relating to memory corruption, and eventually (e.g., when pressing “Stop” after running a few hours) gives the following error:
    Application has generated an exception that could not be handled.
    Process ID=0x35e8 (13800), Thread ID=0x32dc (13020).

    It would be nice if ADSB# would more gracefully handle having the RTL2832U dongle unplugged from the USB port and later plugged back in, especially for use with a netbook. Now, I usually kill ADSB# with Task Manager before unplugging the RTL2832U dongle and putting the netbook to sleep then restart ADSB# later.

  5. [...] stáhnete zde: ADS-B data jsou odelílány pomocí udp serveru na IP adresu Na této adrese [...]

  6. [...] There are quite a few packages out for the RTL dongles that decode ADS-B transmissions. For Windows, there’s ADSB#: [...]

  7. darealal says:

    Hello there…
    First, damn great work ! :)

    I used ADSB# and adsbSCOPE 2.6 test 8 for a while now and just updated to adsb# ( was happy about the Hub :)

    Unfortunately, when i klick “start” and connect with adsbSCOPE, i get tons of
    ### RAW-data buffer overflow

    The same happens when i try to feed my data to the and connect with adsbSCOPE there.

    ADSB# shows about 7500 frames/sec (way to much eh?;)
    I am using a RTL Device with r820t Tuner that works perfect with SDR# and the older Version of ADSB#

    Settings are Confidence 4, Timeout 120sec

    Is there any way to figure out my Problem ?

    Thanks in advance from Germany :)

  8. artouste says:

    Hello Youssef

    I use # ADSB for some time, and it works well.
    It is unfortunate that there are not more people that feeds your HUB!

    A suggestion:
    is it possible to have both a data output to your hub through ADSBHUB and local output only see my data?

    et en français :D
    Bonjour Youssef
    j’utilise ADSB# depuis quelques temps, et cela fonctionne bien,
    malheureusement mon implantation geographique n’est pas des plus favorable, mais je fais avec !

    C’est dommage que ton HUB ne soit pas plus alimenté, encore qu’hier soir il y avait plus de trafic.

    Serait il possible d’avoir en sortie d’ADSB# et activées en meme temps une sortie des data acquises vers ton HUB (au travers d’ADSBHUB) pour les partager et une sortie locale pour voir seulement ce que je decode ?

    en tout cas, super boulot !

  9. th3badwolf says:


    I’ve been trying to make this piece of genious software work but I’m having a problem with it.

    If I start ADS-B without the tuner plugged in I get : No compatible Device Found.

    So far so good.

    If I start it with the dongle plugged in I get : 1 compatible device found but are all busy.

    And I can’t select it to enable the Start button.

    Setup : EzTV645 dongle EZCAP with drivers and everything.
    Win 7,and no actual software is related to the dongle.

    got any idea on what’s happening?


    • Derek says:

      Hi th3badwolf, It sounds like you have a second driver conflicting. I followed the advice from here about removing old drivers.

      Link Here .

      This worked for me :), Make sure you haven’t got the device plugged in, when you follow the instructions of the above link, I had the libusb and RTL2832U installed at the same time, which gave me the problem you are suffering.

      I removed both and then plugged in the dongle, re-installed zadig and it started working :). Good luck Derek.

      P.s. I found using shift ctrl and enter for admin didn’t work for me, So to get CMD in admin mode, I went to Windows/system32 and right click on CMD and select to run in admin mode.

  10. carl says:

    Hello Youssef,
    very nice work, thank you very much.
    I’m using adsb# > comByTCP > com0com > com2tcp > BaseStation under Windows 7 (it worked fine for 6 days, no bug). On the same computer.
    I’m trying to get rtl_adsb to work in place of adsb#, on a RPi, and can’t get BaseStation to decode anything.
    1. Are the output formats of adsb# and rtl_adsb the same ?
    2. In adsb#, you can choose to activate (or not) both “rtl agc” and “tuner agc”, and “confidence”. Is it at least possible to deactivate “rtl agc” in rtl_adsb ?

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