Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

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Helno
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Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

Figured this would be a good place to reach out to the community to see if there is some interest in what we have been working on.

In January I was asked to speak to the Kitchener COPA group about the work I have been doing. Full disclosure I sell Stratux hardware on amazon.ca, if you purchased a Stratux kit from there it was from me.

I have been active in the Stratux community since the beginning and have been working to develop an inexpensive ISM band ground station so that we can get subscription free in flight weather data similar to the US ADS-B network. There is another group working with Nav Canada and IC along with the FAA on a test site for UAT station but they appear to be bogged down getting those groups to cooperate.

We have gone over a few different radio options in the last year and have settled on using the TI CC1310 since it does a great job of decoding UAT (and just about any other FSK signal). LORA was considered as well and gave excellent range but the closed protocol and limited chipsets made it less attractive then a more generic chipset. We considered using high power base stations to get range similar to the US towers but the industry Canada licenses would have been cost prohibitive. The ISM bands in Canada and the US allow for unlicensed transmitters to operate at up to 1 watt so we figured we can start there. The CC1310 has a companion amplifier that boosts the output up to 1 watt and the entire thing can run off of a USB port so it is ideal for what we want to do. The test samples of the CC1310 with the 1 watt booster are currently is production, hopefully we can get some out for testing by the end of March.

The transmitter and receiver setups are pretty simple, they are both basically just a Stratux with a V3 UATRadio running different software. The transmitter will have a 1 watt radio while the receiver just uses the standard UATRadio. The transmitter does not need a 1090 MHz SDR but ideally will have a GPS installed.

The software for the transmitter is pretty simple, it just connects to a wifi or Ethernet network and pulls data for the surrounding area and starts broadcasting. Because we are using low power a good antenna with a clear view of the sky will be a must.

The receiver is even easier it is just a Stratux with a UATRadio and a version of the software that supports the protocol. The EFB's don't seem to care where the data is coming from and even display the tower locations correctly (I test with Foreflight and FltPlan GO.)

For more information check out http://canada.stratux.me/ there is a google group linked there which we are using for discussion.
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AirFrame
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by AirFrame »

I'm following the discussions and am looking forward to the new transmitters being available. Would like to set one up in Victoria, at YYJ... I live next to the runway so weather pulled for YYJ will be spatially correct for a tower here. Three Stratux builds so far and many 3D printed cases... :P
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Helno
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

I 3d printed and sold close to 100 of them before going to injection molding. We have had 20000 of those cases injection molded since then along with 5000 of the suction cup mounts.

Image

My printer is not in very good shape after being run hard like that.

An enclosure is something that will need to be thought about. I have my antenna mounted on the peak of my roof and the pi lives in the attic in a normal Stratux case.

Ideally we keep the distance to the antenna short and power the pi via POE.
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Scuderia
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Scuderia »

How is this coming along?

I can't access the Google Group for some reason.
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Helno
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

It is mostly on hold for now. I still have my test site running but I haven't been logging the flights for a while.
There were some issues with the 1 watt radios and the main developer does not have much time to work on them.
The google group is private so I can approve you later this evening.
If you are interested in doing some test flying it will work with the standard UATradio but at 25 mw it likely won't have much range.

The only person still actively testing is a guy in India who has government permission to operate at high power, it appears to work quite well with a properly sited tower.
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Helno
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

A bit of progress on this this weekend.

There will likely be a test site setup at the Stratford airport.

Some people there have even gotten permission to broadcast UAT on 978 MHz so when this goes live anyone with ADS-B IN should be able to pick it up at very close range.
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dusbre
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by dusbre »

Hi there,

I am in Saskatchewan and would like to host a test site. How do I get started?
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Helno
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

Sorry for the super late reply.

To host a site you would need two devices. One to transmit and one to receive.

Both use mostly the same hardware but the TX doesn't need any of the extra hardware such as the GPS, or 1090 radio. What the transmitter does need is some power to have any useful range, a cheap 900 MHz 1 watt amp does the trick.

The key component to make this work is the Stratux UATradio. It is a TI CC1310 radio that supports a variety of RX and TX protocols, for this application we are using the TI long range 915 modulation.

So for your TX you would need a raspberry pi 3b, a Stratux UATradio and a 1 watt booster and suitable 915 MHz antenna. The TXWX firmware gets loaded and you tell it your location so it can pick up the METARs and TAF's for your area.

For the RX a Standard Stratux with a UATradio works you just need to load the RXWX firmware rather than the standard Stratux image.

Since I last posted there has been some movement to generate vanilla UAT weather data on 978 MHz but to actually do that will require a broadcast license and the range a 1 watt is very limited.
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Jungle Jim
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Jungle Jim »

Helno,

It sounds interesting but your terminology is all Greek to me. I could probably arrange for one on the roof of a hanger where I am based. How much will it cost and does it need a tech savvy guy to be tweaking or fiddling with it?

Regards,

Jim
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dusbre
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by dusbre »

Helno wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:31 pm
Sorry for the super late reply.

To host a site you would need two devices. One to transmit and one to receive.

Both use mostly the same hardware but the TX doesn't need any of the extra hardware such as the GPS, or 1090 radio. What the transmitter does need is some power to have any useful range, a cheap 900 MHz 1 watt amp does the trick.

The key component to make this work is the Stratux UATradio. It is a TI CC1310 radio that supports a variety of RX and TX protocols, for this application we are using the TI long range 915 modulation.

So for your TX you would need a raspberry pi 3b, a Stratux UATradio and a 1 watt booster and suitable 915 MHz antenna. The TXWX firmware gets loaded and you tell it your location so it can pick up the METARs and TAF's for your area.

For the RX a Standard Stratux with a UATradio works you just need to load the RXWX firmware rather than the standard Stratux image.

Since I last posted there has been some movement to generate vanilla UAT weather data on 978 MHz but to actually do that will require a broadcast license and the range a 1 watt is very limited.
Do you have an itemized parts list with suppliers? As well as a setup guide? Sorry I am probably asking a lot hahahaha but it would be helpful for me to get started. Have a good day!
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Helno
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

Canada.stratux.me wrote: The image that I've made is one that you can write to an SD card just like Stratux and have everything set to go pretty quickly.

The image is based on Stratux v1.5b2 and has the "txwx" v0.1 software on top (http://github.com/stratux/txwx). When in TX mode, it will pull METARs and TAFs from ADDS based on the location of the station. A "standard Stratux" setup (http://stratux.me) with UATRadio is recommended -- since almost everything is auto-configured if both ends are equipped with a GPS. Here are the steps needed to set up a station and receiver:

Both use the same image: https://s3.amazonaws.com/stratux-privat ... 0c1373.zip

Write the image above to two microSD cards.
Build two Stratuxes with UATRadios and GPS (external/internal, doesn't matter).
If you want to test with the Chinese power amplifier, the info is on http://canada.stratux.me. If you wanted to connect the UATRadio directly to a ground station antenna then that would work fine as well. The range for 25 mW (max that the unamplified UATRadio can put out) may not be very much, but we haven't tested this and it would be interesting to know how it does.

Station (TX):
Insert microSD into a desktop/laptop. The "boot" partition will become available.
Add a blank file "clientmode".
Add a file "wpa_supplicant.conf" with your local Wi-Fi network details.
network={
ssid="YOURSSID"
psk="YOURPASSWORD"
proto=RSN
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
pairwise=CCMP
auth_alg=OPEN
}
If your setup doesn't have a GPS or you can't get a GPS lock where the unit is located, you can modify "txwx.conf" to add a fixed lat/lng.
Start the unit up until the green light is solid, then restart it once more. It should connect to your Wi-Fi network.
The unit will now begin sending beacon messages and METARs/TAFs once it obtains a station lat/lng and an internet connection.

Receiver (RX):
Insert microSD into a desktop/laptop. The "boot" partition will become available.
Modify "txwx.conf" and change "Mode":0 to "Mode":1. This enables the receiver software and disables the transmitter software.
The unit will now begin receiving messages from the transmitter and forwarding them to ForeFlight/FltPlanGo, just as Stratux does. Connect to the Wi-Fi network "stratux" and everything should be working as Stratux does when receiving an FAA ground station. The messages and receiver location are logged to:

http://192.168.10.1/logs/messages_received.log

Whenever the system is used, it would be appreciated if this logfile could be sent back to the group or privately, along with some details of the setup. It contains everything needed to see how your ground station performed in terms of reception range.
The hardware itself is very simple. For the receiver you need the normal hardware for a Stratux (must have a UATradio which became available in 2018). For the TX you just need a raspberry pi and a UATradio and then a 1 watt RF booster.

More details here. http://canada.stratux.me/
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pild04
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by pild04 »

Hi Helno,

I tried accessing the Google groups link but don't have access to it. How do I request access?
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Helno
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by Helno »

pild04 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:04 pm
Hi Helno,

I tried accessing the Google groups link but don't have access to it. How do I request access?
I would not worry about it for now. There are some other parties involved now and we are going in a different (better) direction.

It is still in the early testing stages but it appears that a licensed system operating on 978 might be possible. Not quite as DIY friendly but much more compatible.
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dusbre
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Re: Crowdsourced ADS-B like weather network

Post by dusbre »

Helno wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 10:01 am
pild04 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:04 pm
Hi Helno,

I tried accessing the Google groups link but don't have access to it. How do I request access?
I would not worry about it for now. There are some other parties involved now and we are going in a different (better) direction.

It is still in the early testing stages but it appears that a licensed system operating on 978 might be possible. Not quite as DIY friendly but much more compatible.
Let me know how I can help from Saskatchewan.
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