Monday, January 25, 2016

Lake Ontario and ADS-B "in" with Raspberry Pi

Finally, an opportunity to try out my $100 ADS-B set-up in the air.

I'm using a Raspberry Pi and USB radio receiver to WiFi data to ForeFlight on my iPad. Though I have been able to see traffic while on the ground, weather can only be picked up once in the air.

I'm not sure how high I was when the signal was first received but leaving the pattern at 800' my screen indicated "1 tower". Even though most of the flight was below 3,000 there was always a signal from between 1 and 3 towers.

Originally, the plan was to fly north along the shore of Lake Ontario to the mouth of the St. Lawrence near Cape Vincent and photograph lighthouses and ice. But, skies remained overcast and hazy with the forecasted clearing today not arriving until after I had landed and put the plane away.

In spite of the clouds and haze, flying up to Ontario was worth it. Along the way I played a bit with the weather and traffic displayed on my tablet, and on Lake Ontario there were some interesting patterns in the ice.

My first look at traffic as I headed to the western corner of Oneida Lake. Here two aircraft are displayed to the east of Syracuse Hancock. One 200 feet above my altitude and another 2,100 feet above.

Zooming out a little later in the flight shows aircraft over Rochester and Utica. Touching an aircrafts' icon opens up a box with more information. Though most of the time I had airports displaying ceiling information, here airport temperatures are being displayed.

For now my unit is only receiving from aircraft transmitting on 978 MHz. Later this week I'll complete the picture and add a second receiver that will bring in 1090 MHz on which most airliners broadcast their information.

Oneida Lake with ice as far as I could see into the haze

A meandering creek near Port Ontario

Port Ontario and dark tannin water flowing into Ontario

Nine Mile Point power station

Ice drawn away from the shoreline by the south winds.

I couldn't get over the size of this repeating pattern made by eddies as ice carried by winds and current moved out into the lake from west of Oswego


On the way back I found that tapping on an airport brings up its complete weather information

Onondaga Lake ( for my fellow Yacht Club members )

Marcellus airport and the town beyond.

Mike Murphy (who also belongs to OYC) departing in his Piper Tri-Pacer

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