Raspberry Pi and Software-Defined Radio Shows Which Plane Woke Your Cat

According to Simon Aubury’s write-up, “Cats behave erratically, but generally display their displeasure by jumping on your face.” His cat…

Jeremy S. Cook
a year ago

According to Simon Aubury’s write-up, “Cats behave erratically, but generally display their displeasure by jumping on your face.” His cat, in particular, is often woken up by planes flying above his house, meaning an early morning for passengers may also mean an early and cat-in-the-face start to his day as well.

While this may not solve the problem, Aubury decided to create a system that can track planes based on their ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast). His device receives incoming signals using an RTL2832U USB dongle originally meant to allow broadcast TV viewing, set up to act as a software-defined radio. This data is then accessed via a piece of software called Dump1090 running on a Raspberry Pi.

Plane data is separated into location and callsign using Apache Kafka, and a database is used to match up the callsign to the plane type. More database work with KSQL produces the plane’s origin and destination. Finally, all of this information is pushed into a Kibana dashboard, enabling Aubury to blame the correct airline and even the type of plane when he has a face full of hair and claws in the early morning!

Code is available here if you’d like to build something similar yourself.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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