Archerfield (YBAF) Upgrades – LiveATC and ADSB

Recently I noticed that the LiveATC feeds for Archerfield has all been marked as offline for so longer that they had been removed from the LiveATC site. I really enjoyed listening to them in my spare time, or when prepping the plane, and it was an incredibly valuable service when learning to fly to be able to listen to the local airfield and understand how operations normally happen there. So I thought Id attempt to go through the process of establishing a replacement.

First things First, I needed to find a place that was on or near the field, that had power and a reliable internet connection. Sadly the Brisbane Flying Group hanger doesn’t have power or internet, nor did the RQAC building – Fortunately the team at Pathfinder Aviation, who I trained at for pretty much all of my pilots license responded to a local facebook discussion and said I was welcome to use their building. I couldn’t have asked for a better location – they have a high observation tower on top of their hanger, and were happy with the plan to run an antenna from it into the hanger. One of the things I really enjoyed when training at Pathfinder was their social atmosphere and support – I remember a comment from one of the owners during my training that its the connections they made during training etc that often helped get things done and here we are proving the point!

At last minute I also decided that if I was going to mount an antenna on a building, I might as well set it up for ADSB as well, so we could get all the planes low level and taxing on the field. I had a few email exchanges with the LiveATC team who provided some guidance as well on parts, but most of it has been trial and error in seeing what works.

Location sorted, time to order parts – Ive split into two lists just incase anyone wants to do either ADSB or LiveATC

LiveATC Build:

Note. 1 SDR can capture multiple frequencies as long as they are within 2.4mhz of each other – So 118.1 and 119.9 could be captured by 1 radio, but to also get 123.6 I needed another one.

ADSB Build:

Note. it was cheaper to order the FlightAware parts in from the UK then to get it in AU directly.

Misc Parts:

Building the box

Physical Installation

Software Installation

Both LiveATC and FlightAware offer prebuilt images for the software, but I wanted to roll my own, so I could add some things like openvpn, some mail config, and tweak it to my likings.

Both Pi’s run on Rasbian – I used their Raspberry Pi OS Lite version as I dont want a gui, and just wanted it to be as lean as possible. The Raspberry Pi Imager was the best way to build some images up, that had my user pre-established, ssh enabled, a basic hostname set, and wifi credentials pre-loaded so I didn’t need to setup a monitor/keyboard into the Pi.

For liveatc the config was:

sudo su - root
adduser liveatc <fill out the info>
apt install libconfig++-dev unzip
apt install build-essential libmp3lame-dev libshout3-dev libraspberrypi-dev librtlsdr-dev cmake
su - liveatc
cd RTLSDR-Airband
mkdir build
cd build
Raspberry Pi 4 and later:
cmake ../
If using Raspberry Pi 2, 3B, or 3B+:
cmake ../ -DPLATFORM=rpiv2
make -j4
cp src/rtl_airband /home/liveatc/RTLSDR-Airband/

Contact liveatc and get a configuration file for your setup

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