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So I made some upgrades to the weather station mast this weekend since I installed it in January 2020 (this old post). I love using this hydraulic boom lift. I don't love paying for the rental, but it sure beats a ladder. BTW, I highly recommend against being up in that lift when a front blows through and wind jumps from a breeze to 45mph. 10/10 would not repeat :eek:
  • Replaced the 3/4" pipe with a 1" pipe so it doesn't shake so much in the wind. It is so much more stable now. Needed the stability for the other new stuff too.
  • Moved the weather camera up a little higher than it was
  • Added a cross bar for more stuff!
  • Added an outdoor WiFi access point (unifi AC-M-US)
  • Added a dual band ADS-B antenna for aircraft transponder tracking
  • Added an outdoor nema enclosure for all the added nerd gear
    • Raspberry Pi 3B+ linux computer for the ADS-B tracking software, with poe hat for power
    • 2 USB SDR receivers for 1090 and 978mhz ADS-B
    • Unifi USW-Flex poe powered poe switch provides connectivity to the raspberry pi, wifi access point, weather camera, and another camera down on the patio.
    • Little fan that blows air on the SDRs, powered from the pi USB.
All the aircraft my system is picking up feeding into ADS-B Exchange: Matt's ADS-B Exchange feeder
Everything being fed from hundreds of nerds like me globally feeding this data into ADS-B Exchange: ADS-B Exchange Global Radar

Weather Station data on Weather Underground (KMDMYERS32)

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781428
 

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I know nothing about weather stations, but that looks like the John Deere of weather stations. Very nice place you have.
 

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So I made some upgrades to the weather station mast this weekend since I installed it in January 2020 (this old post). I love using this hydraulic boom lift. I don't love paying for the rental, but it sure beats a ladder. BTW, I highly recommend against being up in that lift when a front blows through and wind jumps from a breeze to 45mph. 10/10 would not repeat :eek:
  • Replaced the 3/4" pipe with a 1" pipe so it doesn't shake so much in the wind. It is so much more stable now. Needed the stability for the other new stuff too.
  • Moved the weather camera up a little higher than it was
  • Added a cross bar for more stuff!
  • Added an outdoor WiFi access point (unifi AC-M-US)
  • Added a dual band ADS-B antenna for aircraft transponder tracking
  • Added an outdoor nema enclosure for all the added nerd gear
    • Raspberry Pi 3B+ linux computer for the ADS-B tracking software, with poe hat for power
    • 2 USB SDR receivers for 1090 and 978mhz ADS-B
    • Unifi USW-Flex poe powered poe switch provides connectivity to the raspberry pi, wifi access point, weather camera, and another camera down on the patio.
    • Little fan that blows air on the SDRs, powered from the pi USB.
All the aircraft my system is picking up feeding into ADS-B Exchange: Matt's ADS-B Exchange feeder
Everything being fed from hundreds of nerds like me globally feeding this data into ADS-B Exchange: ADS-B Exchange Global Radar

Weather Station data on Weather Underground (KMDMYERS32)

View attachment 781424

View attachment 781425

View attachment 781426

View attachment 781427

View attachment 781428
Greek to me why you wish to track aircraft from your home weahter atation. Can you give us more backround on your system?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Greek to me why you wish to track aircraft from your home weather station. Can you give us more background on your system?
The two are unrelated. It was just a weather station. It now does more nerdy things just because I like doing more nerdy things. And I like planes.
 

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Pedals2Paddles
You get in a bucket truck and up 55-65 ft in the air maybe higher and if you climb it. I myself been up to 125ft pole by hooks. Everything is swaying and you might have live wires to reconnect, its fun馃槉
 

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Very clean install! Great attention to detail, those ADS-B kits are pretty cool -Also a unifi, weather station and airplane geek here. (Haven't done the ADS-B receiver though. )
 

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Greek to me why you wish to track aircraft from your home weahter atation. Can you give us more backround on your system?
I didn't know it was possible for regular folks to track aircraft, but boy am I excited to find out more!

I don't get a lot of noticeable air traffic (rural Illinois), but the noticeable stuff has me ready to find someone to file official complaints with.
Maybe this sort of thing would let me track specific aerial units and follow up with someone somewhere.
 

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I didn't know it was possible for regular folks to track aircraft, but boy am I excited to find out more!

I don't get a lot of noticeable air traffic (rural Illinois), but the noticeable stuff has me ready to find someone to file official complaints with.
Maybe this sort of thing would let me track specific aerial units and follow up with someone somewhere.
Try looking on FlightAware for your location. They get their ADS-B feed from the FAA, I believe, so it鈥檚 pretty comprehensive. Not all planes have ADS-B Out, but at this point most do.

As for filing complaints, unless you have someone flying below 500鈥 above ground, what they鈥檙e doing may well be perfectly legal.
 

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I didn't know it was possible for regular folks to track aircraft, but boy am I excited to find out more!

I don't get a lot of noticeable air traffic (rural Illinois), but the noticeable stuff has me ready to find someone to file official complaints with.
Maybe this sort of thing would let me track specific aerial units and follow up with someone somewhere.
I understand what you mean. The air force used to maybe a couple of times a year fly small jets like those in top gun or similiar by my place following the blm road at tree top level aT VERY HIGH SPEED. mORE THAN ONCE I HAVE HEARD THE SONIC BOOM WHEN THEY HAVE GONE SUPERSONIC. Sorry for cap lock.. They would cause damage scaring livestock etc. so i had a retired af colonel friend look into it for me and he found out what they were doing and i thanked him. Since then there have been no more supersonic tree top flights by my place in three years.
 

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The two are unrelated. It was just a weather station. It now does more nerdy things just because I like doing more nerdy things. And I like planes.
thanks for the update.(y)
 

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Back before I flew for the airlines (much more regulated on what we do in the cockpit), I flew business jets. I made my own ADSB receiver with a raspberry PI unit. Worked awesome. It used your ground based stuff to give me info. Nice setup.


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Try looking on FlightAware for your location. They get their ADS-B feed from the FAA, I believe, so it鈥檚 pretty comprehensive. Not all planes have ADS-B Out, but at this point most do.

As for filing complaints, unless you have someone flying below 500鈥 above ground, what they鈥檙e doing may well be perfectly legal.
The main one that got me last year was one of those aerial photography companies that sends an uninvited salesman who tries to sell you a grainy picture in an ugly frame for $300. Geniuses took a picture that was a 10th the quality of the 1946 black and white one of Grandpa's place.

I'm not a great judge of distance going straight up, but he was LOW. Come to think of it....Yeah...I just cross referenced and determined (somewhat unscientifically) he was below 500 feet.
I looked up several of the "named" redwoods we saw on a 2014 trip to Northern CA and they're in the 250-400 foot high range. I couldn't see the top of the tree looking straight up the trunk so figure that's higher than this guy was.

The other ones that bug me are ultralights (or at least I call them ultralights...not sure of technical definitions) that go directly over. It was worse last year since they didn't have anything else to do with rampant shut-downs.
I suppose ultralights have different rules and probably don't have tracking equipment in them so maybe there's nothing I can do.

I'm only on 4 acres...it's not like I've got an entire section (ie a square mile) and they're cutting across on the opposite corner from where the home site is.

I guess I shouldn't complain since I don't have it as bad as BFloyd did. :oops:
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
500ft is not necessarily the law. That depends on airspace and you're probably not in airspace that has such a minimum.

Nonetheless, your altitude estimate is virtually certain to be wrong. I know this because basically everyone underestimates the altitude of aircraft, especially when they're annoyed. "He was at like 500!" and turns out it was more like 1500.

It is also extremely unlikely anyone is flying aerial photography at 500 or less feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Pedals2Paddles
You get in a bucket truck and up 55-65 ft in the air maybe higher and if you climb it. I myself been up to 125ft pole by hooks. Everything is swaying and you might have live wires to reconnect, its fun馃槉
Nope nope nope. No thanks. All you. I've seen those guys working in some absurd conditions when I was in the fire dept. Nope.

The turntable on the towable unit has some play in the gears. So with the boom extended out, it has some "not insignificant" side to side bounce/sway as you move around or the wind blows. The first time I used it two years ago, I was sitting down in the bucket terrified with it right up against the wall of the house to stop it from moving. I'm quite used to that now and I don't even notice it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very clean install! Great attention to detail, those ADS-B kits are pretty cool -Also a unifi, weather station and airplane geek here. (Haven't done the ADS-B receiver though. )
pfSense firewall, netgear something I forget managed 24 port POE switch, Unifi AC-Lite inside and the AC-M-US outside, along with the USW-Flex switch outside. I wanted to use a unifi POE switch inside too, but their current 24 port POE switch is defunct junk and I didn't want to pay for the 48 port. I love Unfi gear and basically everything but their 24 port switch is fantastic. Their USG and UDM routers can't do the firewall and VPN stuff I need, so I use the pfSense firewall for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I didn't know it was possible for regular folks to track aircraft, but boy am I excited to find out more!
ADS-B is the "next generation" transponder (to oversimplify). This is very general and simplified way of explaining radar an ADS-B:

The old way (still in use) uses radar to measure position and distance, and the aircraft transponder pings back at the radar with an identification code and altitude. So the air traffic controller's radar screen shows the radar blip's position and distance, enhanced by the transponder giving it the altitude, identification, and knowing now that it is a plane and not a goose or space alien. Radar is a rotating antenna obviously. Approach control radar gives a full sweep every six seconds. Center radar about every 12 seconds. So aircraft position updates come in at best every 6-12 seconds. The accuracy of that position varies with conditions but could anywhere from a few meters to a few hundred meters. A radar blip without a transponder reply would be dimmer, have no altitude, and you wouldn't know if it is a plane or some other thing in the sky.

For the last 10 years (seriously), the FAA has been phasing in their next generation ATC system which utilizes ADS-B (automated dependent surveillance broadcast). Where the old school transponders just replied to the radar with an ID code and altitude, and ADS-B equipped aircraft broadcasts its transponder code, unique ID, ATC call sign, GPS position, altitude, speed, heading, vertical rate, and other misc bits of data. This data is broadcast every half second (some less critical data is less often, but position is half second). The data is received by ATC radar just like transponder replies. But is also received by fixed tower locations throughout the globe so doesn't actually rely on radar to get that data to air traffic control. The position data from ADS-B is way more accurate and faster than radar derived positions. This allows ATC to run a tighter and more efficient traffic flow. And the whole thing doesn't grind to a halt when a radar breaks down.

Since ADS-B data is broadcast from the aircraft, unencrypted, nothing secret or protected, it can also be received by nerds like me. And then it can also be aggregated from other nerds on the internet and shared on sites like ADS-B Exchange, which is what I'm doing. All of that information is now freely available to anyone who wants to nerd out on it.

The ADS-B Exchange website and their software running at my house is an open source project. Nobody is profiting off it, selling data, or commercializing any aspect of it. Nothing is filtered or manipulated. What goes in is what goes out. Nobody can pay them to filter out their planes. Nobody can pay for more or less. And none of it is reliant on the FAA to provide the data since it is broadcast directly from the aircraft and received directly at my house.

There numerous other websites you may have seen that provide flight tracking data as well. Flight Aware and FlighRadar24 are two of the popular ones. These are commercialized services and operate very differently. First, they purchase live radar data from the FAA and have that live connection 24/7. But the FAA filters that data before it is sent. You can pay the FAA to hide your aircraft from that commercial data stream. So many corporations and celebrities pay the FAA for that level of privacy. Military aircraft are also filtered out. So Flight Aware and FR24 also use ADS-B data as I described, with people on the internet feeding them data. This would get around the filtered data from the FAA. But Flight Aware an FR24 also allow corporations to pay them lots of money to filter out their planes. FA and FR24 commercialize their data too. They aggregate airport and commercial flight information and sell that data to customers. This includes ADS-B data people feed them over the internet. So they make money selling and filtering date you'd give them for free. They also have a habit using misinformation and to encourage people to give them free data and not give it to anyone else. Their fanboys troll pretty hard too. It's kind of sad. Needless to say, I do not send my data to Flight Aware or FR24.
 

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The other ones that bug me are ultralights (or at least I call them ultralights...not sure of technical definitions) that go directly over. It was worse last year since they didn't have anything else to do with rampant shut-downs.
I suppose ultralights have different rules and probably don't have tracking equipment in them so maybe there's nothing I can do.
The regs are a bit complicated and arbitrarily defined, but basically they look something like:

"Congested" areas: 1000' AGL
Sparsely-populated areas or open water: Anything goes
Everything else: 500' AGL

The precise definitions of "sparsely populated" and "congested" are largely up to the whim of the individual FAA inspector and the legal department. True Part 103 ultralights are not allowed over congested areas period, and will not have ADS-B. Some ultralight-looking planes are registered as Light Sport, which allows operation over congested areas and in controlled airspace, and some of these will have ADS-B.

If you download the FlightAware app (you can use it for free) you can pop it open anytime you see a low-flying plane to see if they are equipped. If so it will show you the tail number, altitude, airspeed, and sometimes the route of flight. It's also possible to use the tail number (always starts with an "N" for US-registered) to find the owner and see some past flights. If you have frequent low-flying planes one possibility is a flight school practicing engine-outs or that sort of thing in your area. If that's the case, paying them a visit and asking them if they could kindly avoid dive bombing your house might be enough. The flight club I belong to has a map with a couple "avoid this area" pins for this reason.

With that said I agree with pedals2paddles that people tend to vastly underestimate altitudes. 500' AGL is nothing, even in something made for low-and-slow flight.
 

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The regs are a bit complicated and arbitrarily defined, but basically they look something like:

"Congested" areas: 1000' AGL
Sparsely-populated areas or open water: Anything goes
Everything else: 500' AGL

The precise definitions of "sparsely populated" and "congested" are largely up to the whim of the individual FAA inspector and the legal department. True Part 103 ultralights are not allowed over congested areas period, and will not have ADS-B. Some ultralight-looking planes are registered as Light Sport, which allows operation over congested areas and in controlled airspace, and some of these will have ADS-B.

If you download the FlightAware app (you can use it for free) you can pop it open anytime you see a low-flying plane to see if they are equipped. If so it will show you the tail number, altitude, airspeed, and sometimes the route of flight. It's also possible to use the tail number (always starts with an "N" for US-registered) to find the owner and see some past flights. If you have frequent low-flying planes one possibility is a flight school practicing engine-outs or that sort of thing in your area. If that's the case, paying them a visit and asking them if they could kindly avoid dive bombing your house might be enough. The flight club I belong to has a map with a couple "avoid this area" pins for this reason.

With that said I agree with pedals2paddles that people tend to vastly underestimate altitudes. 500' AGL is nothing, even in something made for low-and-slow flight.
Since we're on the topic of ADS-B and low altitude operations - What flight club and where are you based, if you don't mind.
 
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