C-2 Grehound landing

AIRPLANES.LIVE Hardware Guide and Recommendations

Raspberry Pi

Using a Pi has many advantages such as lower cost, low power demand, simplicity, and supportability reasons. Our software runs on Debian/Ubunu out of the box, laptops, VM, and old PCs can be used. The latest Pi version is the 4B model, and typically costs less than an older Pi 3B+. For best performance, a Pi 4B is recommended, but the 3B and Pi Zero 2W will work. Amount of RAM doesn’t make any difference at this time. Usage for a dual-frequency ADS-B install is under 1GB, and often under 0.5GB.

PiShop PiHut Pi Locator


SD Card size should be 8gb minimum. For best longevity, use a high quality industrial SD card.



If you are using your own SD card, simply download our software.

SD Card size should be 8GB minimum.

Install Instructions

Direct Download

Power Supply Choices

Power supply issues are common when using a Pi based receiver and SDR. The Pi 4B requires 5.1V 3.5A power supply. The Pi 3B+ requires a stable 5.1V 2.5A power supply. Clean power is important in maintaining a stable decode and preventing intermittent "issues” due to fluctuating voltage. Airplanes.live absolutely recommends the official Raspberry Pi power supplies.

Official Pi 4 Power Supply

Buy Pi 4B USB-C supply on Amazon


CanaKit Power Supplies

Buy Pi 3B, Zero 2W, Pi 2 power supply on Amazon


Buy Pi 4B USB-C supply on Amazon


It is extremely important to provided stable power for the Pi SDR combo. Many of the issues that users report are due to poor power supplies creating under-volt or under-current anomalies.

SDR Availability

After the Pi and power supply, ADS-B reception requires an SDR (software defined radio) USB stick, SD card, and an antenna.

Both 1090 outdoor / 978 outdoor antennas / mounts are available on Amazon, eBay, and local retailers around the world.

Optional – if you wish to add the 2nd USA-only frequency, 978 UAT, please purchase a second SDR.

SDR options @ Amazon (US)

RTL-SDR Blog V3 SDR (bias tee)


Nooelec Smart SDR (no bias tee)


Nooelec Smartee SDR (bias tee)


Cable Choices

Using quality cable is very important for optimizing range and decoding of ADS-B signals. Short runs of 3-5 feet / 1-2 meters can use RG-58 or other high loss cable. Runs of 10 feet / 3 meters or more require low loss equivalent cable designed for gigahertz level frequencies (i.e. LMR195 or better).

SMA to N-Type Male cable is typically required if using an outdoor 1090 Mhz antenna like this.

Do not underestimate the signal loss due to poor cable and connections.


Signal Filter

The purpose of a signal filter is to remove neighboring frequencies to allow the software to accurately demodulate ADS-B signals. Any filter will slightly reduce signal strength, if you are nearby a cellular tower or other RF-dense environment then a signal filter may improve reception. There are many options.

Nooelec SAWbird+ ADS-B


Antenna Choices

ADS-B is broadcast globally on 1090 Mhz (1.09Ghz), many antennas are effective and inexpensive to build. Commercially produced options range from $5 USD to $200 USD.

Buy N-Type


Buy Combo w/ coax

DPD Productions has numerous antennas designed specifically for Air/Aviation communications use, shown below. There are models available for the 118-136 MHz voice air band, in both base and mobile versions. These can be utilized by an FBO, or in any type of base ops setup. They can also work as a dedicated receive antenna on Pilot Controlled Lighting (PCL) systems. Another potential use is Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) VHF broadcast transmitting. We also have models for both the 1090 MHz and 978 MHz ADS-B services. The majority of our products can be used with any Uniden, RadioShack, Whistler, or other brand of radio scanner, and also most commercial and ham radios.


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