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AIS and ADS-B / Mode-S Monitoring


Below is a description of my monitoring station for AIS (shipping) and ADS-B (aviation) signals.

This is slightly off-topic for this website, as readily available dedicated equipment is used in stead of converted receivers.

Recently (2014) I have replaced the two Siemens Futro thin clients I used before by a single more powerful machine.

SBS-1 cartoon


The antennas are situated about 6 m above ground level. The utmost right antenna is a Wimo GP-1090 ADS-B antenna. Airborne beacons transmit at 1090 MHz. This antenna has a gain of about 5 dB for this frequency band.

Left of the GP-1090 you can see a CX-4. This marine VHF antenna is suited for 145 - 165 MHz, which is fine for AIS, using frequencies around 162 MHz.

The utmost left antenna is a Diamond D-777 for civil VHF and military UHF aviation bands. On its right, a dual band antenna for 144 and 430 MHz. If you look closely, an inverted V antenna for HF can be seen as well.

The antennas


The PC is a secondhand HP T510 thin client. These kinds of refurbished machines usually are sold for a fair price.

The PCs contains a VIA Eden X2 U4200 dual core-processor. My device has a 16 GB SSD and 4 GB RAM. As this PC doesn't have moving parts, it's absolutely silent. The energy consumption is low: about 15 W, which is nice for a machine running 24/7.

The T510 runs Windows Embedded Standard 7, which proves to be very stable.

HP T510
HP T510


A TP-Link WN823N USB adapter connects the PC to my WLAN.

ADS-B / Mode-S

For ADS-B en Mode S airborne beacons, a Kinetic SBS-1 is used. Originally, this was the USB version; I have retrofitted it with an ethernet module. This receiver is connected to the GP1090 antenne with about 5 m Aircell-7 coax.

Through a UTP cable, the SBS-1 is connected to the T510. This PC runs the following software:

  • Basestation. Kinetic's SBS-1 software
  • PlanePlotter. If you registered PlanePlotter, you can see what other people receive by selecting the "Sharing' option, while other people can see the aeroplanes that you receive. For a small fee, or even for free provided that you are a regular uploader of raw data, you can use the unique multilateration feature. Some aircraft transmit Mode-S messages without position information. Provided that there are sufficient suitable users receiving such an aircraft, PlanePlotter can can determine the position using the arrival time of the Mode-S transmissions at each user.
  • Multi-EM. This software enables multiple applications to connect to the SBS-1, e.g. Basestation and Ethernetovich
  • Ethernetovich. This software intercepts the SBS-1's raw data. Needed if you want to act as a Master User for multilateration
  • SBSPopulate. Gets aircraft registrations if they're not yet in the SBS-1 database
  • Dimension 4. Synchronises the PC clock with an atomic clock. A prerequisite if you enable sharing in PlanePlotter.
Scherm Icarus
Dimension 4 is launched at PC startup. The shortcuts show the order in which the different applications are launched.
PlanePlotter. Aircraft with green labels have been received locally; shared aircraft have grey labels


A dual channel SR-162 AIS receiver is used. This device is connected to the CX 4 antenna by about 5 m Aircell-7 coax. An RS-232 cable connects the SR-162 to the serial port of the T510. This PC runs the following software:
  • ShipPlotter. If you registered Shipplotter, you can see what other people receive by selecting the "Sharing' option, while other people can see the ships that you receive.
  • Dimension 4. Synchronises the PC clock with an atomic clock. A prerequisite if you enable sharing in ShipPlotter.

Here you find a recent image that I received on the east side of Rotterdam.

Apart from ShipPlotter, I also share my received data with marinetraffic.com . My station's statistics can be found here

For more reliability and functionality I can recommend www.vesseltracker.com. Apart from a more detailed overview of shipping traffic, Vesseltracker offers historical data and photo's of individual vessels.

vesseltracker - AIS REALTIME DATA for Northern Ports

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