Adding Raspberry Pi to Flightradar24 feeders (and getting Business subscription on FR24 for free)

Your Raspberry Pi with a simple DVB-T TV tuner can easily become one of the new Flightradar24 feeders. What do you need?

  • Raspberry Pi (obviously) with Debian-based system – I have Raspbian Stretch installed
  • DVB-T tuner with one of the ADS-B supporting chipsets (about 10-15 euro) – I have a RTL2832U based tuner such as this one
  • if you want to add a better antenna, RF/MCX converter might be helpful for some tuners like mine

Connect the tuner to the USB port on the device. Raspi Model 3 has enough power to feed my tuner without any USB host.

If you have Raspbian Stretch, run the following commands:

sudo apt-get install dirmngr
sudo wget -O /etc/udev/rules.d/rtl-sdr.rules ""

Then run the command that adds FR24 repository to repository list and downloads the feeding service:

sudo bash -c "$(wget -O -"

During the installation, the prompt will ask you to provide an e-mail address (best option is to provide one that you already have or will create a Flightradar24 account with), exact coordinates (up to four decimal points) and altitude in feet of the receiver. You can use tools such as Google Maps Find Altitude to find the altitude of your spot. Just remember that you need to add feet for your elevation above ground. You can also choose whether to expose raw data on a specific port which could be helpful for either debugging purposes or adding other tools to display planes on your own hosted maps.

The service should now run and you should be able to see the information panel when you connect to the Raspberry Pi host on port 8754.

A list of currently tracked aircraft will be available in „Show tracked aircraft list” link:

When you log onto Flightradar24, you should also already have a Business account which is given for free for the feeders. Business plan is the highest subscription plan, with flights history of 2 years and basically everything that’s available on the platform. It’s yours as long as feeding works.

You can also see some stats for your receiver.

My basic setup seems to be working fine, though the range is quite small comparing to my previous attempts from a few years ago with the same tuner in a different location. I’ll try to improve the antenna setup as right now I’m using a bundled one.

For more information and troubleshooting there’s a dedicated forum on Flightradar24.

Raspbian, OpenELEC, Retropie on Raspberry Pi 3 – notes

Recently, I bought myself a new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. I had a Model B from the first iteration previously, but I managed to make USB ports unusable by, well, connecting a power supply to the audio port. It was even blinking some LEDs for some time 馃槈

My plan for the new one was as follows:

  1. Have a working Raspbian instance that I could take i.e. for a trip with a small foldable keyboard, mouse and HDMI cable and connect to a TV at a hotel
  2. Be able to use XBMC (now called Kodi) to watch media
  3. Be able to use RetroPie – the most important is SNES support (Aerobiz Supersonic!), I’d be happy too to play some Pokemon franchise games and try out PSX support. I have two no-name joypads bought for about 2 euros each at a supermarket.

My first approach was to combine it all in one Raspbian instance. I installed Raspbian on a 16GB microSD card and it booted up without any issues. WiFi connection worked when I connected an HDMI cable the sound was also working fine.

It was possible to install Kodi simply by using apt-get. I added a Youtube addon from the repositories to check out if it works fine. It did, but I was surprised by the long waiting times. When I entered a string in search section, it took about a minute to find the videos.

The playback worked fine, though.

Side note – on Raspbian there are several programming environments that aim to help young people find programming interesting. I checked the Java ones and based on that, I think it certainly won’t help them find Java programming interesting 馃槈

There’s also Minecraft!

With Retropie, the issue was bigger. I followed the official guide of installing RetroPie on Raspbian only to find out that my version of Raspbian is too new and isn’t supported yet. I tried to comment out lines that blocked installation, in this case, to find out if it could work.

After several hours of compilation and two total freezes, I woke up next morning to see that 6 of the packages, including the core one, had compilation errors. During the compilation, the RAM was fully occupied.

After consulting with colleagues that have Raspberry Pis, instead of buying a second card especially to install RetroPie, I tried out BerryBoot which is a bootloader for Raspberry Pi. I needed to wait for some time while the images were downloading and installing.

It worked out of the box, though. For Kodi, I chose OpenELEC which is a distro that wraps Kodi, has a web interface and SAMBA sharing.

RetroPie also worked fine. I was surprised that it discovered my joypads correctly (except for the fact that analog gauges seem to be working the same as left side buttons – but I suspect this is an issue with my joypad, not RetroPie) and it had all the emulators on board. Soon I was able to see this.

I tried out several of the simulators. PSX, for instance, works fine, while Nintendo 64 works like this.

Overall, it looks like Raspberry Pi is a good media/fun center for the TV. Full HD movies are playing fine, classic games are playable, and BerryBoot helps in having a working operating system on the same SD card.