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Old 20th April 2017, 14:38   #1
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Default FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Disclaimer (Yet again!)- I do this as a hobby which just happened by chance, the information available on net might be much more than what I'll be putting up here but this is my first hand experience of FlightRadar24 as a host. I would request everyone who has more knowledge about this to please contribute. I'm in no way linked to FR24 other than as a host. Thanks.

Hi all, I've always been fascinated by the modes of transportation, just like everyone here. I must tell you that I've been a very scared flyer always, barring a few times when I had slept off. Otherwise almost always I get cold sweat. My first flight was in year 2002 and since then, every year I've been taking many flights almost every year. My earlier preferred mode of transportation used to be train but with time, to save time, flying has become my preferred mode.
Some time in year 2013, my elder brother told me about FlightRadar24 and I became its fan since then. I would hook up to its app and just see whatever I could related to them. Then I went in with the paid version of the app and was enjoying it. Once I was tracking a flight of my parents when I lost its track somewhere near Patna. I was aghast for a moment. Then after some reading, came to know that the coverage in India is patchy, hence disappearance of flights at times.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-new1.jpg
This page opens up when you access FlightRadar24. Yes, all those yellow icons are actual aircrafts flying in the sky.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-map.jpg

I contacted them via the link available on their website and they sent me a link to apply as a host for FlightRadar24 ADS-B receivers ( https://www.flightradar24.com/add-coverage ).

Quote:
Host a free FR24 receiver

Are you interested in helping us increase ADS-B and MLAT coverage in your area? Each week Flightradar24 sends out 30-50 complete ADS-B receiver sets (including receiver, antenna, and cables - no external computer needed) free of charge to suitable hosts around the world. Also, all hosts get complimentary access to Flightradar24 Business subscription.

We prioritize applications from areas where we lack coverage as well as applications from airports. However, locations where we do already have coverage can also be of interest. Redundancy and overlapping coverage results in significantly better low-altitude coverage and coverage reliability. And for MLAT to work, we need a large number of Flightradar24 ADS-B receivers relatively close to each other.
I had to send my GPS co-ordinates. The requirements as listed on their website are -

Quote:
The requirements for hosting Flightradar24’s ADS-B equipment are:
  • I am able to offer excellent reception conditions – i.e. the antenna will be placed outside on a roof, mast or similar and have 360 degree unobstructed view of the sky
  • I am able to get the antenna to its intended location and receiver online within one week from receiving the equipment
  • I am able to keep the receiver online 24/7 feeding our servers via an uninterrupted internet connection
  • If things for some reason doesn’t work out – I am OK with sending the equipment back (at Flightradar24’s expense) at our request
After filling up these details, they contacted me on my email and asked a few more details like the speed of my internet connection, the view of sky at eye-level from where the antennae will be mounted in the 4 directions and the length of cables required for the setup. I sent them these things around 22nd of January, 2017. After about 2 weeks, they informed me that my location is fit to host the ADS-B Receiver and they would be sending the required equipment.

Thereafter, the wait continued. In March 1st week, I was informed that the equipment has been sent from Germany by UPS. I got it on 17th March 2017 and it took me about an hour to install everything and go online. By evening of the same day, I was provided with my business subscription details, one of the perks for hosting it is your access to business plan.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-fr24a.jpg
Subscription costs!!

Last edited by Aditya : 25th April 2017 at 10:30. Reason: Adding explanatory map image
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Old 20th April 2017, 14:58   #2
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Default re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

This part will deal with the equipment as well as installation. I've used the images from the manual of installation as I did not click any snap of installation due to excitement!

The equipment was delivered by UPS in a carton pack.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img20170421wa0000.jpg
The courier!


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-pack.jpg
The package consisted of these items, all neatly packed.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-eq1.jpg


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-eq2.jpg
This is the Mode-S receiver which receives the signal from the Mode-S antennae and relays it to the FR24 server.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-eq3.jpg
The connections of the receiver.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-eq4.jpg
Basic idea about connections.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img_20170421_214901.jpg
This is the Mode-S antennae atop my house. This works on 1090MHz frequency.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img_20170421_214919.jpg
Close-up of Mode-S antennae.


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The basic setup regarding location.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 23rd April 2017 at 08:06. Reason: Corrected typo as requested.
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Old 20th April 2017, 15:48   #3
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Default re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

What all I can do with it?

I was asked this question by everyone in family as to what will this do and what is it's use to me? I explained them the bigger picture and also told them that its a simple hobby kind of thing for me. Now let me answer the same for everyone here.

Flight Tracking-
At any given point of time, there are more than thousands of aircrafts circling the Earth and I can virtually track any given flight that is in the coverage area of FlightRadar24. It gives me a host of details about the flight as well as its other data.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-1.jpg

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-fl1.jpg
Info about flight number, schedule, distance.

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Aircraft registration number, serial number and age.

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Speed, altitude etc.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-4.jpg
I can simultaneously track 4 aircrafts but details are not available for all of them.



Now coming to what my receiver conveys to me, I've been given a radar name and the basic details are mentioned in the first attached snap.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-fr24c.jpg
Basic details.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-fr24d.jpg
This shows my receiver's daily availability as well as any break in net connectivity.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-range.jpg
This shows the coverage range being provided by my receiver in all directions. The distance is measured in NM ( Nautical Miles, 1NM = 1.82KMs.)


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This shows that the maximum contact with aircrafts has been at a distance of 83NM.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-fr24j.jpg
This graph provides me with the details that the number of aircrafts my receiver makes contact with on a daily basis.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-fr24k.jpg
This is regarding the number of contacts made. There can be 100s of contact made with a single aircraft if it stays in my receiver's range for a longer time.



Last edited by BoneCollector : 21st April 2017 at 22:32.
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Old 20th April 2017, 18:43   #4
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Default re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Weather:-

Yes, you read it right. I get real-time weather updates if I log on to the app. It's a boon, especially if a travel is planned. In the following picture, you can see the cloud cover as well as the areas receiving rainfall. You can also get early warning for severe weather but that's better available in US and Europe.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img_20170420_175541.jpg
Mobile app screenshot.

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FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-weather1.jpg
Laptop screenshot.


FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-weather2.jpg
Laptop screenshot.



Delays:-

I can track delays at any given airport in world.

Name:  Delay.jpg
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Size:  85.3 KB

There are many other things that I can get info about,but am still on learning curve. Will upload more as and when I know.

Last edited by BoneCollector : 21st April 2017 at 22:29.
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Old 20th April 2017, 18:55   #5
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Default re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Few more snaps.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img_20170420_175431.jpg
Here, it was a matter of chance that I was able to locate an IAF aircraft, this was for the first time. The aircraft icons depend on the aircraft type which is available in paid versions only. You can see that there are different size icons.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img_20170420_175640.jpg
Ground vehicles with the ADS-B transmitters can also be tracked. I've seen them mostly at Mumbai in India.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-img_20170420_180453.jpg
The helicopters, microlights and even gliders can be tracked if equipped with transmitters. These are very common in Europe and the US. I've not seen any helicopter in India.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-screenshot_20170420180018.png
This is the US east coast.

FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host-screenshot_20170420174255.png
This is INDIA!

Last edited by BoneCollector : 21st April 2017 at 22:41.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 09:15   #6
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 22nd April 2017, 10:14   #7
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

That is one interesting hobby and a nice write up. Thanks for sharing. The specs say that the external antenna is 38 cm, but from your picture it looks much bigger. Is that the case?

Any permission needed from local authorities to install this?
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Old 22nd April 2017, 10:23   #8
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Wow! This looks interesting. Didn't know about any such service exists. Thanks for sharing!
It tracks IAF planes as well. Isn't it a threat to Nation's security? How come they are allowed to track air force's planes?
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Old 22nd April 2017, 10:58   #9
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

So I have been using the FlightRadar24 App (Paid Version) on my phone for over a year now and primarily to track the status of flights that I or my friends will be travelling on. Of course, this is only when required and not everyday. But this app rocks and gives real time and very detailed information on flight' arrival/departures, delays, even the aircraft model.

However, kudos to BoneCollector for taking this to a different level all together. I will be following this thread closely in order to learn more about this app.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 11:15   #10
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Quote:
Originally Posted by StepUP! View Post
Wow! This looks interesting. Didn't know about any such service exists. Thanks for sharing!
It tracks IAF planes as well. Isn't it a threat to Nation's security? How come they are allowed to track air force's planes?
No. It is not a threat to National Security. Let me explain. Every aircraft - whether civilian or military - has to have an ADS-B transponder. This basically tells all ATCs who the aircraft is, its call sign, its locational details. During peacetime flights, even defense aircraft flying through non-restricted flight areas would have to have their transponders on.

Now, on the receiving side, what the ADS-B receiver does is just passive reception of whatever is transmitted by the transponder. It does not in any manner transmit into free air, or manipulate the transmissions that it receives. All is does is relay it to the central server at FR24, which then plots the location on the map.

I host an ADS-B receiver too and feed into FR24.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 11:48   #11
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Quote:
Originally Posted by krishsreedharan View Post

Now, on the receiving side, what the ADS-B receiver does is just passive reception of whatever is transmitted by the transponder. It does not in any manner transmit into free air, or manipulate the transmissions that it receives. All is does is relay it to the central server at FR24, which then plots the location on the map.

I host an ADS-B receiver too and feed into FR24.
Good to know someone else also using it.
How long have you been using it? I'm a newbie considering FR24. You have very well explained it here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
That is one interesting hobby and a nice write up. Thanks for sharing. The specs say that the external antenna is 38 cm, but from your picture it looks much bigger. Is that the case?

Any permission needed from local authorities to install this?
The external antenna is indeed only 38cms long but looks bigger in snap, maybe due to the angle of snap. Since I'm not interfering with any of the frequencies being used by authorities or anything else, I doubt if it should matter. Moreover, my uploads are on to the FR24 server directly rather than in free air.

Last edited by BoneCollector : 22nd April 2017 at 11:52.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 12:41   #12
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Quote:
Originally Posted by krishsreedharan View Post
No. It is not a threat to National Security. Let me explain. Every aircraft - whether civilian or military - has to have an ADS-B transponder. This basically tells all ATCs who the aircraft is, its call sign, its locational details. During peacetime flights, even defense aircraft flying through non-restricted flight areas would have to have their transponders on.

Now, on the receiving side, what the ADS-B receiver does is just passive reception of whatever is transmitted by the transponder. It does not in any manner transmit into free air, or manipulate the transmissions that it receives. All is does is relay it to the central server at FR24, which then plots the location on the map.

I host an ADS-B receiver too and feed into FR24.
Small correction. Every aircraft does not need to have ADS-B for the ATC to identify the aircraft. They just have to have a transponder with mode C or S. Some areas around the world mandates ADS but in India it is not a requirement. The smaller aircraft the you see on FR24 are usually shown by using Mulilateration. For example, ATR does not have ADS-B.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 13:31   #13
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVD View Post
Small correction. Every aircraft does not need to have ADS-B for the ATC to identify the aircraft. They just have to have a transponder with mode C or S. Some areas around the world mandates ADS but in India it is not a requirement. The smaller aircraft the you see on FR24 are usually shown by using Mulilateration. For example, ATR does not have ADS-B.
I stand corrected on this one. But if I am not wrong, it has become mandatory for all new commercial aircraft to have one -- don't recall where, but I did read about this change recently.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 13:32   #14
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneCollector View Post
What all I can do with it?
Nice initiative, Bone collector. Good to see people solving problems themselves rather than cribbing about it.

Just a small question, I am thinking of getting one installed at our place in Bangalore. So is there some minimum height requirement or anything?
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Old 22nd April 2017, 14:05   #15
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Default Re: FlightRadar24 - Live Flight Tracker. My experience as a host

Interesting, I saw your picture of the Antenna above, but could not see any lightning arrestor higher than the antenna,

Obviously you do not want to get fried one of these days, do plan for one
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