If you have been using RTL-2832U sticks for SDR applications, you probably are very familiar with SDR Sharp. Youssef has published a new simplified ADS-B decoder which is now part of the SDR-Sharp software download. The ADS-B Sharp project has been around since early December, but is now become a bit more mature. We have discussed the Windows based RTL0190 decoder a bit on Ham Radio Science, so it would be natural to compare the two decoders. However, both decoders are still under development, so anything we say here is most likely subject to change. With that being said, ADS-B seems to have a slight advantage in frame rates. With about 8 aircraft in review ADS-B Sharp reported a frame rate of around 25, while RTL1090 showed about 9. This allowed ADS-B Sharp to “see” a couple of more aircraft than RTL1090 was able to in the same time frame. Like RTL1090, SDR-ADS-B outputs it’s data in AVR format which makes it ┬ácompatible with Plane Plotter and Virtual Radar Server. ADS-B Sharp is also very simple to set up. If you are installing a RTL2832U stick for the first time, you will need to install the Zadig drivers. The simply download ADS-B Sharp and start the program. You will then need to tell PlanePlotter or Virtual Radar Server to use a Beast device with the IP port of 47806. Thats it. Rtl1090 is also pretty easy to install, but it does take a couple of more steps to get it going. RTL1090 certainly wins in the user interface department with ADS-B Sharp having a plainer simpler design. However, ADS-B Sharp seems to use a few less CPU cycles, which may make it a better decoder for using with computers with slower processors. Both RTL1090 and ADS-B Sharp do a great job of decoding ADS-B packets using RTL2832U DVB-T sticks. However, you might want to give ADS-B Sharp a try and see how it works for you. It may do a better job for those in areas with lots of ADS-B traffic.


6 thoughts on “ADS-B Sharp ADS-B Decoder for Windows”
  1. Hi,

    I am the author of RTL1090 and RTL1030. I appreciate your (HRS) efforts to let people know the advantages of new technologies and toys, great work, very informative and motivating.

    I am not about to compete with ADSB# as I know Youssuf is a great engineer, we all like his work for us and it is certainly hard to beat his concepts.

    But here are a few points I wanted to mention:

    First: have you tested the last build of RTL1090? This has an improved detection rate

    Second: the two apps have very different concepts. ADSB# tries to pull everything out of the noise that looks like a packet and then hands it over to Planeplotter or VRS or so to check for the packet validity. RTL1090 has a built in low level decoder and verifier that checks every packet against a trust table before it is handed over. Both concepts have their up and downsides, depending on your setup, location, traffic density, computer performance and what have you.

    Third: the frame rates indicated on the GUI are conceptually different. ADSB# shows every packet, RTL1090 shows valid packets only, this should correspond with the frame rate indicator in Planeplotter

    Fourth: to compare side by side for a short time is not enough. It needs same antenna, splitter and long term recording setup to get certainty about performance. I have a splitter setup with two sticks in parallel that behave totally different. The reason is the too low 2 MS/s sampling rate and slightly different sampling frequency of the sticks, so they are never in phase and show greatly different results all the time with any software. That is why RTL1090 has a built-in chained UDP concentrator for several dongles.

    Fifth: the pipeline concept is prepared to do MLAT at some point which requires some synchronous timer counts with the packet. This needs more CPU power and different buffer concepts. Also I want to have a brief flight table and a direct port 30003 output to interface to FR24 uploads (for myself ;-). This also needs a much more complex architecture.


    1. Thanks Andy, for replying to this article. Your comments are much appreciated. As I mentioned in the article, I felt that both programs were excellent and that they both brought something to the table for allowing cheap RTL2832U sticks to be used as pretty decent ADS-B receivers. With that being said, I am looking forward to future development from both of these programs. Thanks again!

    2. Hi Andy et al,

      Thank you for your comments. Most of them were accurate until recently. As you know, I’m still considered new to the ADSB business (a few weeks,) and the application has greatly changed since the last time you tested it. I use almost the same ranking principles in ADSB# and it yields a very good data quality.
      For combining multiple sources, I adopted a rather different approach. In fact, I wrote a stateful hub that combines many ADSB# sources and gives an error-free output for plotting software.
      I’m running one instance in my server for demo purposes at the same port. Just point your plotting software to sdrsharp.com:47806 to get an idea of what’s happening.
      This is the state of things as of today and it may change in the future with new ideas.
      PS: You did an excellent job in RTL1090 ­čśë


  2. Hi Youssef and Andy

    I have just started getting into this application and love both your applications

    We are working on a community site in the Philippines and we want to also display AIS information as well.

    I am not technical enough to develop a product like adsb# or rtl1090 for ais (ais#??) and my skills are in Visual Basic anyway, unfortunately.

    Would the same software be capable of receiving data from dongles on the two ais frequencies (Yep, know two dongles would be required)? I envisage a cheap pc with three dongles in it, three aerials as our unit.

    Additionally, we want to put a large number of these out around the Philippines and we would like to run the decoders as a service, so no user intervention would be required, I would be interested in you comments on that thought.

  3. Hmmm, just getting into this field, and trying to learn as much as I can. Informative article, yet, both links to ‘ads-b decoder for windows’ and ‘RTL1090’ are broken!

    I guess in three years since that could happen.

    Anywho, thanks.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. The Windows ADSB decoder can be downloaded as part of the SDR-Sharp download. Apparently there are just some issues with the Jetvision site right now.

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