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  1. #1
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Building an OGN-Rebroadcast station to improve PilotAware coverage

    I've just finished building an OGN-Rebroadcast station to contribute towards the OGN (Open Glider Network) and to improve warnings for PilotAware users. This will also help HG/PG pilots get situational awareness via the OGN in order to see FLARM equipped aircraft. It will also allow local PilotAware users to see FLARM equipped gliders, and get directional bearings on Mode-S transponders.

    As we all know, Electronic Conspicuity (EC) is a bit of a mixed bag, with technologies that are not compatible.

    As a hang glider/paraglider pilot, I'm now flying with instruments that have FLARM (tx only) and FANET, a sort of PilotAware type protocol but for hang gliders & paragliders.

    Thing is, none of these technologies see each other, but with things like OGN we get to bridge the gaps. The OGN down-links FLARM and puts it out on the Internet, where I can receive it on a hang gliding/paragliding instrument. Excellent. A PilotAware enhanced OGN-R station takes FLARM, and rebroadcasts it on the PilotAware frequency. It also down-links transponders in Mode-S, so that via multilateration they can become targets with a bearing, whereas before they were just bearingless targets in your area.

    Building an OGN-R ground station is easy, and you'll get help from PilotAware with bits at cost if they have to buy them in, or free if not. They will also link to the cheapest source of parts if they can't match it.

    The computer you will be building it around is the Raspberry Pi 2B. The whole operating system is a simple download, copy to a micro SD card then boot in the Pi. Set up is minimal and there are detailed instructions. Postie delivered the last of the stuff I needed today, cables and the Pi just before 1400, so I drove to the strip, connected up the aerials and by 1800 there was another PilotAware ground station on the map.

    The benefits for our sport are obvious, and whilst the LAA were big backers of PilotAware, the BMAA seemed to ignore it, not sure why, a missed opportunity to promote affordable EC that actually showed you something, rather than a 1k+ device where you relied on someone else to spot potential collisions for you.

    I've attached a picture of the Pi unzipping the PilotAware system.

    IMG_20191012_161834_0.jpg
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Randombloke For This Useful Post:

    Arielarts (14-10-19), Gentreau (12-10-19), jpmasso (13-10-19), Peter Twissell (15-10-19), thearb (14-10-19)


  3. #2
    Co-Pilot Arielarts's Avatar
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    Do you have any idea of the current draw Steve? Looking at the coverage map (https://pilotaware.com/ogn/) my home near Nottingham already has good coverage, but the airfield is not exactly in a blind spot, but is in an area that could benefit from 'filling in'. Problem is that we do not have mains power but rely on a 250W solar panel to provide 12v storage to run airfield CCTV and a Wifi hub connected to Three. In the winter, we might not have sufficient capacity. (I suppose we could shut down in the darkest months.)
    Also, do you have any idea of the internet data overhead, per month? The CCTV uses around 2GB/month, but we do have some spare data available.
    Attached Files Attached Files


  4. #3
    Co-Pilot thearb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randombloke View Post
    The benefits for our sport are obvious, and whilst the LAA were big backers of PilotAware, the BMAA seemed to ignore it, not sure why, a missed opportunity to promote affordable EC that actually showed you something, rather than a 1k+ device where you relied on someone else to spot potential collisions for you.

    I've attached a picture of the Pi unzipping the PilotAware system.

    IMG_20191012_161834_0.jpg
    and that really sums up the difference in how the LAA and BMAA are run. The BMAA were given an opportunity to back pilotaware in the very early days, long before the LAA had even heard of it. They were aware of it at the highest level. They turned their back on it and chose to back Project EVA. Anyone remember that? Sunk without trace. The LAA-BMAA merger will be the the best thing that ever happens. For the BMAA.
    Skyranger G-PAWZ


  5. #4
    Trainee Pilot Asgard's Avatar
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    I doubt it will happen thearb, even if we do get the pretence of a vote, the old boys club always knows better. (what does that remind you of?.)

    Well done on the OGN setup steve, I considered it but I live in a steep valley so setting up at home would be pretty pointless and the airfield I fly from has a tech - averse owner.
    I wonder if I could set one up covertly?


  6. #5
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    Do you have any idea of the current draw Steve? Looking at the coverage map (https://pilotaware.com/ogn/) my home near Nottingham already has good coverage, but the airfield is not exactly in a blind spot, but is in an area that could benefit from 'filling in'. Problem is that we do not have mains power but rely on a 250W solar panel to provide 12v storage to run airfield CCTV and a Wifi hub connected to Three.
    PilotAware recommended a proper 2.1A 5V power source, in the form of an official Paspberry Pi PSU. It's going to be worth budgeting on 15W?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    In the winter, we might not have sufficient capacity. (I suppose we could shut down in the darkest months.)
    PilotAware needs a 0100 to 0400 shutdown, on boot up it looks for software updates to auto update itself. To keep costs down, a basic mechanical on/off switch is used in the install, with off set to 0100 - 0400. This switch on/off can be checked in the status of the station on https://www.gliderradar.com/

    It looks like this:

    PAW-status.jpg

    You can see the implemented shutdown 0100 - 0400. Yours could be a lot longer. 2200 - 0530 is a possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    Also, do you have any idea of the internet data overhead, per month? The CCTV uses around 2GB/month, but we do have some spare data available.
    I'm guessing it's tiny, but I'm not living at the strip, so I need to work out an audit plan. My experience with live trackers is that amounts of data are relatively tiny, and if you're streaming video, then there's no comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asgard View Post
    Well done on the OGN setup steve, I considered it but I live in a steep valley so setting up at home would be pretty pointless and the airfield I fly from has a tech - averse owner.
    I wonder if I could set one up covertly?
    But when it pops up on gliderradar, and glidertracker, he will be congratulated by the gliding community for putting it there...

    He'll be perplexed, and even more scared of technology... see above for visibility...
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"


  7. #6
    Co-Pilot Arielarts's Avatar
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    Many thanks for the helpful responses Steve. I'm a little unclear on the tech.
    Is the core brain simply a Pi running some firmware developed by PAW people?
    Are you saying that the detection of the FLARM broadcast from a glider is rebroadcast on the PAW Tx/Rx channel, along with positional info?
    And all is done without reference to the internet, which is simply used for regular software updates?


  8. #7
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thearb View Post
    They turned their back on it and chose to back Project EVA. Anyone remember that? Sunk without trace.
    Project EVA has not allowed extended squitter using a GPS with a SIL=0 to appear on ATC or CAT ADS-B systems as far as I know. Everything below SIL=1 is screened out, unless you know differently.

    Squitter is a portmanteau word, made up of squirting, and sh*tt*r. Like amoebic dysentery...

    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    Is the core brain simply a Pi running some firmware developed by PAW people?
    Yes, it's a form of Linux for the Pi with the PAW software running on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    Are you saying that the detection of the FLARM broadcast from a glider is rebroadcast on the PAW Tx/Rx channel, along with positional info?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    And all is done without reference to the internet, which is simply used for regular software updates?
    The Internet is used also for sending information to PAW servers for some multilateration on Mode-S.

    All OGN contributions are via the Internet.

    Main + points for PAW users are FLARM with no Internet latency and Mode-S with bearings.
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"


  9. #8
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arielarts View Post
    Also, do you have any idea of the internet data overhead, per month? The CCTV uses around 2GB/month, but we do have some spare data available.
    Got a figure from the PilotAware forum for between 140 & 200 MB a month.
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"

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