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Higher than a kite: ADS-B communication analysis using a high-altitude balloon

12 pagesPublished: December 23, 2019


Receiving signals on the 1090 MHz frequency, one of the most important radio frequencies used in aviation, is typically done using ground-based receivers. However, an increasing number of airborne or even space-based receivers also aim to receive these signals for applications such as air traffic surveillance and collision avoidance. In this paper, we present our results from a high-altitude radio frequency measurement campaign with the goal to gain insights about the challenges and limitations of receiving 1090 MHz signals at high altitudes. We used a high-altitude balloon equipped with a software-defined radio to collect 1090 MHz signal data. In an extensive analysis of these data, we identify several challenges and provide a first impression of the radio environment at altitudes up to 33.5 km.

Keyphrases: ADS-B, Aircraft, Balloon, probe, RTL-SDR, spectrum

In: Christina Pöpper and Martin Strohmeier (editors). Proceedings of the 7th OpenSky Workshop 2019, vol 67, pages 117--128

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Matthias Sch\textbackslash{}"afer and Roberto Calvo-Palomino and Franco Minucci and Brecht Reynders and G\textbackslash{}'er\textbackslash{}\textasciicircum{}ome Bovet and Vincent Lenders},
  title     = {Higher than a kite: ADS-B communication analysis using a high-altitude balloon},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 7th OpenSky Workshop 2019},
  editor    = {Christina P\textbackslash{}"opper and Martin Strohmeier},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Computing},
  volume    = {67},
  pages     = {117--128},
  year      = {2019},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2398-7340},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/2kpr}}
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