James Koole

Upgrading My ADS-B Feeder Setup

Back just before the start of the COVID pandemic, on February 23, 2020, I setup an ADS-B receiver using a Raspberry Pi 4. It used an external antenna mounted on the side of the house and fed data to both FlightAware and Flightradar24. In exchange for feeding tracking data, both services provide a free premium account with Flightaware offering an Enterprise account and Flightradar24 offering a Business account.

That Raspberry Pi install was getting a bit long in the tooth and after nearly four years, it was time to start fresh and clean things up a bit. The Raspberry Pi I was using was a Raspberry Pi 4B with 4GB of memory. I was running a pretty old version of Raspbian based on Debian Stretch.

I wanted to do a couple of things to improve my set up.

First, I had a Raspberry Pi 400 that I wasn't using. It's essentially a Raspberry Pi 4B but it's built into a keyboard so it's more of an all-in-one solution compared to the Pi 4B which requires a separate keyboard. I run headless and access the Pi via VNC, but it's nice to have the keyboard form factor instead of the Pi board which I literally had sitting in a cardboard box.

Second, I wanted to do a clean install of the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS (Bookworm) and also the latest versions of the Flightaware and Flightradar24 software packages.

Starting with a hardware swap

I started by first just swapping the SD card from the old Pi 4B to the new Pi 400 and fired that up. It was an easy way to swap out the Pi 4B for the 400. Once I had that up and running again, I did an upgrade to Debian and then upgraded the Flightaware software to version 9.

That solved for the hardware swap, but not the software cleanup. I wasn't satisfied just yet as I wanted to have the Raspberry Pi OS instead of just a Debian install. It was working fine, but there was a lot of cruft around from multiple updates over the years.

Moving on to the software side

So tonight I pulled the SD card out and set it aside as a backip, and replaced it with a cleanly imaged SD card that had Raspberry Pi OS Bookworm (the latest). I got that all configured and running well on the network, then set about installing PiAware, then dump1090-fa and finally the Flightradar24 software.

That all went well and I was feeding data to both services again within about 45 minutes of starting the upgrade. I was able to configure the Flightradar24 side to use the same ID as I had for my old feeder during install, but Flightaware set me up with a new ID. A quick search in the Flightaware forums gave me the solution for that. I just needed to update the identifier on my new install to use the ID from the old install.

It was about an hour total from start to finish and I now have a really clean install of Raspberry Pi OS on the 400 feeding Flightaware and Flightradar24 using the former IDs so my stats on both services are retained.

You can view just my feed on Flightradar24 by filtering on radar T-CYTZ43.


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