I fly a planes.

Building and Flying With Stratux ADS-B in, Part 2

Over a year ago I wrote about my initial experiences building and testing out the open-source Stratux ADS-B In receiver. I’ve gotten more involved with the project since then, testing out some new hardware and trying out some changes to my existing build. I’ve also had the chance to use some competing hardware.

TL;DR: build yourself this $140 Stratux

Cost Description
$ 37.20 Raspberry Pi 3 to run the whole show
$ 14.99 8GB SD card with Stratux installed
$ 39.99 Tuned antennas and radios for receiving weather and two traffic channels
$ 14.99 GPS receiver for integrated position data
$ 14.99 ABS plastic case, designed by /u/helno of Reddit
$ 12.99 Anker 24W 12VDC charger can run both an iPad and your Stratux
$ 6.99 Anker 10’ USB cable lets you position the Stratux anywhere in the cockpit
$142.14 total price

If you’re a pilot without existing access to ADS-B In weather and traffic, build this list. Nearly the exact same results cost me $233 a year ago, and the software has matured while the hardware has improved. For under $150, you can get dual-band ADS-B In traffic and weather with WAAS position data. It’s fantastic.

Building (and Flying With) Stratux Homebuilt ADS-B In

I first heard about the Stratux project a few months back, in a subreddit that described how to build your own ADS-B In receiver for under $120. It uses software-defined radios to pick up ADS-B data, then processes it using open-source software. As a pilot who’s dabbled with the idea of plunking down around $1000 on the Stratus 2S, this was a pretty attractive idea: less than $200 for traffic and weather on my iPad? Heck, I could build a receiver and order a new iPad for less than the list price of the Stratus.

I took the plunge, ordered the parts, and tried it out.

The verdict? It works brilliantly.

Teach Everything

It’s always fascinated me that most pilots first become professionals as flight instructors. Before starting jobs at airlines or charter companies, most pilots’ careers begin by teaching brand-new private students the basics of aviation. Not everybody is good, and most don’t do it for long even if they are, but it’s somehow become The Way It Works in aviation.