VDL2 set up SDR

The place to chat about using the BaseStation / SBS systems, ask questions, and to post any tips, tricks or stories about how you've used it. We'd also like to hear any suggestions you have for new functionality which we can add to the system.

Moderators: admin, KineticChris, KineticDavid, Moderators

J Coyle
Posts: 35
Joined: July 3rd, 2005, 12:53 pm

VDL2 set up SDR

Postby J Coyle » May 13th, 2015, 8:24 pm

Dear all. an old idiot would be grateful for a simple guide to set up SBS 3 for VDL2 reception. i believe ethernet connection is involved nad i would like a simple way that an old duffer likw me can understand.

jim C

Posts: 83
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 5:34 pm
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Re: VDL2 set up SDR

Postby GaryG » May 14th, 2015, 12:27 am

No simple guide because it is not a 'simple' task, quite a few steps involved to the task.

As you mentioned, the first step is to have a working Internet connection between the SBS-3 and your computer.

The next step is to get the SBS-3 feeding I-Q data to SDRSharp and having SDRSharp actually able to tune various frequencies.

The next step is being able to feed MultiPSK from SDRSharp which usually means installing Virtual Audio Cable(s) software as well as getting MultiPSK installed. The unlicensed version of MultiPSK will only decode VDL-2 signals for five minutes before it times out and stops decoding until you restart the program.

These were the easy steps - finding the actual settings to actually get your first VDL-2 decode could involve many hours of experimentation because you are learning how to use a few new pieces of software that each can be complicated and each adjustment can affect the other software adjustments. Not only that, if you haven't bought the MultiPSK licence, you have five minutes to tinker before you need to restart MultiPSK.

Finally, once I got it working and properly decoding I found that there is so much data that I felt it wasn't worth the effort to run it continuously and after a few months I stopped collecting the info. There are a few position reports as well as flight plans but most messages use encrypted data so there is no useful actual readable info.

That's my opinion. I can get a first decode on a computer in about 30 minutes now then it's just a matter of a few minor adjustments over time to optimize the decode successes. I still don't leave it running as I feel there is so much data that looking through thousands of multi-line reports to find a specific bit of info isn't worth the time. Unlike ACARS, the reports blast in so fast you can't even read them in real time. Interesting to see the first time but on an ongoing basis? I don't feel so.

My opinions, yours might be different but it is not a simple task especially if the end success might not be actually useful although the reward of seeing your first decode would probably give a nice feeling.


User avatar
Posts: 367
Joined: December 20th, 2005, 1:24 pm
Location: London

Re: VDL2 set up SDR

Postby acarslogger » May 14th, 2015, 12:26 pm

Hi Jim,

I agree that using an SBS-3 to decode VDL2 transmissions is a bit of a challange for all the reasons that Gary said.

Patrick, who wrote MultiPSK obviously enjoys decoding all sorts of obscure digital data, but is not an aviation enthusiast and as such the output generated is not particulary aviation-friendly. To see a sample of the MultiPSK log data see http://bsrs.jetvision.de/index.php?dir= ... &order=asc . This is 1 hours worth of data recorded here in SE England with all the MultiPSK logging option set.

Whether there is any value in decoding VDL2 is very much dependant on what your interests are. I've written a small application that combines the MultiPSK output with the SBS-3 Acars output and displays in a manner similar to the Basestation Aircraft List. See http://bsrs.jetvision.de/index.php?dir= ... &order=asc . The application can also generate a log file of all the VDL2 acars messages in an identical format to the SBS-3 acars log files. It also display all Acars messages (both conventional analogue and those acars messages received via VDL2) in Airmaster format as well as displaying any aircraft destination and position reports.
<<My aplication is still Work-In-Progress and is not in a fit state to make publicly available but gives you an idea of what can be achieved with the MutliPSK data>>

I did suggest to KineticChris some time ago whether Kinetic could include decoding of VDL2 transmissions into the SBS-3 firmware in the same way as conventional acars, but alas nothing has happened.

Sorry to digress; it still doesn't help you getting your SBS-3 decoding VDL2 transmissions. Depends if you like a challange.


J Coyle
Posts: 35
Joined: July 3rd, 2005, 12:53 pm

Re: VDL2 set up SDR

Postby J Coyle » May 16th, 2015, 8:41 pm

Many Thanks for the reply will have a go at it

j coyle

Return to “Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests