LAST UPDATED: 20th December 2016

I have always been intrigued by aircraft and have, since a very early age, had a passion for them. I am interested in all types of aircraft but my favourite type are military aircraft (fighters, bombers, helicopters, trainers - WW1, WW2, etc. If it flies, I’m interested. With the advent of cheap (very cheap) SDR receivers, there has been a rapid growth in the hobby of aircraft tracking. Using a simple, and pretty cheap setup you can monitor what is flying about in the skies above you and out to a couple of hundred miles or so. About a year ago I started playing about with this, and a few months back decided to become a full time reporting station (a ‘virtual radar’ station for want of a better description). A great number of aircraft are fitted with beacon transmitters that report their location and height/speed etc. every few seconds. These beacons are used by Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to plot the movements of aircraft. Software has been developed that allows the casual user to also decode these beacons and plot the progress of aircraft on a map.  It is expected the the vast majority of aircraft will be fitted with these beacons over the next few years. Not only can plot the journeys of Passenger jets, cargo planes, but you can also see private aircraft too, such as the small, single propeller driven planes that frequent our skies during the daytime. You can also plot helicopters and, on occasion, you may find the odd military aircraft show up. You may not get a position shown though as, for obvious reasons, the military are not too keen to announce their position for the world to see!

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