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Receiving VDL Mode 2 with MultiPSK and the RTL-SDR

March 04, 2014 admin

The VHF Data Link mode 2 (VDL2) is a new transmission mode used on aircraft for sending short messages, position data (similar to ADS-B) and also for allowing traffic controllers to communicate to pilots via text and data. VDL2 is intended to eventually replace the standard ACARS modes. It is found at 136.975 MHz.

Recently, a wiki page explaining how to decode VDL2 using MultiPSK, Planeplotter and the RTL-SDR has been put up. MultiPSK is a sophisticated software program that can decode a wide range of amateur radio digital signals as well as several professional modes like VDL2. To decode most professional modes like VDL2 however, the paid version of MultiPSK is required, but a 5 minute per use trial of VDL2 decoding can be used for testing. Newer versions of MultiPSK can now even directly connect to the RTL-SDR dongle.

The wiki page shows how to set up the RTL-SDR dongle on MultiPSK to receive VDL2 signals, and then shows how to connect it to PlanePlotter in order to plot the aircraft positions on a map.

MultiPSK with VDL2
MultiPSK with VDL2
PlanePlotter with VDL2 Data
PlanePlotter with VDL2 Data

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