DefCon 28 - Aerospace Village Badge

The Aerospace Village at DefCon this year was due to be using an aeroplane shaped dual antenna for use with a Software Defined Radio to track aircraft via ADS-B and ACARS.

This Badge costs $30 if purchased from the Aerospace Village however we could probably do it for cheeper ourselves.
It is intended to be used with a SDR like the rtl-sdr v3 dongle.
This seems like a great project for cadets (particularly becaue of the aircraft design :joy:)
What do others think?

I have no idea what you said, but look - a plane!


Looks like a fun idea. I have a piaware running using a rtl-sdr. Fairly easy to set up and fun too!

What sort of thing were you thinking, doing it ourselves?

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ADS-B is what sites like FlightAware use for live tracking of aircraft.
Basically you hook a radio up to your computer and tell it to listen for ADS-B pings.

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OK, so the "badge (in this case) is just an extra component in the usb-radio interface?

Sweet, I’ve never got around to actually piping data into flightaware or any other site.

Well i’ve posted this same stuff onto MS Teams on the national Cyber team in the hope that someone higher up than myself might think it’s a cool project and look at enabling squadrons to do it.
I’m not expecting someone at corps/region level to go and arrange purchase of ~30000 pcb’s and components, but might make a great “How To” guide . . .

the soldering of the pcb, and then playing with it and the SDR would make a great “whole day” activity, or stretched over a weekend with some shooting/a another activity alongside.

yep, the badge is two antenna (131.550MHz (ACARS) and 1090MHz (ADS-B)) as well as the flashy lights because flashy lights are cool. :joy:


It’s really straight forward, piaware works really well, and as ACC Towers is right under Cranwell approach it picks up all the local mil aircraft!

Definitely something ACC could host/help with!

I’ve set the up a few times for just local tracking, being down in south london I’ve always got loads of traffic to look at :slight_smile:

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I’ve recreated the template design that HQAC are using these days too so could look legit :wink:

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Might need to get hold of the bits and try and make one!

Thankfully it’s open source with a GitHub repo!

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Well they sold out on tindie before I even recieved the email notification that they were available.
Yes I’m tempted to make a few myself.

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Can you share that on the Drive here?

well I’m looking at $87 for 5 2 layer pcb’s from pcbWin.

Are there any UK companies that would make the PCBs?

there are a few yeah, although none that i’ve had any experience with.

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I’ve uploaded them to the ACC Drive under Templates and Branding


@DJRice I’ve just ordered 10 from JLCPCB for £30. :slight_smile:

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Have a go at videoing the build for a nice how to!