To use the RadarStick application you need a wideband-receiver like the one we sell in our shop, or similar hardware with an appropriate tuner (see the compatibility list).

We recommend to start the RadarStick application not directly, but to attach the receiver to your phone's USB port. If the device is recognized by your phone or tablet a dialog will pop up. If not, maybe your phone does not support USB host mode. Please use an OTG checker application for verification, or read the compatibility list. The blue led at the stick should also begin shining on attachement to the USB port.

Attach RadarStick dialog

After you confirm with OK the application starts automatically. Please avoid starting the application first and then attaching the receiver, because the startup procedure of USB device, USB permissions and decoder software may be in the wrong order due to Androids asynchronous nature.
If you don't have receiver, just start the application and a dialog will present you three options

RadarStick cold startup dialog.

  • Start Demo: See how the application looks like when receiving data. You will see recorded data from Zurich Airport (ZRH).
  • Buy license: Choose this option if you want to use other hardware than ours and wish to activate the software. You can buy a license in google play.
  • Buy receiver: Select this if you don't have a receiver and want to order one. It will forward you to our shop.

The application's main view has two appearances called view modes, one is a log screen, which is shown on startup. Read here what the application is doing and watch out for warnings or error messages. The second appearance is the list of identified targets, received by the Radar Stick ADSB receiver. If you have a clear view to the sky with no blocking objects, it should fill up very quick. Upon the first message received the appearance switches to the list mode (view mode: automatic), which is the default behaviour. You can change this view mode in the menu.

Radar Stick main view in log mode. Radar Stick main view in flight list mode.

The header of the screen shows statistical information in both view modes, whereas the most important one is the bar indicating signal quality from bad/red to good/green. Try to place your antenna, such that the pointer is closest to the right (yellow/green area).
The other indicators are as follows:

  • USB led : If a receiver device is attached to USB sending data, the led will be green, otherwise red.
  • RCV led : If a receiver is collecting messages, the led will switch colors between green and yellow. If no messages were collected within 500 milliseconds it will go to constant yellow, and to red after 10 seconds of inactivity.
  • OK : The number of valid messages received since application startup.
  • ES : The number of extended squitter (ES) messages since startup.
  • TOT : The total number of message frames received since startup.
  • @fps : The current rate of received frames per second.

At the bottom of the main view you will find three buttons.

  • Use the goggles button to start the RadarSpotter application.
    This will send RadarStick to the background a start up RadarSpotter, sending its data directly to RadarSpotter. It is now possible to run RadarSpotter with or without an internet connection. If run with net connection, the radar-network feed and the local data are merged together. RadarStick's live data as well as merged data is indicated by a small RadarStick icon left of the target label at the top of the application (see following screenshot).
  • Use the maps button to start RadarMaps to see your received data on an airspace map.
  • Use the Avare button to start the Avare application utilizing the stick as a navigation aid.

RadarStick integration into RadarSpotter.

The target list shows all identified targets, where the last received message for a contact must not be older than 1 minute (or it will be removed from the list). Each panel shows information for one identified target. Inside the panel you will find information about the aircraft itself on the left side. On the right side you will find the flight vectors: position, speed, altitude and heading. In case your location is known (GPS/WiFi based location enabled), your distance to the target is presented at the top of the right side of each panel. In the bottom right is an indicator for the message connection state. It will be green if the last contact was less than 5 seconds, yellow between 5 and 30 seconds and red for 30 to 60 seconds. Targets that have not been received for more than 60 seconds are removed from the list.

Radar Stick main view in list mode.

Beginning with RadarStick version 3.0 we added a panel for recording and playback, as well as a frequency selection. You can open and close this panel by tapping the arrow keys at the lower right corner.

Recording & Playback
You can now do recordings of the received traffic for storage and later replay. In order to do so, tap the recording button and you will be prompted an input box where you can enter a name for the recording. After confirmation using the OK button the recording session will begin. Tapping the recording button again will stop the recording and add an entry in the recordings list. You can do replay, rewind and deletion of recorded session by selecting the entry from the list and tapping one of the buttons.

Frequency Selection
Below the record and playback section you will find two toggle buttons. Select 1090Mhz ADSB to set the frequency of the receiver to 1090Mhz, listening for Extended Squitter (ES) traffic messages. Select 978Mhz UAT to have the receiver listening to 978Mhz UAT messages (downlink messages only). If both are enabled, the receiver will switch channels in a 10 second time slicing regime. UAT messages will come from lower altitude flying / non-commercial flights mostly received in the North-American airspace.

RadarStick recording and playback mode.

The preferences menu offers options for your personal customization. Choose if warning dialogs should appear or not, and the metrics you need for the target list. Target height can be shown in feet, meters or flightlevel. Distance to the target can be measured in imperial or nautical miles and in kilometers.