RTL-SDR for AIS in Urban Environment


In previous posts (Ref.1/3) I looked at receiving AIS using SDRangel. Recently I was able to use my balcony again, having been under construction for the last 6 months. I was curious to see if I could pick up AIS signals, even though I am about 5 Nmiles from the Toronto harbour. Due to my urban location, I am surrounded by huge condo complexes. However, there are several narrow gaps and I was able to receive some limited AIS traffic which I was not able to before.

AIS Configuration

Fig.1 SDRangel AIS Reception W0 Workspace
Fig.2 SDRangel AIS Reception W1 Workspace
Fig.3 OpenCPN AIS Contact @ Az = 130deg
Fig.4 Propagation Window @ Az=130deg

As discussed in earlier posts, I used two workspaces to implement the AIS receiver in SDRangel. Figure 1 shows the first workspace w0 which contains the RTL-SDR receiver, Ch87B & CH88B AIS demodulators and spectral display. Figure 2 shows the second workspace w1 which contains the Map display. Figure 3 shows a radial from my location at Az=130deg which is a gap between very high condo complexes. Figure 4 shows an AIS contact at this Azimuth on Google Earth.

Fig.5 YouTube Video RTL-SDR for AIS in Urban Environment

Please send your comments, questions and suggestions to:

YouTube Channel
YouTube Channel


#1. – “RTL-SDR for AIS & ADS-B on SDRangel Local Map+”

#2. – “RTL-SDR for AIS & ADS-B on SDRangel Local Map”

#3. – “RTL-SDR for AIS on SDRAngel & OpenCPN

By Jeremy Clark

Jeremy Clark is a Senior Telecommunications Engineer and Advanced Amateur Radio Operator VE3PKC. He is the author of E-Books on Telecommunications, Navigation & Electronics.