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ACARS decoder

An open source Acars decoder with rtl_sdr frontend

5.0 Stars (6)
83 Downloads (This Week)
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Download acarsdec-3.0.tar.gz
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BSD Linux



Acarsdec is an open source, multi-channels realtime ACARS decoder for Linux.

It features :
- up to four channels decoded simultaneously
- error detection AND correction
- input from sound file , alsa sound card or software defined radio (SRD) via a rtl dongle (
- could send decoded acars to a server via UDP in planeploter format or its own dedicated format.

The 4 channels decoding is particularly useful with the rtl dongle. It allows to directly listen simultaneously to 4 different frequencies , with a very low cost hardware.

Since version 3.0, acarsdec comes with acarsserv : a database backend program to store received acars messages.

ACARS decoder Web Site


User Ratings

ease 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 4 / 5
features 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 4 / 5
design 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 5 / 5
support 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 5 / 5
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User Reviews

  • scude
    1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    Works perfect on the Raspberry. Thanks a lot for that tool, made me totally happy. But I would like to ask if it is somehow possible to view/log the messages in the raw format? I really would need that one.

    Posted 06/22/2014
  • karit
    1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    This is a great tool. One question if it encounters a secure or signed ACARS message how would it show one of those messages?

    Posted 03/23/2014
  • ngreatorex
    1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    Excellent work Thierry! Works great on my Raspberry Pi. I have put a version on my GitHub that extends the code to send data to PlanePlotter over UDP. Unfortunately I can't put a link here, but you should be able to find it by searching for acarsdec on My version also tweaks the gain control of an RTL SDR (by calling rtlsdr_set_agc_mode).

    Posted 03/14/2014
  • jonfear
    1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    Thierry I would echo David's review, seems very good on two frequencies, three overload the CPU on a Raspberry Pi. If use of the GPU could take some load off the CPU, that would be good. I also would suggest a TCP socket output for the data. This would enable use with Virtual Radar Server as well as Planeplotter. I will try to set up a Atom based machine over the weekend and trial it on that. Cheers Jon

    Posted 03/07/2014
  • davidtaylor
    1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    Working well here on a Raspberry Pi, although that CPU limits you to two frequencies before overload sets in. It would be most helpful to see TCP output of the messages (so that programs like Plane Plotter can access the data), and if someone could take advantage of the GPU functions on the RPi to reduce CPU load that would be a major step forward. I made a Noddy's guide for the RPi here: Later: Thierry tells me that he has significant performance enhancements for the Raspberry Pi version (30% CPU with 3 active frequencies), and that he has UDP output to the existing Plane Plotter standard working. Makes a good program even better!

    Posted 03/06/2014
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Intended Audience

Aerospace, Telecommunications Industry

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