ACARS decoder Icon

ACARS decoder

An open source Acars decoder with rtl_sdr frontend

As of 2016-10-23, this project may now be found at

5.0 Stars (8)
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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 ( or airspy (
- 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


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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 4 / 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

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

    Try to run it on Xubuntu 16.04.2 as Alsa only. Managed to compile it without the RTL, Airspy en File features. Solved this message by copying the variable init to top of acarsdec.c acarsdec.c:(.text.startup+0xf7): undefined reference to `gain' Now i get this message: Alsa cannot set sample format (Invalid argument) Any thoughts appreciated.

    Posted 03/11/2017
  • 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    Works as designed on an RPi3. Had to edit Makefile as noted in the docs. Actually decoding 6 channels and the CPU looks like it could handle more. Yay! :)

    Posted 06/05/2016
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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Additional Project Details

Intended Audience

Aerospace, Telecommunications Industry

User Interface


Programming Language




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