Higher than a kite: ADS-B communication analysis using a high-altitude balloon
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Receiving signals on the 1090 MHz frequency, one of the most important radio frequencies used in aviation, is typically done using ground-based receivers. However, an increasing number of airborne or even space-based receivers also aim to receive these signals for applications such as air traffic surveillance and collision avoidance. In this paper, we present our results from a high-altitude radio frequency measurement campaign with the goal to gain insights about the challenges and limitations of receiving 1090 MHz signals at high altitudes. We used a high-altitude balloon equipped with a software-defined radio to collect 1090 MHz signal data. In an extensive analysis of these data, we identify several challenges and provide a first impression of the radio environment at altitudes up to 33.5 km.