RTL SDR AIS RECEIVER

rtl-sdr-ais logo

What is it ?


It is an Android app that decodes AIS messages transmitted by vessels , ships, over radio using a cheap USB DVB-T /RTL-SDR stick.
AIS messages are transmitted over VHF.
Channel A: 161.975 MHz
Channel B: 162.025 MHz.
The app decodes both channels simultaneously.
This app needs no internet connection, it decodes the real time received messages.
This is a truly standalone full featured AIS receiver.

The received messages will be translated into NMEA0183 strings wihch can be forwared then via UDP or TCP streaming to third party apps, PC programs or other devices.
Such Apps can display the received AIS data for example on a map along with informations about the received objects.

Please note: The app needs additonal (very cheap) hardware to receive the radio signals.

FEATURES


  • Receive VHF AIS radio signals vis DVB-T / RTL SDR USB Stick
  • Decode AIS messages into NMEA0183 strings ( !AIVDM )
  • Send this messages via Network (UDP/TCP)
  • Device location (GPS,Network) translation into NMEA strings
  • Loacation NEMA forwarding via Network (UDP)
    (GPGSV,GPGSA,GPZDA,GPRMC,..)
    AIS Driver:
    Get it on Google PlayAIS Share:
    Get it on Google Play

HARDWARE


Typically costs about ~ 15-35€

  • OTG capable Android device with at least Android 4.1
    (today most of the devices fullfil this )
  • OTG USB cable (use a high quality one)
  • DVB-T – RTL-SDR USB stick
    Search for RTL2832U / 820T / 820T2 USB stick.
    Cheape AliExpress.com USB 2.0 DVB-T RTL2832U+R820T2 Stick ~10€
    I recommend a high quality stick you can find it http://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/
  • DIY Antenna
    http://www.radioforeveryone.com/p/ais-antennas.html
    or just use the Antenna shipped with your dongle ( then i recomend a telescopic aerial antenna extend to 44,4 cm )
  • Area in with you can receive AIS signals ( harbour, rivers, sea ,.. )

SOFTWARE


There are two apps avaliable in the Google Play Store.

RTL SDR AIS DRIVER

RTL SDR AIS DRIVER

This is the driver app, its needed in any case.
In the driver app there is demo/test mode implmented mainly to test the app if your hardware is compatible. Please use this demo mode before you buy the full Version. The demo mode is limited to 1000 received messages.

Why this driver app ?
The driver app will run as a service for AIS SHARE app. The service (background process) will run only on request of AIS SHARE ( only the signal proczessing part of the driver will run )
There is no neagtiv effect on battery drainning with this solution. (the driver app runs as prozess of AIS Share on request, like it would be intergated into AIS Share)

DEMO MODE / TEST IT

  1. Connect the USB Dongle with your device
  2. Switch the Slider to activate the Demonstration Mode ( DEMO)

    Switch >> Demo
    Switch >> Demo << ON
  3. Press the Play Button
    Press >> Play
    Press >> Play <<

     

  4. Have a look at the output window
    Driver should start
    Driver should start

    If you find the message: Driver Start OK
    then your Android device can successfully comunicate with the USB dongle. Your Hardware is compatible.

    If you installed the APP the first time, the settings for statistic is enabled.
    After 30 secondes you should receive a report about AIS package like:

    A:Received correctly: 40 packtes, worng CRC: 8 packets, wrong size 6 packets

If you receive 0 packets or 1 packet and please set up PPM settings. ( see PPM Chapter )

Please note:

The demo mode is limitited so far for 1000 messages (chan A OR chan B).
The demo mode has no Wifi wake lock.
The demo mode can share data only to one client.
The demo mode can not share GPS positon data.
The demo mode has a a reduced GUI
Need help –> info@ebcTech.eu

AIS SHARE

AIS SHARE

This is the full version of the app.

It allowes you to stream the received AIS messages to three different UDP clients, and acts as an TCP server (limited to one client)

Also GPS data can be forwarded to a client (UDP).

In any case you need to install the RTL SDR AIS DRIVER app first. Settings you may choosen in the in the RTL SDR AIS DRIVER app will not be considered with this app. You need to configure your settings in this APP.

Installation AIS SHARE / First start

  1. Install driver app from Google PlayTM store.Get it on Google Play
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.ebctech.rtl_sdr_ais_driver
    Start it one time. After that you can close the app ( RTL SDR AIS Driver )
  2. Install AIS ShareGet it on Google Play
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.ebctech.ais_share
  1. Start the AIS Share app go to the setting activity

    AisShare Dongle Settings

  2. Set the PPM setting
    This is really important.
  3. Set up the UDP Share
    As UDP HOST enter the IP Adress of the device you want to share the data to.
    ( so the IP Adress of the partner )For TCP sharing, just enter a port number the Android device is listen to.
    The app acts as an TCP server. (limited to just one connection, after sending the data it will close the connection)
  4. Start the driver
    with the pink floating action button.
  5. Status
    DRV –> RTL SDR AIS DRIVER is started
    AIS,UDP,TCP,GPS,INT  –> all internal moduls are ready.
    (means not active started)
  6. Message receive
    Watch out if you receive messages.
    AisShare run 1
  7. Statistic
    After 60 seconds the first information about received frames via channel A and channel B should appear (each pair in a grid represent chan A and next chan b )
  8. Please report bugs,wishes …
    info@ebcTech.eu
    or posted it in this blog

Important Settings


In both apps RTL SDR DRIVER and AIS SHARE there is a setting page.
Most important setting is the PPM settings. Nearly 99% of the USB dongle needs a frequency correction value. This value is different for every dongle.
The frequency for AIS is Channel A: 161.975 MHz and Channel B: 162.025 MHz. Because each dongle has a frequency drift, without correction the software is bassically not tuned on this frequency. As a result you won’t receive messages.

How to find out the right PPM:

Here are some useful links:
http://bashitout.com/2016/04/05/RTL-SDR-Frequency-Drift-Offset.html
http://rtl-sdr.sceners.org/?p=193
http://davidnelson.me/?p=371

google for frequency correction RTL SDR or PPM RTL SDR to find more

Andorid 6.0 >

Starting from Android 6.0 (API level 23), Android introduces two power-saving features that extend battery life for users by managing how apps behave when a device is not connected to a power source. Doze reduces battery consumption by deferring background CPU and network activity for apps when the device is unused for long periods of time. App Standby defers background network activity for apps with which the user has not recently interacted.

This could be a problem if you want to share AIS data to external device.

http://www.greenbot.com/article/2993199/android/how-to-turn-off-doze-mode-for-specific-apps-in-android-marshmallow.html

F A Q


I installed Martin Marinov RTL2832U driver app, do I need yours

YES, my driver app is tuned to AIS message receiption. AIS Share will not work without my driver app.
RTL AIS DRIVER app will not influence any other RTL SDR related app you have installed

I CAN’T RECEIVE A VESSEL AIS MESSAGE
Check PPM settings. In 99% this is the reason.

DRIVER IS UNSTABLE
Check if you use a high quality cable. Do you use a USB extension cable ? Try it without it.

Credits


Many thanks to Harmen Meijer for testing and tips.
visit his homepage  www.harmenmeijer.nl

Disclaimer:

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE REGENTS AND CONTRIBUTORS “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE REGENTS OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. DO NOT rely upon AIS Share for safety of life or property.

Please note that depending on your local law, receiving radio transmission AIS
@ AIS 1 – 161,975 MHz (Kanal 87B) AIS 2 – 162,025 MHz (Kanal 88B)communciation is maybe illegal. Please inform your self before you use this app in combination with a USB DVB Tongle.  Never use this app or the genrated data for communicacation purpose.

 

Legal attribution:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “RTL SDR AIS RECEIVER”

  1. Thanks for your great app, but i have some problem, it not working with internal gps at the same time. Im using free app, mayby this is limitation of free version?

    1. Hi, what do you mean with problem with the GPS ?
      Can you describe what you expect ?
      Do you not receive AIS data when you turn GPS on ?
      Glad to support you

  2. Thanks for AIS Share. For some reason AGC doesn’t work (on Nexus 7 & Android 6.0.1) but setting the gain manually does. Any chance of adding TCP to the program? Then I could use it with OruxMaps

  3. Tnanks! I bought full version, but working with out any problem only ais share. When programm is running my gps in mobile phone out of order. Android 5, Xiaomi Redmi note 3. AIS functions working without any problems. I can’t use together ais and gps, only ais in one time.

  4. Hi,
    I bought Ais share and the recommended dongle from rtl-sdr.com (version 3 dongle) I have also bought boatbeacon app which I was hoping to send the data to.
    I have your RTL Ais driver installed.

    Unfortunately every time I try either with Ais share or running the demo in the trl driver app I get the message that the dongle has not been found.
    Do you have any idea what this could be?
    I have tried a number of other devices in the OTG lead and they all function so I do not think it is the lead.
    The lead has a power connector socket fitted and I note that the dongle gets warm when this is connected.
    I am using a hudl2 but I tried installing the driver on a Samsung phone and got the same message.
    Could there be a problem with compatibility with the version 3 dongle?
    I would appreciate any advice as this looks a great app if only I could get it all working.
    Thanks.

    1. Hello Brian,

      I also have the Dongle V3 and it works.
      Strangly it was not working when I was using a USB extension cable.

      Few thinks I want to check:

      –> How do you connect the dongle with your device ?
      (you mentioned a OTG lead with power connector socket, could you test it with an other one)
      –> Do you have the latest APP version’s ? (check it with google play store )
      –> In the driver app , in the demo mode, after you start the driver , there is a COPY button.
      (copys text to clipboard ) can you send me this.

      \Christian

      info@ebcTech.eu

  5. Here is the copied text from RTL driver.

    41:09 ——————
    41:09 15:41:09 eu.ebctech.rtl_sdr_ais_driver Version= 1.0.6 VersionCode= 20
    41:09 EXCEPTION! ExcpetionID= 202 Message= USB_NO_DEVICE_FOUND: No USB device found Solution= No compatible USB dongle found. Try to reconnect
    41:09 Starting failed!

  6. Thank you very much for such a quick response.
    The versions of your apps I have are:

    RTL AIS Driver 1.0.6 version code 20

    AIS Share 1.1.3 version code 14

    I have forwarded a photo of connection.
    the OTG lead is usb 2.0
    micro b plug to Hudl
    USB socket for dongle
    Micro B socket for output for Hudl charger (charging light does not come on when connected)

    As my intention is to use this setup onboard my boat in the long term I will need to have it connected to charger when in use.

    This is the lead I am currently using:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Micro-USB-Host-OTG-Cable-USB-power-Charge-for-Samsung-i9100-i9300-i9220-N7100-/272272748005

    as you see it was a cheapie so I guess that may well be the problem.

    Thanks again for your help

  7. Hello,

    I would like to try your Android AIS App, but encounter one big problem: It seems to be impossible to simultaneously having data traffic and charging on USB OTG , if Android tablet is in host mode.
    So you can only operate in battery mode I understand. But that kills the best App in operation.
    I have asked Harmen to let me know his solution, because it looks to me that he built a special cable with power supply !?

    1. Hello;
      Y- shape cables allowes to charge the USB device but not the phone.
      Some phones allowes to charge and supply an external device
      I have ordered for example that device
      Micro USB Hub
      but it do not work on my S7.
      I have a tablet which have a seperate power supply connector so that would solve the problem.
      Harmen reply 2016 about this topic.
      Hallo Christian,

      You’re right, when the power supply is on and I start the tablet, it does not see the usb-radio anymore, even when I switch it on. So I have to start the tablet without connection to the power supply. After Android is running I can switch the dongle on and start the driver. Then I connect the power. The tablet does not recognise the power connection because of the dongle.

      If I start the tablet connected to the power supply itdoes not recognise the dongle

      So the power is only feeding the dongle.

      Android does recognise Or the dongle Or the power supply.

      I did not find a way to charge the tablet when the dongle is connected. . .
      I bought several OTG cables, but all had the same result.
      It is the tablet. . . .

      Did you find a solution????

      In practice the tablet works for about 6 hours . . the screen sleeps after 2 minutes and I wake it up when I need it.

      Without the dongle, running OpenCPN , the tablet charges
      so it works endless.

      Harmen

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