Gilze-Rijen Airbase on LiveATC

Over the last year LiveATC.net has been provided with several live audio feeds that can be streamed here.

There are now several feeds on LiveATC.net covering the military base Gilze-Rijen and the Gilze-Rijen CTR. The airbase is approximately 2km from my location and more of less in the approach one of the runways.

The airbase is home to a fleet of Apache, Chinook and Cougar helicopters and home to a museum of World War 2 aircraft such as the Mitchel B25 and Spitfire. There are also a number of light aircraft and gliders that use the runway from a clubhouse located nearby and civilian aircraft entering the CTR are required to contact the tower during operational hours, so it can get quite active at times.

The language spoken on frequency is usually English, with the exception of some civilian CTR interlopers. The military aircraft frequently practice manoeuvres in coordination with NATO.

Up until recently every 4 years the airbase would host an international air show often attracting in excess of 250,000 visitors per day. Unfortunately due to the pandemic this has been cancelled for obvious reasons.

Hardware & Software

The setup consists of two RTL-SDR dongles redundantly chained together to a single vertical antenna, each dongle working independently on two different Raspberry Pi systems. This gives continuous operation if one of the SDRs locks up.

rtl_airband is used to manage, tune the SDRs, mix (if needed) and encode the streams. rtl_airband makes use of the Raspberry Pi’s GPU to offload some of the processing form the CPU, which is quite neat.

The rtl_airband encoders connect directly to a local icecast server. LiveATC then pulls the streams from the icecast server at roughly 8kb/s per mono feed.

My setup has an additional feed- a mix of the Ground and Tower frequencies, each separated into either the Left or Right stereo channel.

rtl_airband configuration

devices:
({
# mode = "scan";
type = "rtlsdr";
serial = "ehgr_71ppm";
gain = 35;
centerfreq = 125.500;
correction = 71;
mode = "multichannel";
sample_rate = 0.96;
channels:
(
{
freq = 125.330;
squelch = 24;
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "192.168.1.xx";
port = 9000;
mountpoint = "ehgr-fallback";
name = "EHGR Tower Backup (rtl_airband, UHF)";
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "password";
},
{
disable = true;
type = "mixer";
name = "mixer1";
balance = -0.75;
ampfactor = 1.0;
}
);
},
{
freq = 278.125;
disable = true;
squelch = 24;
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "192.168.1.xx";
port = 9000;
mountpoint = "ehgr-ground";
name = "EHGR Ground UHF";
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "password";
},
{
type = "mixer";
name = "mixer1";
balance = 0.75;
ampfactor = 1.0;
}
);
}
);
}
);

mixers: {
mixer1: {
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "192.168.1.xx";
port = 9090;
mountpoint = "ehgr-twrgnd";
name = "EHGR Tower & Ground Mix"
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "password";
}
);
},
mixer2: {
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "icecast.server.example.org";
port = 8080;
mountpoint = "mixer2.mp3";
name = "Ground + Delivery (not used just an example)"
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "mypassword";
}
);
}
};

Redundancy

The above setup is duplicated on another Raspberry Pi that feeds into a different icecast mount point.

If icecast loses the feed from the SDR illustrated above, it will automatically drop the fallback feed. In the unlikely event of both feeds going down, then the icecast server selects the fallback’s fallback.

This consists of a looped MP3 fed by a continuously running instance of ezstream with a nice digitally synthesised voice apologising for the inconvenience! Beep beep beep…

When the feeds recover, icecast automatically reconnects the listeners (LiveATC) back to the main feeds.

Leemputten 2019: Only Time Will Tell

Our local beauty spot is once again available, with the weather perfect and Ilona-Ruby on the very slow but positive path to recovery, this is our progress so far. Music is from my number 1 favourite album by Mike Oldfield: The Songs of Distant Earth. Poignantly titled track: Only Time Will Tell.

Strawberry Fields

After a year of self isolation to keep Ilona-Ruby safe during her chemo and radiotherapy, we finally took our first steps back out into the world- keeping it very local as Ilona-Ruby’s stamina was shot to pieces. Slowly but surely, we got a breath of fresh air and a moment to live once again in our own back garden.

June 2019, just before our 21st Anniversary she was given the all-clear after a very testing 6 months of darkness and uncertainty. We are glad the winter is over.

The music is a piece called Strawberry Fields and is a reflection of the awakening from darkness. Please enjoy our back garden with us.

HNY: Rijen 2019

Happy 2019!

Here’s hoping for a miracle…. it has not been easy coming to terms with my beloved Ilona-Ruby being recently diagnosed with cancer. Everything is now on hold indefinitely while we work through this together. This means no contact with the outside world during treatment with chemotherapy as the impact on her autoimmune system is that serious.

Leemputten – Memory of the Trees

Featuring a track by Enya, this was my first drone video created using a DJI Spark and preprogrammed flight paths. The video was first created in DJI’s own tool but then it broke, so I had to remake it in Luma Fusion and this is the result.

It’s not perfect but having this type of visual memory helped to keep us sane during our own self-isolation lockdown in 2019 due to Ilona’s cancer treatment. Sometimes memories are really fragile, so its good to have a way to preserve and refresh them!