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This is a client that selectively forwards Mode S messages to a server that resolves the transmitter position by multilateration of the same message received by multiple clients.

The corresponding server code is available at

There is also support for running in a mode used to feed multilateration information to FlightAware via piaware. In this mode, the client is started automatically by piaware.


To build a Debian (or Ubuntu, Raspbian, etc) package that includes config and startup scripts:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential debhelper python3-dev
$ dpkg-buildpackage -b -uc

This will build a .deb package in the parent directory. Install it with dpkg:

$ sudo dpkg -i ../mlat-client_(version)_(architecture).deb

To build/install on other systems using setuptools (client only):

$ ./ install


If you are using this with piaware, you don't need to do anything special other than to make sure that fa-mlat-client is available on your $PATH. piaware will detect the presence of the client and start it when needed.

If you are connecting to a third party multilateration server, contact the server's administrator for configuration instructions.

Supported receivers

  • Anything that produces Beast-format output with a 12MHz clock:
  • dump1090_mr, dump1090-mutability, FlightAware's dump1090
  • modesdeco (probably?)
  • an actual Mode-S Beast
  • airspy_adsb in Beast output mode
  • SBS receivers
  • Radarcape in 12MHz mode
  • Radarcape in GPS mode

Unsupported receivers

  • The FlightRadar24 radarcape-based receiver. This produces a deliberately crippled timestamp in its output, making it useless for multilateration. If you have one of these, you should ask FR24 to fix this.


Copyright 2015, Oliver Jowett.

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see


Mode S multilateration client




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