Looking for a list of capture-able data services.

By browsing some sites I accidentally discovered

  • that it is possible to receive NOAA satellite weather images with DIY receiver (link) or (here), and also
  • that it is possible to track the location of aircrafts via ADS-B (link)

Exists somewhere a list of other interesting worldwide data "services/signals" which are possible to capture and interpret with some DIY receiver?

(i hope this question fits into the on-topic questions here)

  • $\begingroup$ Since you mentioned being on-topic: Kind of not really, because a positive answer to this question would be either just a link or someone's list they just wrote, both of which tend to be not so good answers, but in this particular case you've gotten a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Reid AG6YO
    Jan 17, 2016 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


No, such a list cannot exist -- there's far too many devices operating.

Basically, with something like a software defined radio frontend, you can capture any signal whose bandwidth is limited enough to be properly digitizable with the given device.

That means that you can capture WiFi, Bluetooth, GSM, LTE, Wideband FM RDS, narrowband FM squelch signatures, Wireless microphone battery readings, Tetra network control messages, Bus display announcements, your garage door opener, your wireless door bell, your zigbee thermometer, your car keys, your wireless power outlet switch, DVB-T, DVB-S, ATSC, ISDB-T, RC planes, Iridium satellite communications, terrestrial flex pagers, weather balloon data, GPS, Glonass, your wireless home automation bus, distress beacons, RFID emissions,…

And that's just naming the few things that I've heard someone does with the help of a software radio framework called GNU Radio.

Basically, you can add any wireless device to that list.

So the closest you'd get to such a list would be the list of official spectrum allocations as maintained by your national authority: FCC in the US, Ofcom in GB, Bundesnetzagentur in Germany. However, that will only tell you what rough kind of application or user may use given spectrum generally.

EDIT: a few things that you in particular might find interesting; might contain repetitions from above:

  • traffic channel on RDS (there's also a SDR transmitter realization. Don't cause a bullfight in your favourite inner city, though.)
  • Bus stops (I mentioned that, I think)
  • Restaurant Pagers (Balint Seeber has a fun video of him messing with a restaurant's "food ready" notifiers)
  • The ISEE-3 reboot effort (sometimes when I need a little mood-lightening, I watch this)
  • PSK-31 ham radio
  • Emergency/fire department tracking: http://www.openmhz.com/scanner
  • Tetra is really an interesting system. There's public transport networks using that, power companies... basically, organizations that need a reliable cellular service to control their off-site devices
  • analog TV teletext (j/k.)
  • Car tire pressure sensors (this sounds odd -- but think about it! You can detect who's home from the comfort of your PC by just checking for their pressure sensor's emissions, for example, you can find out when the DHL guy supposedly stopped in front of your place to drop you a leaflet that you weren't there when he claims to have rung the bell. Which brings me back to your doorbell ;) )
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe not explained enough what i mean. My doorbell sure isn't any interesting data signal (or data service). Same applies to Bluetooth, GSM and many other examples. What useful data I could capture by receiving the GSM tower? Even if i could decrypt the communication, chatting of two lovers aren't very interesting. :) In contrast, the airplane position or the NOAA and also the by you mentioned GPS, weather balloons (if they operating on standard frequencies) are interesting - because they gives some useful (read usable) informations. +1 but will wait with the accept a bit more time. $\endgroup$
    – clt60
    Jan 17, 2016 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ "GSM is not interesting": aside from my deep respect for other's privacy, what could possibly be more interesting?! (also, you can decode much of the GSM used today; one of the most important ciphers has been demonstrated to be broken by tnt and horizon back in the day). $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2016 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ @jm666 but I see where you're going at. Let me think $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2016 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ The link to GNU Radio is very cool. I just discovered an whole new world of interesting things. :) Thank you for the edit - accepting. ;) $\endgroup$
    – clt60
    Jan 17, 2016 at 19:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jm666: hah. so, two things: GNU Radio's guided tutorials and CGRAN, the Comprehensive GNU Radio Archive Network which links to a lot of cool projects. Third thing: The GNU Radio wiki site directed at hams is in the process of becoming useful. Maybe you can find interesting stuff on there, or even contribute your knowledge and links! $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2016 at 19:36

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