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ManTMA Overflights Group Hello and welcome to the ManTMA Overflights Group Plane Plotter help desk! Located here are questions which are frequently asked by users of PlanePlotter which we hope you will find helpful and constructive to enhance your enjoyment of this invaluable 'spotters' software?
This page is 'work in progress' so will be continually updated!


You will find a selection of topics on the right hand side. Find one that is relevant to your problem and click the link!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are using the latest version of PlanePlotter (and it is recommended you always should be!) then keeping your PCs clock correct is vital. Please see the first topic on the list for further information.
Thank you.

The latest version can be obtained from here:
Upgrades are free to registered users. You may need to click "Refresh" on your browser to force it to show you the new page. Your existing settings will be carried forward. Make sure that PP Is not running when you install the new version. You may also need to tell your firewall/security system that the new version has permission to access the web.
If you are a Ground Station, you may also need to tell your firewall/security system that the new version is allowed to fire UDP packets all over the place!

MultiLateration: Click Here For A Free Trial!

An Introduction To MultiLateration By Tim Plumridge
[via the WiKi]

A Guide To Seeking Help ~ Please Read First!

The Latest PlanePlotter Version:

v6.4.2.9 [29-01-15]:

New in version

The Map button with right-shift (OSM map option) now retrieves an OSM map from MapQuest.
The former OSM server accessed by PlanePlotter has not operated for some time. I was hoping it would come back into service but it has failed to do so.
The new map appearance is somewhat different from the previous OSM presentation but the map shows more detail at larger scale than other options.

There are other minor changes of an editorial nature in the wording of menu items.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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Previous PlanePlotter Version History:

v6.4.2.8 [12-01-15]:

New in version

New WWM.COF file:
The WMM.COF file that is distributed with PlanePlotter is a geomagnetic model used by the program to convert between true and magnetic headings, bearings, etc. when requested by the user. Because the geomagnetic field is dynamic, the coefficients are updated every five years. The old coefficients, published ion 2010, ceased to be valid at the end of 2014. The new coefficients included in this release are valid until the start of 2020.

Changes to raw data polling for multilateration:
This feature will allow more sophisticated operation of multilateration once it has rolled out.

New ACARS position look-up format:
On request, an additional position report format has been included in the ACARS decoder.

NASA satellite image button replaced with Google satellite images:
The NASA satellite image server has not been working for some time so I have substituted a download from the Google satellite image server under the Satellite button on the toolbar.

Display composite registration number without the extension:
To try to make things simpler, the registration extension number has been incorporated into the listed registration number.
>From now on, when requesting support, the registration number alone will be unique, without having to remember the extension number, which so many forgot. For the avoidance of doubt, it is still that case that the registration number *must not* be published in any public forum.
Please remember that, as making the details public generates a great deal of extra work.

There are other minor changes of an administrative and editorial nature.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.7 [19-11-14]:

New in version

Raw data can now be requested to be directed to port numbers other than the default port 9742 in order to facilitate new SMU topologies.

To deal with the extended time to compute Mlat fixes using the slow SMU method, such fixes are now uploaded with a more generous time tolerance.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.6 [19-11-14]:

New in version

A new style of Sector Master User is introduced. It requests raw data from contributing Ground Stations via the conventional share cycle, rather than by direct UDP packet. This means that users who are not on a WAN IP address (eg those connecting via a dongle, in many cases) can now contribute raw data for multilateration. The resulting fix necessarily refers to a somewhat earlier time than the normal SMU fixes, so we term the method "slow SMU". It is expected to be of particular use where a network of remote sites based on RPis is connected to the 'net using dongles.

The area of responsibility of an SMU (the area within which fixes are valid) can now be defined around the polygon of contributing Ground Stations and is not simply the bounding rectangle.

The graph of Mode-A squawks can now optionally omit any valid Mode_C values.

The NTP check that PlanePlotter performs, now explicitly requests data from IP

ACARS data received from another utility by UDP will now be included in the optional airmaster log.

User who have not yet registered the software can enjoy a further period of evaluation using this new version.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.5 [06-09-14]:

New in version

If you are experiencing problems with version, specifically if you use the undocumented OutlineOnChart feature or if you have a massive number of outline files, then please try version, which is on the server now.

It now will accept up to 500 .OUT files in the selective list. If you have more than that number, and you want to overlay them all, then set the selection to zero and it will plot all of the .OUT files. It might be worth mentioning that it would have worked in version without error if the number was set to zero. One might ask why you do not concatenate many of those files into a small number of larger files. Anyway, large numbers of .OUT files are no longer a show stopper.

This version also additionally provides latitude, longitude, range and bearing to the list of items that you can include in the alert log file.

If none of those issues affects you, then there is no need to update to version

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.4 [04-09-14]:

New in version

For the special case of using an SBS3 via an IP address but with raw data unchecked, it no longer restarts processing every five minutes. This will fix the problem whereby it was impossible to research sites for Beamfinder.

In the server script Ground Stations for a manual Mlat are selected within a radius or 90 nm unless that yields less than 5 GS in which case it increases to 175 nm.

The boundary for the acceptance area of fixes by an SMU has been expanded by 30 nm. Prior to this change, a significant number of fixes were being rejected as being "outside of the box".

The optional contrail colours will now show the correct altitude history rather than being colour coded only by the current aircraft altitude.

"Options..Chart..GPX overlay..Select GPX files to plot" gives you the option to select one or more of the GPX Overlay files found in the chart directory.

"Options..Chart..Outline..Select Outline files to plot" gives you the option to select one or more of the OUT files found in the current chart directory.

A new checkbox in View..Aircraft list display options..ModeA/C..Filter Mode-A squawks allows you to turn off all squawks that are also valid Mode-C squawks. This will lose a quarter of the valid Mode-A squawks but it will remove the possibility that Mode-C altitudes will be shown as Mode-A squawks.

If a manual Mlat fails, a second attempt is now made immediately. In some areas this has been found to increase the chance of success.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.3 [27-08-14]:

New in version

Modification to handle a change in the lookup when the lookup was triggered from the "a" window.

In the server script Ground Stations for a manual Mlat are selected within a radius or 90 nm unless that yields less than 5 GS in which case it increases to 150 nm.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.2 [27-08-14]:

New in version

Now includes the mod for the latest change when the lookup is triggered from the "a" window as well as from the aircraft and map displays.

Unrelated, I have changed the sharing server script so that manual Mlats in areas with few GS use any GS within 150 nm radius. Previously, the maximum radius for GS to contribute was 90 nm.

New in version
Fixes the problem with the airframes lookup until they change something else without tell me.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.2.1 [09-07-14]:

New in version - in no particular order:

FLARM data download corrected.

Airframes Lookup updated.
This version includes a work-around for the Airframes format change that caused a LookUp to clear the type field for an aircraft.

Remote control of SMU 5km rule.
This version allows the server to enable or disable the 5km rule for Mlats when performed by SMUs.

OpenAIP UTF8 coding.
This version should handle UTF8 coding of place names in the OpenAIP files correctly. Previously, non-ASCII characters in place names and navaids were garbled.

OpenAIP overlay options enabled on a per Quick Chart basis.
If you define a Quick Chart, it now remembers the state of the three OpenAIP overlay options at the time and will restore those options when the Quick Chart is subsequently invoked.

VDL2 position report does not overwrite an ADS-B position.
If you are receiving both ADS-B position reports and VDL-2 position reports, a position derived from the former will not be overwritten by the latter because VDL2 positions are inherently less accurate than ADS-B positions.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.1.9 [28-06-14]:

New in version - in no particular order:

Open AIP.
PlanePlotter will display the content of any AIP files obtained from the OpenAIP system and placed in the specified PlanePlotter chart directory. To download the country files, which include airspace restrictions, airports, and navigational aids for many countries, you need to register with The AIP information will appear as an overlay on any chart or outline display within PlanePlotter. You are encouraged to contribute data to the OpenAIP system if there is any information lacking in your area. changes.
This version handles the recent format changes in so that automatic updating of the database should again function correctly.

FLARM data.
This version of PlanePlotter displays the FLARM data from Glidernet. It is used with the kind permission of the owners. It shows the position of gliders that are FLARM-equipped and within range of a user who is suitably equipped. If you have a suitable receiver and live near a gliding site, you are encouraged to set up a system to contribute data to Glidernet. You can enable and disable FLARM data in Options..Sharing..Setup. The control affects both chart displays and the aircraft information display.

Chart conditional expressions.
Aircraft filtering on the chart using the conditional expressions feature now also applies to the data exported to Google-Earth.

Setup Wizard.
The Setup Wizard now includes configuration for Malcolm's "Dump1090 for Windows" interface for dongle receivers.

TCAS alerts.
If a TCAS alert identifies the threat as well as the aircraft detecting the threat, then both aircraft are now shown in the Alert box and highlighted on the chart display.

Mlat calibration aircraft.
The navigational accuracy (NUC-P) given in position reports is now used to restrict those aircraft that might be used as calibration aircraft in multilateration.

There is still a long list of additional features that I want to add to PlanPlotter but I thought it expedient to release these new features now rather than wait any longer for more of the list to be completed.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.1.8 [16-05-14]:

New in version - in no particular order:

Message rate meter.
There is now an extra meter range with maximum 10000 msgs/sec for those users fortunate enough to find the previous maximum of 5000 per second too little.

Outline maps.
Outline maps now plot vectors off the edge of the screen instead of only up to the last coordinate before the edge. In most situations this should mean that coastlines, national boundaries, etc. now reach the edge of the window rather than stopping short.

Signal strength when using Malcolm's dump1090 for Windows.
I have changed the default data port when using dump1090 for windows to 30005, which includes signal strength. You can now enable signal strength on the chart or see it in the View..Aircraft window.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.1.7 [08-05-14]:

New in version - in no particular order:

New receiver option RTL->PC+Dump1090.
This option supports Malcolm's excellent new utility Dump1090 for Windows based on his Linux and RPi ports.
If you have an RTL dongle and aspire to being an effective Ground Station, please follow the instructions here :
Malcolm's version of Dump1090 for Windows overcomes the problems encountered with Ground Stations previously using Andy's RTL1090 and yields raw data with time tags that contribute to Mlat fixes. You need to start dump1090-for-Windows, using the batch file provided, before you set PlanePlotter processing and you need to select the RTL->PC+Dump1090 option in Options..I/O settings and you also need to specify "" in Options..Mode-S..RTL dongle-PC-dump1090..Setup TCP client.
In addition to working better as a Ground Station, I get the impression on my test system here, that it also gives better range for normal reception than the alternative solution - but that may be unique to my system so don't hold me to that.
If dongle-based Ground Stations switch to using this new utility, I anticipate a massive increase in Multiateration fixes especially in areas where, currently, there are insufficient of the more expensive receivers to succeed. With this development, the huge reserve of dongle-based Ground Stations should spring to life.

Include alerting ID in TCAS alerts.
If you are lucky enough (if that is the right phrase) to see a TCAS alert, it will now identify both aircraft involved in the potential conflict.

Help file edits.
eLaReF has suggested better wording for the section on the sometimes vexatious topic of setting up the Home location in PlanePlotter.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.1.6 [27-03-14]:

New in version - in no particular order:

Radar pulse rate display
..on the "y" display, the permanent dots now match the snowflakes even if the map is offset.

Signal Strength in MySky
..Signal strength shows in MySky if enabled on the chart.

VDL2 and TCP receivers
..No fault found. Two dongles on one machine need special treatment.

TCAS alerts
..PlanePlotter no longer crashes when there is a TCAS alert.

TCAS alerts
..TCAS alerts show alerting aircraft identity as well as conflicting aircraft.

Cleared to altitude in OLE/COM
..a problem with target altitude via OLE/COM should be fixed.

New Test networking option
..New "Help..Test networking..Check NTP status" option opens a command prompt and runs "ntpq -p".

Toolbar at the bottom
.. No fault found.

VDL2/MultiPSK on another machine
..You can now address a MultiPSK server on another IP address:port to decode VDL2.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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v6.4.1.5a [22-02-14]:

Added some missing files for VDL2 input from MultiPSK.

v6.4.1.5 [21-02-14]:

New in version ( in no particular order)

Server connection warning
The server connection warning now shows in the status bar, rather than a pop up dialog to avoid hanging unattended instances.

OLE/COM method GetDesigData(27)
OLE/COM method GetDesigData(27) was a short integer so could not report target altitudes above 32000ft. It is now a full integer.

Shared longitudes outside of +/-100°
shared longitudes outside of plus or minus 100 degrees had only three decimal places, which misplaced aircraft at large scales in these far east or west longitudes. (This was actually fixed in the server script).

TCAS alerts
TCAS conflict alerts now appear in Alert box. Thanks to Blort for guidance on this rare message format.

Trap lockout of alert checks
Alert checks could previously get into a lockout state under some circumstances of marginal Internet connection. This version may solve that problem.

Secondary sharing server
An additional option to upload data to the AirNav RadarBox24 server is added. Note that these secondary sharing options consume resources and enabling all the secondary sharing options with a very short cycle time will most probably lock PlanePlotter. Only select options that are required and use a share cycle time of 60 seconds if possible.

New OLE/COM methods
GetWanIp() is a new OLE/COM method. It returns the WAN IP address as seen from the PlanePlotter server. It returns a blank string if no Internet connection exists. Note that if the system is working behind a router, it yields the WAN IP address on the server side of the router. If you are behind a router belonging to your ISP (ie given a LAN IP address for your network), then the WAN IP address may not be useful.
RefreshOutlineColours() is a new OLE/COM method. It re-reads the outline colours from the registry and re-draws the outline if an outline is being displayed. This allows external processes to change the outline colours and for the new colours to be displayed immediately, rather than only after restarting PlanePlotter.

QNH button
The QNH button now reloads the QNH from the server rather than from a local cache so it will track changes of QNH.

Regards, Bev, COAA
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Older PP Version Info.

v6.4.1.4 [24-12-13]:

New in version

When initiating Mlats from the "a" window, local data is now included in the solution. Previously, it was only included in Mlats initiated from the View..Aircraft and View..Chart windows.

The symbols "<" ">" characters are removed from registrations and replaced with "{" "}" to avoid derailing the GoogleMap parser with bogus XML tags.

The "p" window now displays altitude graphs for both Interested aircraft and any designated aircraft. Previously only Interested aircraft were graphed.

Options..Sharing..Setup now allows you to upload data to multiple servers. Previously only one additional server could be designated. Note that if you have a very large number of active aircraft and if you enable sharing to all optional servers, it may lead to sluggish behaviour, depending on your available computer resources and the response time of the chosen servers.

Thanks to all those users who have reported infelicities or have requested new features for this new release.

This would be a good time to wish all readers a very Happy Christmas.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.4.1.2 [07-10-13]:

New in version

This version includes enhancements to the SMU [ Sector Master User ] autolat 
system allowing an individual SMU to increase its output considerably

One SMU can now produce up to 40 Mlats per cycle where the number of ground 
stations permit.

An example can be seen here:-

In this three frame animation , covering about ten minutes , all the auto 
mlats , circled in white , are being created by one SMU covering from the 
Scottish border right down to the south coast.
This allows one SMU to give cover from 5000 feet upwards , whilst  others 
can be configured as fill-ins for more detailed , lower  level illumination.

In addition , with the new dual level settings its possible to  look at 
certain areas , from ground  up to a pre determined transition level.....or 
alternatively set upper and lower limts to target corridors at specific 
flight levels.

Once we are all on version we can start to introduce even more 
SMU features/ configs.

When upgrading , close PP save the new version to hard drive , execute the 
new version installer making sure the files are going to the right place , 
then start this point cycle through the sharing button a few times 
leaving it in the upload/download state.

The whole process takes just a couple of minutes.

There is a tutorial here:-

This guides you through the upgrade process. In fact Nic [Storey] has put
together a full package of tutorials covering most aspects of PlanePlotter:-

Please take some time out to study them.

As always , many thanks to Nic.

The new version is available to all users of course and release notes will follow, but SMUs should treat this upgrade as a priority.

Regards, John/Bev.
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v6.4.1.0 [30-09-13]:

New in version

Controllable SMU clock calibration tolerance.
The SMU clock calibration allows us to relax the conditions for an SMU running with dongle-based Ground Stations to improve the performance of the system.

New preset in secondary sharing setup.
A button in the sharing setup dialog sets up FlightAware in the secondary sharer box. PlaneFinder and FlightRadar24 are already buttons in that dialog.

Suppress ACARS ADS lookup when no hex code is known.
The ACARS lookup suppression should fix the problem with ACARS messages flagging "Interested" when they should not.

Show route in the SPI report.
If an aircraft squawks "ident" and if it has a known route, then the route will appear alongside the status bar message about the SPI.

Log TCP client auto restarts.
The logging of restarts allows users to monitor when their receiver TCP/IP connection fails and is automatically restarted by PlanePlotter.

Setup wizard for the RTL dongle via RTL1090 and RPi/dump1090.
Two extra options in the Setup Wizard allow RTL dongle users to set up from scratch more easily.

Thanks to all those users who have reported infelicities or have requested new features incorporated in this new release.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.9.2 [21-08-13]:

New in version

OLE/COM delivers sharer list regardless of length.

New in version

Handle lookup of positionless aircraft.

New in version 6.3.9

GetDisplayParameter option 6 returns Super MU states.

UDP enquiry returns Super MU states.

Fix problem with sort on signal strength.

Add global aircraft search.

Add magnetic heading interpretation.

Fix problem whereby SMU gets stuck.

Further trial period for new users.

Quick buttons for secondary sharer setup.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.8 [28-05-13]:

New in version 6.3.8

Warning re server connection shown in status bar if automatic restart.

Fix "u" window for Beast absolute time tags.

Fix "S" window for Beast absolute time tags.

Send Beast/Cape setup switches if connected by TCP .

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.7 [03-05-13]:

New in version 6.3.7

Fix for a problem for SMUs and MUs if the ISP changes the WAN IP address.

Save the message rate window state on close down and restore it on restart.

Additional message rate window scale to 5000 messages per second. The rate scale is varied by clicking on the meter display.

New Mode-S option for RTL>RPi>dump1090>PP configuration.
Please tell me if you are using this configuration as a Ground Station because I need to insert a calibration factor for the raw data time tags on your system.

Enable RTL>RPi>dump1090>PP to operate a Ground Station.
Please make sure that you use the new Mode-S option (above) when using this feature.

Hide blue SPI rings when the aircraft is not plotted on the chart. Previously, SPI rings appeared around "ghost" aircraft.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.6 [22-03-13]:

New in version 6.3.6:

This release fixes the memory leak when displaying the "a" window with flags shown.

This release also resets the 21 day trial timer. If you have not yet registered PlanePlotter, this release will give you another 21 days to test the non-sharing features of the program.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.5a [01-03-13]:

v6.3.5a - Under some circumstances, PlanePlotter 6.3.5 unintentionally generates a large data file called dflist.txt. This is a diagnostic file not intended for normal use.
This version corrects this error on my part. Bev.

New in version 6.3.5 (Minor Updates):

Save and restore RtlIP:port.

Close QNH file so it can be re-read by pressing button.

Rrestore criteria for Mode-A/C from RTL1090 (msg rate increased).

Option not to recenter chart on Mlats.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.4a [22-01-13]:

New in version 6.3.4a:
Minor bug fix!

New in version 6.3.4:

The criteria for displaying Mode-A/C reports from the RTL dongle via RTL1090 have been relaxed. RTL1090 already provides filtering for the Mode-A/C reports and so the filtering in PlanePlotter is not required.

A bug in the DF20/21 message processing was retricting the decoding of flight numbers in those messages. This really only affected situations where a Mode-S - but non-ADS-B - aircraft was interrogated from the ground for this specific message format and where the crew had entered their flight number into their Mode-S transponder. This release fixes that bug. Most users will probably not notice the difference.

A new option under Options..Mode-S..RTL dongle allows you to specify the IP address and the port number for the RTL1090 installation that is operating the RTL dongle. This means that it is now possible to operate PlanePlotter on a different machine from the one that RTL1090 is running on. Be aware that if you do this, the data will be tagged as local. If you are operating as a Ground Station, it is very important that the "Home location" set into PlanePlotter must be the antenna location of the receving setup. If the new feature is used to control a remote instance of RTL1090 and the RTL dongle, then be sure to use the coordinates of the receiving antenna otherwise Multilateration will be disrupted by the incorrect coordinates and you will be blocked as a GS/MU.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.3 [23-12-12]:

New in version 6.3.3:

Improved SDR channel scanning for the SBS3

This version uses the new implementation of the signal strength data from the SBS3 introduced in the latest Kinetic firmware release. It greatly improves the channel scanning rate when using PlanePlotter to scan channels with the SBS3 software defined receivers.

Additional SPI feature for the Beast receiver

This version supports the SPI ("Ident") bit in Mode-A/C messages decoded by the latest (forthcoming?) firmware in the Beast.

RTL1090 monitor

This version notifies the server if a user is running Andy's RTL1090 utility but has configured PlanePlotter to process data from the Beast. Users of the RTL1090 utility should configure PlanePlotter to process data with the "RTL dongle" option in Options..I/O settings otherwise time tags are incorrectly interpreted and discarded.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.2 [20-12-12]:

New in version 6.3.2:

This version includes support for Andy's RTL1090 utility driving the RTL dongle. You will find the RTL dongle selection at the end of the list of receiver types in the PlanePlotter..Options..I/O settings dialog.

If you have build 62 of RTL1090, the RTL dongle can also be used as a Ground Station. To do that, you have to start RTL1090 with the following command line switch : "/multilat1" to turn on the time tags that are required for Mlats.

Having started RTL1090, make sure that you see the remark : Commandline: /multilat1 in the data box and then press the Start button.

If you want to automate the starting of RTL1090, you can use the command line : "/multilat1 /run /min" which enables the Mlat clock, starts processing and minimizes the RTL1090 utility.

In PlanePlotter, as well as defining the receiver type as "RTL dongle", to be a Ground Station you will also need to enable "Raw data" - both in the PlanePlotter..Options..I/O settings dialog.

You can then start PlanePlotter processing and you can try performing the GS/MU test in the Help dialog (PlanePlotter..Help..Test networking) to check that raw data is being provided.

Please bear in mind that the RTL dongle cannot perform as well as a dedicated Mode-S receiver but with a price tag that may be less than a tenth of other receiver types, it enables you to try the system with your own local data.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.3.1 [08-12-12]:

New in version 6.3.1:

The main change is to allow the use of low level Mlat sectors which will be rolled out in due course , once the majority of users have upgraded.

As always close PP down the new version to hard drive , execute the new version from your hard drive , then once the software has unpacked , you should be ready to go.

As a routine , it is recommended to always close the new version once it has unpacked , then run PP from my desktop shortcut...go to Help..about Planeplotter and make sure that it indicates I'm running 6.3.1 , then finally after starting PP , if a GS , run the GS/MU test.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.2.9 [11-11-12]:

New in version 6.2.9:

Display of the company flag based on the flight number now checks for a digit in 4th place to avoid confusion with 'special' flight numbers with similar first three letters.

New conditional expression noun "in zone" ("inz") which has the value "1" if the aircraft is inside the user-defined alert zone. It can be used to make more intricate alerts which will trigger on, say, all aircraft in your zone as well as certain aircraft outside of the zone. It could also trigger on aircraft that are in the zone and below a certain altitude, for example.

New conditional expression value "elevation" ("ele") which has the value of the angle in degrees of the aircraft above the horizon as seen from the Home Location. This can be used to trigger an alert, or only display, aircraft that are above some local horizon, which you may make a function of azimuth.

This version can handle up to six SDR channels with the latest SBS3 firmware.

Toolbar button "Share" has an additional step for download only operation. The sequence is now No sharing : Up and down sharing : Sharing upload only : Sharing download only. The arrows on the button are, I hope, self explanatory.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.2.8 [19-09-12]:

Version 6.2.8 of PlanePlotter adds sharing of the vertical speed component where it is available.

If you have your own receiver you will get the climb and descent data in the APR e.g. Alt 675' (+3456 fpm).

You'll also see the nose of local a/c change colour , brown ...descent,

With this new facility this data is passed though the network , so even shared traffic will show this info.

There is a will take a short time for everyone to upgrade to v6.2.8. so not all areas will show the new data until upgrades have been completed.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.2.7.4 [05-09-12]:

The Help file has more details on the changes but here is a brief summary:

For users who are using a version of basestation.sqb that is not in the current format, PlanePlotter will try to add the OperatorFlagCode column to the nominated basestation.sqb
if it is not present. There is a tacit assumption that the nominated database is in a writable directory.

Any existing company flag name is now loaded into the aircraft edit dialog when it opens.

There is an additional flags option to use the flight number prefix, if present, to retrieve the company flag symbol if there is no OperatorFlagcode entry in the database for the aircraft.

There is a new command line switch of the form "/config A" etc, that allows you to have up to four desktop icons that can open PlanePlotter in different configurations. Please read and understand the caveats regarding the ABCD configurations before attempting to use this feature.

Any ACARS messages received from a network connected SBS3 are now sent to the nominated UDP output, if enabled.

This version of PlanePlotter should handle the alternate absolute time code format from the Radarcape.

Regards, Bev.
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v6.2.7.3 [27-08-12]:

Having spent the last few days assessing comments from users who have various designs and sizes of Operator / Company Flags this new version is released.

Now, in Options ...Fonts you can not only decide which font you want to use but also select the size.

By doing this you'll see that for example , a size 12 font in the a/c list gives you a full 85x20 field to view your ops flags whilst retaining the chart label size as defined in Chart options.

This should accomodate the larger ops flags and also the smaller, deeper ones. When changing the font for "alerts" please close PP then reopen it for the changes to take effect.

Regards, John Locker.
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v6.2.7.2 [24-08-12]:

There are a couple of small changes to the previous version:

The facility of 'Company flags' to view..aircraft and "a" window added.

The possibility of using company/operator flags in PlanePlotter has cropped up a number of times over the last couple of years, both on the discussion groups and also at fairs and events attended by the PlanePlotter stand.

Bev has now had chance to look at the coding needed and has come up with a solution.

Operator flags are completely new to both Bev and I, so it has been a steep learing curve.

To assist those who are in a similar position, but want to know more, here is a brief run down on how the system works. I have tried to explain it in basic terms, but please be aware, if you are an operator flag newbie too, there's a bit of reading and preparation needed.

For SBS3 owners who wish to run their receiver using the ethernet link, with Basestation turned off, you'll now be able to see your operator flags via PlanePlotter.

How does PP operator flags work?

There are a number of basic steps to the system First PP looks in your aircrfat database sqb file to see if there are any ICAO operator codes in your database.These codes identify the operator. If the code is there, PP looks in the operator flag folder[ SQBOpFlags ] to see if there is an associated bitmap flag.

So, it stands to reason that there is a bit of work to be done on your sqb file if you want this to operate. Unfortunately the ICAO operator code is not transmitted in the Mode S packets. You will need to enter the required codes into your sqb file [if you do not already have them]; No gain!

Its a labour intensive job to enter these codes as I have found out in the last few days in order to prepare a test sqb.....however over a two day period I managed to populate about 16000 it can be done !


Either manually, using the appropriate section in the edit suite of the Aircraft Position Report in PP.....APR.....Edit.....Company Flag.

Manually using Basestation Reporter [if you are using SBS] or using the Basestation edit facility.

Automatically using one of the third party database programmes such as SBS populate, which is free from the Gatwick Aviation Society [ GAS } website, AD Lite etc.


Having populated your sqb with the ICAO operator code data you are now ready to move to stage 2.

I mentioned in the introduction that there were two parts to the process.....the ICAO code and the flag itself. There are many different flags in various designs available from Mode S enthusiasts sites. The good thing is that most use the standard 85x20 pixel format, which is the field size provided by PP.

A good way to start is by downloading the SBS Resources pack from HERE.

Unzip the pack to C Drive, then open the folder and find, in the Files section,

Unzip that so that you have a new folder SQBOpFlags. Copy that and paste it into your main PP folder open SQBOpFlags and you'll see hundreds of tiny operator flags and silhouettes.

[If PP can't find an operator flag, it will look for an a/c silhoutte based on the ICAO a/c type].

Close the folder.

All that remains now is to point PlanePlotter to the right place for the SQBOpFlags files and your sqb database file:

Options...Flags...Define Company Flags and navigate to wherever you have placed the SQBOpFlags folder.
Options flags ... Enable Company Flags.

Now provided you have the correct tags in your sqb file as defined in Options.... Directories .... sqb Aircraft Database, when you start PP the flags should appear?!


The operator flag field will appear automatically in the a/c list. It is also available in the pop up "a" window, but you'll need to select it in "View A/c Data Window"..... "Aircraft List Options". Find the flag2 column and position it in your a/c data window as you to the callsigns perhaps.

Save and close the A/c list options Window.

Start planePlotter.

If all the above steps have been followed correctly, the operator flags should start to appear as your aircraft list populates.

It should look something like this......

Regards, John Locker.
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v6.2.7.1 [06-08-12]:

There are a couple of small changes to the previous version:

DDE output from more receiver types.

Remove block on hex codes 000000 and 000001.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.9 [15-07-12]:

There are a number of small changes to the previous version which include:

Inhibit sbs3 transmission if BS is running.

Allow raw data if SBS/RBv3 connection.

Fix calibration error when switching chart/outline/chart.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.8 [07-07-12]:

There are a number of small changes to the previous version which include:
(Details to follow)

SBS3 scanning:

Adds the ability to use the SBS3 SDRs as a scanning receiver.

Time stamp in View..Messages (ACARS).

SPI noted on status bar so that non-plotters are identified.

Fix edit of flight number.

Registrations compressed in reports rather than truncated.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.7 [16-06-12]:

There are a number of new features.

"Squawk Ident!":

If you have a suitable receiver, aircraft that are asked to "Squawk Ident" will be identified on the chart or outline using the "Highlight" feature in PlanePlotter. A set of concentric circles will surround the aircraft symbol fading away over 10 seconds. The same highlight will occur if the aircraft changes its allocated squawk. If an aircraft is in an emergency situation, the highlight will persist for as long as the emergency lasts.

ATC frequency sectors:

You can now define your own ATC sectors (name, boundaries, comms frequency) and using those definitions PlanePlotter will display the communications frequency(ies) for any aircraft that you designate (double click) in the status bar. The Help file describes how to define the sectors and how PlanePlotter uses the information. "Options..ATC sector frequencies..Add ATC sector frequency" allows the boundary data to be entered graphically so if you have a map of the sectors, entering the data need not involve handling the numbers. More interestngly perhaps, if you have an SBS3, PlanePlotter will tune the SDRs automatically so that you can monitor the transmissions from the designated aircraft as it proceeds from sector to sector. In case you wondered, you can reserve SDRs if, for example, you are receiving ACARS or marine AIS with one of the SDRs. In that case, PP will use the remaining SDRs only. There are some subtleties in setting this up so I would urge anyone who is interested, to read the Help file carefully. I had hoped to offer a sample data file to go with this release but although a number of users have kindly contributed sector/frequency information in various formats, I have not accumulated enough information, apart from here in Iberia, to make it plug and play. This means that, as so often, getting the most out of this new feature requires a modicum of effort.

Google-Earth cockpit view:

The "High" view setting is now 0 degrees, rather than -10 degrees.

OLE/COM changes:

There is now a new parameter in the SetDisplaySettings method that executes the F7 function. This allows you to make PlanePlotter select the best chart automatically using a simple script which would facilitate tracking a designated aircraft when using the "Centre chart on designated aircraft" option.

The recently added supplementary parameters are now accessible via the GetPlaneData methods.

There are other minor editorial and administrative changes.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.6b [31-05-12]:

There are a number of interesting new features in this release.

New parameters from the Mode-S downlink:

Following encouragement from Jetvision's Andy, I have dug out some additional parameters from the DF20/21 Mode-S messages. These parameters include True Air Speed (TAS), magnetic heading, bank angle (roll) and, by derivation, Outside Air Temperature (OAT).

It is important to understand that the data derived from DF20/21 frames is subject to a number of caveats. These messages are elicited from the ground and will only be received in areas of the world where those message types are being requested by the ground radar site(s). The messages themselves do not generally have a unique identifier to define their content; of course the interrogating radar site knows which message was requested, but PlanePlotter has to guess which message it is, by applying various confidence checks to the putative data content. As such, it is possible for PlanePlotter to guess the content wrongly and for these values to be completely spurious. The data should be interpreted accordingly. In addition, the update rate for these additional values may be much slower than for the other data, so the values may be significantly out of date. In the descent, it is possible that the aircraft will cease to be covered by the radar that was performing the interrogation of these values and then the parameters will be frozen at their last values. Considerable care needs to be applied in interpreting these values. I hope nobody will complain if they are sometimes obviously wrong.

These new values are generally displayed on the Airrep dialog that opens when you right click on an aircraft on the chart.

The roll (bank) angle is also displayed in the status bar if you designate an aircraft. As the extra data may cause the available space to be exceeded, the data on the designated aircraft will scroll if it does not fit statically in the status bar. The roll angle is also now used in the Google-Earth cockpit view so that the virtual view from the cockpit window now banks realistically when the aircraft is turning (always subject to the caveats above).

For aircraft yielding these new values we obtain the useful combination of ground speed and true track together with true air speed and magnetic heading. By using a global model of the magnetic variation, PlanePlotter obtains two true vectors (ground speed/track and air speed/heading) whose difference is the wind vector at that location and altitude.

To exploit this information, the "W" window, that used to display simply a wind rose, now adds wind arrows on any aircraft plot that includes all the relevant data. It also adds the OAT to the labelling whenever the "W" window is open.

If you are interested in upper winds and temperature, you can turn off all the aircraft labels in Options..Chart..Options (except perhaps for the altitude, to show the level that the wind is being measured) and also set the plane symbol size to something small (eg 0.4), then, always subject to the caveats above, it produces a rather nice weather map. The PlanePlotter web site has a screen grab showing the result.

I need to reiterate the caveats. The buffers that come down in the Mode-S messages are in response to a request from the ground and only the ground knows which buffer was requested. PlanePlotter tries to guess which buffer is being received and there are a number of confidence tests that PlanePlotter applies but it can still get it wrong; not often, but it is a gross error when it happens. The values are only polled by the ground at intervals. PlanePlotter does not record the update time of every parameter and there are circumstances where some parameters might be out of date. For example, if the descending aircraft loses sight of the interrogating radar during the final turn, the roll angle may stick at the 20° or so, even on finals, giving a startling view in Google-Earth. Even more spectacularly, if the TAS and magnetic heading are last polled on base leg and the aircraft then turns onto finals, you can guess that the difference between those two very different vectors yields a rather scary and improbable wind vector. Such is the nature of the available data and there is no point in complaining to me about it.

Bearing those caveats in mind, I hope you will enjoy the new parameters.

Other changes:

PlanePlotter now checks before you start a ping log file that you are happy for it to delete the existing ping log files. This should reduce the chance of accidentally losing hard won log files.

The option in Options..I/O settings...Mode-S has been changed from "SBS3 direct" label to "SBS1/3 direct" to be less confusing when that access option is used for SBS1 receivers to access the new parameters.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.5 [27-05-12]:

There are a number of interesting new features in this release.

Beamfinder Plus S:

This is the third member of the "Beamfinder trilogy".

You may recall that the Beamfinder method identifies the radar site from the IID embedded in some DF11 air-ground messages. This often only works for aircraft outside of the radar's area of interest and in some areas, eg. Germany, clustering of radar sites makes the IIDs ambiguous and therefore the method unusable.

Beamfinder Plus uses the interval between Mode-A pings to identify the radar site. This requires a Mode-A capable receiver (currently Beast and SBS3) and Mode-A radars in the area. In parts of Europe, Mode-A is becoming passé and some flights are using non-unique conspicuity squawks. In some areas, eg. USA, the Mode-S/A/C radars interrogate aircraft in a way that means that Mode-S equipped aircraft do not respond with Mode-A pings.

It is hoped that the new feature, Beamfinder Plus S, will be useful in areas where one or other of the previous methods are not productive. Beamfinder Plus S operates like Beamfinder Plus but uses the time interval between Mode-S responses to identify the radar site. Unlike Beamfinder Plus this should work with most receivers that are able to give raw data with time tags.

There are some things to bear in mind. Given that Mode-S interrogations are addressed to an individual aircraft, different radar sites might employ different polling strategies which might influence the efficacy of the method. For example, the method relies on recognising the pulse interval as manifested by the messages coming from the aircraft but, if the ground radar only interrogates each aircraft once or at at non-uniform intervals, the method will fail. A number of Mode-S messages are broadcast (eg DF17, DF11) so not all such messages are responding to interrogations, which may have repercussions for the ability of PlanePlotter to distinguish the pulse interval of the ground based interrogations.

To see if there is a chance of the method working for you, press "S" (upper case) to see if there are characteristic pulse intervals that are consistent among the messages that your receiver is detecting. To see if they look plausible, press "y" (after allowing enough time for PlanePlotter to accumulate meaningful statistics on the prevailing pulse intervals), and choose a pulse interval to see if it looks like a rotating pattern of snowflakes.

As with the other two Beamfinder methods, using BF+S requires some effort on your part to derive the required "radar.txt" file suitable for your location, for this method to work. If doing so was too difficult for the previous Beamfinder methods, then this feature may not be for you.

SBS3 ACARS input (Ethernet):

If you have an SBS3 with the 115 firmware, then by following the ACARS tuning information from Kinetic and connecting the receiver via Ethernet will insert ACARS messages into PlanePlotter from as many channels as you tune in the receiver setup. As far as I know, the ACARS data does not come out of the BaseStation 170 raw data port so the method only works if PlanePlotter is connected to the receiver directly.

Target altitude and barometer setting (quite fun):

PlanePlotter seeks to identify the Mode-S message type that is used to reply to ground interrogations requesting the target altitude ("cleared to") as input by the flight deck crew into the FMS. It is important to understand that such messages are among several types that are elicited from the ground but which are not uniquely identifiable on the downlink side.

Of course, the interrogator knows which type of message was demanded and is able to interpret the reply accordingly. PlanePlotter has to guess so there is a chance that it may be mistaken and that the data is garbage. Having said that, it seems to guess correctly most of the time. If PlanePlotter decides that the information is there, it will display the target altitude alongside the actual altitude on the chart provided that the actual and target altitudes are different.

If you are listening to ATC, you will usually see that within a second or so of a descent clearance being given, the new target level is shown on the chart. You can measure the response time of the crew by watching that happen.

For example, the label "FL285>170" denotes that the aircraft is descending through FL285 with a current target altitude limit of FL170. Note that in the landing phase, the data is not generally updated so the value displayed is the last explicit descent limit. Note also that not all flight deck crew update the FMS, for example if they are flying the aircraft by hand. Note also that the target altitude is reported in multiples of 16 feet so when seen in the Airrep dialog, odd thousands will have a small resolution error. For example, 3000' is reported as 3008 feet. Even thousands can be specified precisely as multiples of 16.

The same message type usually conveys the current pressure setting of the altimeter. This would normally be set to 1013.2hP in the cruise and then set to the destination QNH in the descent when given by ATC. In countries where QFE is used (UK?) it may be that the barometer setting will be that. The barometric pressure setting is displayed in the Airrep dialog that you see when you right click on an aircraft. As with the target altitude, the barometer setting is not always updated by the flight deck crew when you might expect that it would be. Some crews appear to leave the barometer setting on the departure QNH throughout the cruise.

Report file time span:

Files..Report..Setup now includes an option to change the report file or first/last database file names more often than once per day. You can now set PlanePlotter to create separate files at 1, 3, 6, 12 or 24 hourly intervals.

Bug fixes:

The File..Recover lost windows menu item should now work even if the lost windows are still open.

The chance of data replayed from a log file being accidentally inserted into the sharing system should now be close to zero.

A bug whereby PlanePlotter crashed if you tried to read a very large alert zone definition file has been fixed.


Please note that the additional data being processed is likely to increase the memory and CPU load of PlanePlotter. If your installation was resource limited before, this version may be too much.

Please also note that some of the new features require testing in more areas and with a greater variety of receivers than has been done up to now. Your feedback is welcome and we all hope to learn more about how these features work in practice.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.4 [15-05-12]:

This version fixes a bug in that inhibited downloads when an aircraft was also being received locally. The bug had a particularly adverse effect on the display of Mlats in the local area if you also have your own a receiver.

Master Users who have their own receivers are particularly urged to update to this version as soon as possible. Otherwise they are missing the considerable increase in the number of Mlats that recent system improvements have yielded.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.3 [10-05-12]:

There are a number of small changes to the previous version.

The vertical speed token within a conditional expression now works as intended. Vertical speed is also now included in the optional log file.

There are some editorial changes to the Title Bar annunciation.

If PlanePlotter is a TCP client of a networked receiver, it will disconnect and reconnect if no messages are received for five minutes on the assumption that the TCP connection has failed. This should assist users with remote receivers.

The chart/outline display following Tools...Analyse..Display ping log file now includes a marker at the estimated position of the radar site (point of convergence of the red lines). Please read the Help file to understand how to use and interpret this new feature. In particular note that, unlike the other analysis tools, this feature works best with ping log files of several MB.

Unregistered users will be able to try this version for a further 21 days from today even if they have tried earlier versions and have previously used up their 21-day evaluation period.

There are a number of changes affecting only users who are participating in the experimental Sector Master User (SMU) scheme. An active SMU will no longer execute Auto Mlats. SMU fixes are now accepted if they fall with the SMU's area of responsibility; previously the acceptance criterion was somewhat stricter leading to fewer fixes. After each SMU cycle, the new fixes resulting from each cycle are circled with a large white circle. This provides SMUs with some feedback on how they are contributing. In a few cases, the volume of data processed by this version may be more than before. SMUs will be encouraged to know that the number of Mlat fixes per day is 80% greater than it was before the SMU experiments began.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.6.2 [24-04-12]:

This version corrects a minor bug in v6.2.6.1 - if you installed that please update!

There are a number of minor changes since the last release:

SMU activation acknowledgement.

Increase the number of GSs that an SMU can handle.

Restart BF/+ fixes on designation in "a" window.

Fix the ambiguity when clicking on a filtered list.

Increase the string length in registry saving to accommodate long condex.

Display tentative condex in "no result" message .

Condex string literals now case sensitive.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.9 [17-04-12]:

There are a number of minor changes since the last release:

The BF/BF+ fix process is reset on change of designated aircraft.

Auto registration for German hex codes is restricted to the valid range.

Log formats and names have been reationalised.

The timing of Super MU requests has been changed.

Super MU progress information is now displayed in the status bar, not in a pop-up window. It also now reports the number of fixes that were accepted.

HFDL position reports are now sent as dummy Mode-S position reports to the optional TCP output.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.8 [10-04-12]:

Changes since the last release:

Remember to close PP before attempting to install the new version.

According to the Help file, the changes are mainly bug fixes and cosmetic improvements.

+ friendlier initial run (advise green button, grey label default, auto udp input dummy, gently warn of lack of authentication).

+ fixes bug in "C" window whereby the labels disappeared sometimes.

+ improved chart appearance when zoomed far out.

+ check for out-of-range hex to registration conversion.

+ provision for Super MU.

+ increase Mlat raw data buffer size.

+ correct bug in altitudes for Mlat reference aircraft.

+ correct hex to registration conversion D-Jxxx -> D-Kxxx.

+ fix bug in RPN parser (for eLaReF).

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.7 [18-03-12]:

Changes since the last release:

Options..Chart..Download G-M/OSM Map:
If your machine is connected to the Internet, you can use this option to download a map of the area covered by the current display. The toolbar button has the same effect.

By default, the Map button downloads a Google-Map(tm) of the current area.

If you hold down the Control key while pressing the Map button, PlanePlotter will download a Google map which is slightly larger than the current screen area. This means that you can drag the new map around without immediately falling off the edge of the map.

If you hold down the left shift key while pressing the Map button, PlanePlotter will download a Google satellite image of the current area.

If you hold down the Control key and the left shift key while pressing the Map button, PlanePlotter will download a Google satellite image which covers a slightly bigger area than the current screen.

If you hold down the right shift key while pressing the Map button, PlanePlotter will download an OSM map of the current area.

If you hold down the Control key and the right shift key while pressing the Map button, PlanePlotter will download an OSM map which covers a slightly bigger area than the current screen.

The map will be saved in the specified chart directory and can be reloaded later.

The criterion for adding a new hex code to the internal database from low-level type receivers has been tightened up.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.6 [14-03-12]:

There are a selection of new features in this version:

View..Chart Index:
View..Chart index overlays red boxes over your current chart or outline. The boxes define the borders of all of the calibrated charts in your current chart directory. (If you use rotated charts, the boundaries will be approximate). You can zoom in to the current view to resolve any confusion of overlapping boxes. You can double click on the northwest (top left) corner of any of the red boxes to open that particular chart. It is hoped that this feature will make it easier to use archived OSM or G-M charts that are saved with anonymous date-time file names.

F7 fixed and improved:
The F7 key now works as intended. It will work with both a current chart or outline and retrieves the largest scale map to be found in the current chart directory that encompasses the point at the centre of the current chart. This too might help in recovering anonymous OSM G-M charts that you once downloaded of, for example, airfield close-ups.

User control of shared data:
Options..Sharing..Setup now includes a new checkbox to enable/disable incoming registrations and type codes. Users who are sensitive to receiving incorrect registrations or types coming from other users' inaccurate databases can now protect themselves. Any additional support requests resulting from misuse of this feature will require the person who requested it to pay a forfeit.

Additional Conditional Expression token:
A new token "flag" (abbreviation "flg") in any conditional expression allows you to control the display, logging, reporting, alerting of any aircraft that is, or is not, defined in the current flag definition file. For this feature is it not necessary to have flag displays enabled; it is simply necessary to have defined the flag definition file. The term "flag = 0" will be true if the hex code is *not* in the flag definition file and the term "flag = 1" will be true if the hex code *is* in the flag definition file.

Other changes:
If you overlay a ping log file, the ping log file name shows in the title bar. This should facilitate analysis of radar sites.

The log (bin) option in Options..I/O settings is now enabled for the correct selection of receiver types.

The "Plot isolated position reports" option is now disabled for the most sentitive receiver types where the CPR ambiguity can otherwise lead to incorrect positions being plotted.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.5 [07-03-12]:

Changes since the last release:

This version adds the (currently undocumented) extra feature that the new G-M button, if you hold down the shift key while clicking on the button, downloads the satellite image from G-M, rather than the street map, which you get otherwise.

The same image size restriction applies, before anyone asks.

The satellite image is good for airfield layouts, which unlike on the OSM maps, are largely blank on the G-M street map.

Several recent posts regarding the the G-M map obscuring the aircraft symbols appear to have overlooked the "Transparency" feature in PP. Look it up.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.4 [03-03-12]:

Important Changes since the last release:

The bad news is that the 'OSM' mapping system has been withdrawn by its creators and is no fault whatsoever of the PlanePlotters management that this feature fails to function!

However the excellent, free, support you get as a subscriber has, yet again, been surpassed by Bev so here is the good news ...

"This update replaces the OSM support with Google-Maps (tm).

The appearance of the maps is, inevitably, quite different from the OSM maps. I have already received seriously abusive emails blaming me for stopping the OSM function from working. In case it is still not clear to anyone, the change was not of my making and was completely outside of my control. I offer this alternative in the hope that it will fill the gap even though it is not a direct replacement.

NOTE: Perhaps I should remind users who particularly mourn the loss of the OSM feature that, unless you have done something about it, all your previous OSM map extracts will be in your chart directory. Browse them with Windows Explorer (select Extra Large Icons so that you can recognise the map area without opening it) and make a note of those that you particularly cherish. You can then open them with File..Open or define them as Quick chart buttons with Options..Charts..Quick..Define and continue to enjoy the OSM format of those areas that you need."

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.3 [11-02-12]:

Changes since the last release:

A few bug fixes this time.

Corrected airspeed decode for DF17:19:3

Fix Review..Today..Alerts double click in the list box

Fix spurious signal strength display using SBS3 direct

Corrected II/SI labelling in MySky

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.2 [05-02-12]:

Changes since the last release:

Review Today Alerts fixed.

SBS3 Mode-A/C support.

Fix bug whereby shared aircraft that are new to us could acquire Interested status.

Remove "No designated aircraft" message.

Add group membership to radar.txt ZZ entries.

Space in alert box for 3-leg routes.

Fix bug on stopping processing with "u" window open.

Save F12 state.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5.1 [28-01-12]:

Version fixes a few issues:
[It is highly recommended for GSs who are using AVR style receivers]

Fixed "ding" when system sound is defined as "None".

Fixed bug in 6.2.5 whereby some AVR receivers failed raw data test.

Fixed long standing bug whereby receivers that were not providing the time tag for Mlat, still incremented the raw data counter in the status bar.

Ctrl-Q refreshes aircraft using the Aircraft and Route databases. Use if you update the databases outside of PP to force PP to adopt the changes.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.5 [25-01-12]:

Changes since the last public release:

SBS3 direct access:
This version of PP will operate the Kinetic SBS3 receiver without the need for the Kinetic BaseStation (tm) software to run alongside it. You need to configure the Ethernet port of the SBS3 using BaseStation, but having done so, you can operate the receiver with PP alone. (Big thanks to John L for infinite patience in testing this feature over and over again and for allowing me to access his SBS3 over the 'net to try to figure out how it works.)

Condex changes:
New OLE-COM Condex method:-
There is a new OLE-COM method "SetCondex()" which allows you to control any of the conditional expressions from a script. For example, if you copy the following into a text file called condex.vbs and double click on it, you will see that the chart/outline display shows, successively, all aircraft, military aircraft, high level aircraft and low level aircraft, spending around 3 seconds on each one.

Dim MyObject
Set MyObject = GetObject(,"PlanePlotter.Document")
while (1)
MyObject.SetCondex("Chart:") ' shows all aircraft
MyObject.SetCondex("Chart:ICAO hex code equal to ""AE%"" or ICAO hex code
equal to ""43C%""") ' shows UK and US mil aircraft wscript.sleep(3000) MyObject.SetCondex("Chart:altitude > 25000") ' shows all high level aircraft wscript.sleep(3000) MyObject.SetCondex("Chart:altitude < 10000") ' shows all low level aircraft wscript.sleep(3000) wend '--------------
The asterisk key "*" now toggles the application of the list conditional expression if the "a" window has the focus, regardless of whether the View..List is currently showing in the main window or not.
I have fixed a bug whereby the quick condex keys (1-9,0) failed to take effect in the case of the alert condex, if there was not already an alert condex defined in the regular dialog.
The scale of the signal strength parameter that is tested in the condex, is now the same as the scale when displayed on the chart. Previously, it was in the range 0-210 (like the OLE COM values) rather than 0-99 (like the chart and list).

"a" window setup options:
The "a" window setup (View..Aircraft data window..Setup) now adds the Cat and Sig values as options.

Signal strength display:
The signal strength value is no longer shown if the aircraft ceases to be received locally.

More Flags:
This version allows you to define more flags than previous versions. Be aware that having very long lists of flags, might result in excessive demands being placed on your processor. If that happens, reduce the number of flags or disable the flags option.

New display for BF+ analysis:
The option Tools..Analyse..Display ping log file now displays radial lines joing any pairs of aircraft that pinged almost simultaneously. Since it follows that the two must lie close to the same radial from the radar site, the radial lines should all point towards the site. While this display is enabled, the cursor also acquires a set of radial lines so that you can estimate the position of the site by making the cursor radials match the display radials. I am indebted to Andy of Jetvision for suggesting this disiplay.

BF/BF+ fixes:
A bug whereby BF/BF+ fixes were overwritten by subsequent regular Mode-S reports, thus preventing further fixes, has been removed. It should now be possible to leave PP executing a series of BF/BF+ fixes to construct a track for the chosen aircraft.

Fewer SQLite lookups:
To relieve the processor load when performing SQlite lookups, the number of lookups have been curtailed. This may mean that PP fails to display updated information if the SQLite database is changed outside of PP. If this is a problem for a significant number of users, let me know.

NAT tracks:
This is a change in the server script. The NAT track system waypoints are now labelled with the track letter and the waypoint coordinate/name.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.4.2 [13-01-12]:

Photographic background for MySky:
You can use a JPG or BMP photograph of your actual sky view as the background to the MySky display. Study the Help file to learn how to use a photograph or panorama in this way.

Conditional expression quick keys:
The keyboard keys '1' to '9' and '0' can be used to invoke one of ten predefined conditional expressions, which you compose in a simple text file called 'condex.txt'. The ten numeric keys retrieve the condex contained in the corresponding line of the text file ('0' = 10th line). Study the Help file to understand how to tell PP which function eack quick key applies to.

AVI recording:
You can now define the frame interval and the frame rate for AVI recordings of the PP window. Options..Graphics output..AVI..Setup.

Beast/AVR file replay:
The file that is captured if you enable Log Mode-S(bin) when using the Beast or other AVR receiver, can now be replayed under the Review menu. It works with either the AVR format or the full binary format from the Beast.

Multiple GPX overlays:
In addition to the existing options of a single GPX or all GPX files in the chart directory, you can now selectively enable multiple GPX files as an overlay on the chart or outline display.

OLE/COM additions:
The various OLE/COM methods that retrieve parameters can now accept the parameter value 98, which returns all of the parameters for the selected aircraft in one long string. Note that the content of this string may change if further items are added.

Assorted bugs and cosmetic changes:
Show check mark against Tools..Analyse..Display ping log file, when that option is enabled.

Options..Alert..Fields now includes the time tag so you can choose to omit that information from the Alert window.

Alert window now expresses the altitude (if enabled) in conformity with the specified Transition level (feet below and FL above).

The two needles on the message rate meter have changed colour again.

The Files..Report..Setup now includes the "Interested", "User-tag", "Category" and "Signal" as additional options for inclusion in the text report.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.4.1 [07-01-12]:

Version fixes a bug with the "signal strength" noun in conditional expressions.

It also adds an option in Options..Alert..Alert fields so that you can choose whether or not to include the origin of the alert in the displayed alert string.

A new feature is a MySky equivalent of the Chart/Outline Alert Zone. You can define a zone on the MySky (F11) window and PP will trigger an alert if an aircraft enters that part of your view. As with the chart/outline alert zone, you can also specify "Exclusive" in which case all the other alerts will only occur if the aircraft is inside your MySky alert zone.

The obvious application for this feature is for the keen photographer where you can set up your camera on a flight line and make the MySky alert zone coincide with the field of view of the camera. The Alert Shell function could then trigger the camera so that you automatically take a picture of each aircraft that enters the field of view. If you combine it with a condex, you could arrange it so that only specific aircraft/types/countries/airlines will be photographed. I would be interested to hear of anyone using it this way.

Thanks to Francois, there is also a French version of on the web site.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.4 [06-01-12]:

Summary of changes in this version:
Support for Mode-S Beast firmware version 132
Support for Ethernet-connected Bullion Mode-S receiver
Improved Message Rate window graphics
Workaround for Gulfstream transponder problems
Alert window customisation
Conditional Expressions for MySky
Chart display of ping log file contents
Assorted cosmetic improvements and bug fixes

Support for Mode-S Beast firmware version 132:
The latest firmware for the Mode-S Beast receiver includes provision for external control of the switch settings. This version of PP supports that feature. Provided that you set the physical switches appropriately to start with, PP can now override the switch settings. "Options..Mode-S receiver..Beast..Setup initialisation" allows you to define the virtual switch settings. They are applied once only when processing starts. For full details of the significance of the switch settings, see the manufacturer's web site. Note that if you turn on FEC (SW9), PP will inhibit sharing. I think I am right in saying that if you set the receiver to binary mode (recommended), either using the physical switches or using the program, you will not be able to use the program to change the switch settings thereafter, without powering off the receiver and/or changing SW3 as appropriate.

Support for Ethernet-connected Bullion Mode-S receiver:
A new option under "Options..Mode-S..AVR receiver..Setup TCP client" allows you to define the IP address and port of the new Ethernet-connected Bullion receiver.

Improved Message Rate window graphics:
The Message Rate window ("m") now shows the indicator needles and the text values in different colours to make it easier to distinguish Mode-S message rates and Mode-A/C message rates.

Workaround for Gulfstream transponder problems:
PP now ignores CPR values with all zeroes. Although these values are legitimate coordinate codes, decoding is supressed to eliminate the false plots that arise from some Gulfstream aircraft with disfunctional transponders.

Alert window customisation:
You can now define what information is displayed in an Alert box using "Options..Alert..Alert fields". The information will be displayed in the alert pop up window and also in the alertmessage.txt file that can be emailed or sent by SMS if you use the Alert Shell feature. You can also define the font used by the pop-up window using "Options..Fonts..Alert window text". Using a fixed-pitch font such as "Courier New" or "Lucinda Console" will ensure that the columns line up making it easier to read and interpret. The window also now shows (in square brackets before the time tag) a short code identifying the origin of the alert. The tags should be self explanatory (eg "hex", "reg", "flt", etc.).

Conditional Expressions for MySky:
A new condition expression under "Options..Conditional expressions..My Sky" allows you to customise which aircraft are displayed on the My Sky screen. For example, you might specify a condex that only shows aircraft within a certain radius of your location.

Display of ping log file contents:
"Tools..Radar site analysis..Display ping log file" allows you to visualise the area coverage of the data stored in the optional ping log fies. This may help you to infer the location of the radar sites and is an alternative to setting permanent trails for each IID or ping interval.

Expandable "u" and "Shift-C" windows:

Left clicking on the "u" or "Shift-C" windows toggles between their regular size and an expanded range up to 28000 us in the case of the "u" window and 65000 feet in the case of the "Shift-C" window. The processing and display of ping intervals can now handle intervals up to 28000 us.

Assorted cosmetic improvements and bug fixes:
The "u" and "Shift-C" windows are cleared on opening so you no longer see the pattern from an earlier display.

The "Shift-C" window displays the Mode-C dots more conspicuously in situations of low traffic or few pings.

The report type is refreshed every message to avoid the previous situation where a TIS-B target became a regular ADS-B target but retained its TIS-B type code.

PP no longer attempts a hex-to-registration conversion for messages where the hex code is defined as being non-ICAO.

If enabled, the radar site IID is only displayed for aircraft that are currently being received locally. If aircraft move out of range, but are still displayed via sharing, they will not persist in displaying the former IID.

A bug whereby non-ICAO TIS-B reports (lower case hex codes) failed to work correctly when the Flags feature was in use, has been fixed.

The "Options..Font..View aircraft list" option has been restored.

The log file recording for the Mode-S Beast has been made more efficient. Previously, at very high message rates, the recording caused PP to become sluggish or hang. The new recording method should allow recordings to be made at much higher message rates.

PP will now save a binary log file if the Mode-S Beast is put into binary mode and log saving is enabled. Previously no file was written with that combination.

Finally, at the request of several users, the order of some of the longer drop-down menus has been made alphabetical. I know from painful experience that PP users hate change as much as "nature abhors a vacuum" (reportedly) so any displeasure at this particular change should be directed at those who requested it and not at me.

There have been many code changes in this version so it is certain that some new bugs will have crept in. Feel free to report them gently. If you dislike this version, the old one is still on the web site.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.3.5 [13-12-11]:

Changes in this version

New feature:

New conditional expression for Reports:

"Options..Conditional expressions..Report conditional expression" allows you to compose specific conditions under which the text report and the report database, set up in Files..Report..Setup, will record aircraft data. Note that the conditions are cumulative. You must turn on the report of your choice and the data sent to the file or database will then be subject to the conditions that you specify in both the Files..Report..Setup and (that is logical and) in Options..Conditional expressions..Report conditional expression.

Note that the former can, if you wish, constrain the data to refer only to local data, in which case the conditional expression will only be tested for local origin regardless of any tests that you apply to the share code parameter in the latter.

Squawk code displayed in the Alert box:

The aircraft squawk code is now displayed in the Alert box and in the dynamic alert file that can be emailed or sent by SMS text message when an alert is triggered.

Non ICAO hex codes in lower case:

Any hex codes obtained from DF18 messages, which are not ICAO hex codes, are now displayed in lower case.

Bug fixes:

The "share code" parameter in conditional expressions now works as intended. Previously it was inoperative.

Algorithmic conversion of Russian hex codes to their associated registrations now stops at RA-99999. Hex codes beyond RA-99999 will not be converted.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.3.4 [07-12-11]:

Changes in this version

Suppress unwanted log entries.

Allow unary +- in conditional expressions.

Relax 5 minute rule on ping analysis.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.3.3 [05-12-11]:

Changes in this version

Version addresses a few issues with!!

Removed unnecessary con exp warning on empty cond exp.

View aircraft shows top of list not last list offset.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.3.2 [03-12-11]:

Changes in this version

Version addresses a few issues with!

I have fixed an offset in the GPX overlay on the vignette.

There was a muddle in the handling of parenthesis (my Achilles heel, it would seem!) in the RPN parser, which is now fixed.

The "now" parameter had a typo in the processing. It should work better now.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.3.1 [03-12-11]:

Changes in this version

Version addresses a few issues with 6.2.3.

The option Mark Interested/"New" now adds those parameters to the SQB database as well as to the live database.

A Ctrl-left or Ctrl-right click on the message rate window changes the window size - useful if you are making receiver or antenna adjustments a long way from the monitor. The scale of the display was already adjusted with a simple left or right click.

It fixes a typo ("user teg" -> "user tag") in the Reverse Polish Notation parser.

The conditional expression error messages in the status bar are slightly more informative.

It implements the Enable checkbox in each conditional expression dialog.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.3 [02-12-11]:

Changes in this version

Major new feature - Conditional expressions

Options..Conditional expressions gives you the ability to determine which aircraft are shown on a chart or outline, which aircraft are listed on the View..aircraft or "a" window, which aircraft are sent to a log file, and which aircraft give rise an alert. You can define separate conditional expressions for each of those functions.

As a topical example, if you define the chart/outline display conditional expression and the aircraft list condition expression both to be: report type not equal to 11
then the troublesome DF18 message types will simply disappear.

If you want to be notified of any Hercules aircraft passing close enough to see, then you might want to set the alert conditional expression to be:
range less than 10 and altitude less than 10000 and type code equal to "C130"

Note that the numeric values are not enclosed in quotes and that the text strings used for comparison must be enclosed in quotes.

Round parentheses "( )" can be used to force the order that an expression is evaluated.

A simple leading and trailing wildcard ability is supported using the symbol "%". For example, this conditional expression applied to charts/outlines will make the skies over the UK much less cluttered:
flight number not equal to "EZY%" and flight number not equal to "RYR%"

The "%" means that anything can follow the "EZY" or "RYR" for a match.

You might want to display only traffic inbound to Manchester. Assuming that you have a well populated flightroute.sqb database using the ICAO designators for the airports, then this expression would be the answer:
route equal to "%EGCC"

In this case, the "%" means that anything can precede the "EGCC" in the route field but it must end with "EGCC" (the last landing point).

Technical stuff

The interpreter recognises the following keywords representing the corresponding parameter for each aircraft.

ICAO hex code, registration, flight number, latitude, longitude, altitude, course, speed, report time, report type, share code, squawk, route, type code, vertical speed, interested, user tag, aircraft category, interrogator ID, signal strength, range, now

The help file also lists three letter abbreviations for these parameters, if you want to make the expressions more compact.

Some of the parameters are only available if you have a suitable receiver (vrate, signal strength).

The interpreter also recognises the following operators to combine the parameters.

and, or, less than, less than or equal to, greater than, greater than or equal to, not equal to, equal to, plus, minus

The conventional symbols can also be used for these operators.

You can use parentheses in the expressions to force the evaluation sequence.

Note that comparisons must only be performed on values of the same type (numeric type equal to, less than, etc. numeric type, or text type equal to etc. text type). The Help file tells you which parameters are which.

Round parentheses "( )" can be used to force the order that an expression is evaluated.

Although the example conditional expressions look somewhat like plain language, don't be deceived; the syntax is just as pedantic as any other programming language. The program cannot guess what you want. You need to tell it in the right way.

For example, do not include units or symbols for the comparison values. Eg "altitude less than 25000" and not "altitude less than 25000' (or ft)".

The "report time" and "now" values are most conveniently used in conditions like "report time greater than now minus 300" - meaning any reports less than five minutes old. This, combined with the report type parameter now allows you to omit ACARS messages after, say, half an hour and Mode-S messages after, say, five minutes.

Beware of the instinctive tendancy tacitly to assume repetition of the parameter being compared. Eg "altitude less than 20000 and more than 10000" will fail; it must be written "altitude less than 20000 and altitude more than 10000". Pedantic, isn't it?

Text strings for comparison must be enclosed in double quotes and must not contain a space and must not contain the wildcard symbol "%" except intentionally at the start or end of the string as described above.

The Interested tag has the value 0 for "Not interested" and the value 1 for "Interested" so you might want to use "..... and interested equal to 1" to display or alert each interest aircraft.

Full details of the syntax are contained in the Help file.

Most people will need to spend some time studying the documentation in order to use this feature. If you are intimidated by the technical stuff, you may find another, more technical, user could draft a suitable expression for you.

Ba aware that this new feature includes a massive amount of new code and it is certain that there will be bugs in it. Please report them gently.

Other new features

SQB database extra:
Under Options..SQB database options you can now specify that any new aircraft that is added to the database, is marked with the Interested tag or with the User tag set to "new". This means that any aircraft that is new to you (that is to say, new to your database) will be identified in one of two ways that can be used to trigger alerts or to special display treatment.

Vignette with GPX:
When you define a vignette, the stored vignette will now include the current GPX overlay. If you do not want a GPX overlay on your vignette, turn off the overlay (F8) before you define the vignette (capital V).

Dockable toolbar:
The toolbar docking state is now stored and restored between sessions.

"a" window setup:
The setup dialog for the "a" window (View..Aircraft data window..Setup) is now less than 600 pixels to help those with vertically challenged screen.

Purely cosmetic items with no functional merit:
If you have your sharing set to upload only, you will not see the "No data downloaded" message in the status bar.

The file name of the ping log file now contains the pulse interval for ease of identification during the analysis.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.2.5 [19-11-11]:

Minor changes in this version
Increase field width in "a" window for proportional fonts.

v6.2.2.4 [16-11-11]:

Changes in this version

Fixes a memory leak that arose in the SQB database handling under some circumstances.

Adds user-defined fonts for chart labelling and for the aircraft lists. Foolishly, when I made I had completely forgotten the furore that arose last time I had the temerity to meddle with fonts. It won't happen again.

For those for whom the Help file is in the "too hard" box, Options..Fonts gives you a selection of common fonts for use with chart labelling and the aircraft list.

If you use a proportional font with View..Aircraft, the columns will not line up; use a fixed pitch font for that one. The fixed pitch fonts in list are Courier New, Consolas and Lucida Console. Choosig any others will make a mess of the tabulation.

The "a" window is less badly affected by proportional fonts but fixed pitch are probably best.

The chart/outline fonts have three options. "Own" aircraft; shared aircraft; aircraft with "Interested" set. The latter overrides the other two although the separate colour selection still distinguishes "own" and "shared".

If you use the "interested" tag back to front, you can make the Interested font insignificant and make both of the other two something bold.

If you are adept with Regedit and desperately want to use a font that is not listed, then you can close PP, edit the PP registry entries for fonts and start PP again. Details of the keys to look for are in the Help file (Help..Help topics..Search tab..Fonts..List topics). If you set them all to "Wingdings" you are on your own.

The defaults are as in, namely View..Aircraft and the "a" window use Courier New the others use Arial except for Interested that uses Arial Black (not Impact as I incorrectly stated in the release of

If you want the labels to revert to the way that they were in then simply set Interested back to Arial and all will be as it was.

If you feel like suggesting incorporating a font design capability into PlanePlotter then [the remainder of this sentence has been removed by the editor].

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.2.3 [13-11-11]:

Changes in this version

Change "TIS-B" description to DF18.

Editorial changes to the Help file.

Tidy up BF/+ analysis and limit analysis to first 5 minutes in the log file.

"Interested" aircraft labels on the chart use Impact font instead of Arial font.

Add confidentiality warnings regarding the numbers in 'Help...About'.

Save/restore vignette even if it is not open when PP closes.

Include CF 2 in the DF18 decode.

Add a user option to ignore DF18 messages received by sharing.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.2.2 [05-11-11]:

Changes in this version

This fixes a bug that crept into version 6.2.2 (and inherited in whereby if you changed a chart and left it on the screen when PP closed, it was not restored on restarting PP.
If you use outlines rather than charts, or seldom make changes to charts, you can ignore this version.
Thanks to Gerry for spotting this problem.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.2.1 [04-11-11]:

Changes in this version

This release has a couple of minor extra features and a few bug fixes.

Beamfinder labels:
View..Chart display options..Beamfinder..Labels is a new option that will annotate the radar site symbols with the IID (in the case of Beamfinder) or the pulse interval (in the case of Beamfinder Plus). This should help users of those features to identify good and bad entries in their radar.txt file.

Report database extra:
The daily SQB report database that PP can generate has an extra field "interested". In the SQB, the field has the value "0" if the aircraft is not tagged as Interested and "1" if it is. The Review..Report database option now unpacks that new field showing the value "interested" at the end of each record if set and a null string (two consecutive semicolons in the resulting file) if not. I hope this addition will be backwards compatible with any automated use of these data.

Containment of spurious hex codes:
Spurious hex codes created by the use of Forward Error Correction are no longer perpetuated by other users of other binary level receivers. Hex codes in ambiguous Mode-S frames are now only accepted if they have been received in unambiguous frames locally by that user. Shared hex codes are no longer "trusted" for this purpose.

Airrep Dialog update:
Changes to the "Contrail" and "Flight deck view" options in the Airrep dialog are no longer vulnerable to slow user interaction. Changes to those checkboxes will now take place correctly even if the dialog remains open for so long that aircraft are deleted from the active list.

Outline on chart:
The undocumented "Outline on chart" option now works correctly even for charts that are larger than the PP client window.

Editorial changes:
In the event of an unexpected change of serial number, the authentication code and registration number extension are cleared. In the wake of the Windows Update fiasco, some users had difficulty with digital residues from previous registered states.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.2 [23-10-11]:

Changes in this version

Signal strength:
For receivers yielding signal strength (currently only the Beast with the latest firmware), the signal strength value is now displayed for both Mode-S and Mode-A/C pings.
A new parameter in the OLE/COM interface yields the signal strength where this is available.

The Beamfinder beams are now reset if the designated aircraft is changed by OLE/COM. Previously they were only reset if the designated aircraft was changed manually. This means that it is now feasible to run an automated script to locate any suitable aircraft using Beamfinder without manual intervention. I will upload an example script in due course.
A new parameter in the OLE/COM interface yields the radar site identifier where this is available.

SQL access:
I have changed the way PP interfaces with the SQL databases in the hope that it will work around some coexistence issues with AD.

Recover lost windows:
A new option Files..Recover lost windows will restore pop up windows that have been lost "off screen".

Overlength registrations:
If PP finds registrations in the SQL database that are longer than the field allows, it will first remove decorations and space, then hyphens and finally if the length is still too great, it will trunctate the registration to fit. Previously, it ignored them.

Additional audible warning:
PP will now use the same sound that you define for a failed Mlat, if a manual Mlat cannot even start due to lack of sufficient GS or lack of recent data.

Remote control:
A basic remote control feature has been added to try to meet the need for an upstairs-downstairs installation without duplicating server access. This feature is intended to help with the situation where you might have a machine running PP in the attic, near to the receiver and antenna, that runs as a GS round the clock and another, more accessible installation downstairs that only runs from time to time when required. It allows you to interact with the upstairs installation including selecting displays, initiating Mlats, changing settings, etc. To get the most out of this new feature, you need to be familiar with shared folders. The feature may eventually be adapted to assist with remote support. Full details of the possibilities and limitations are to be found in the Help file but be aware that this feature is not by any means a substitute for VNC, TV etc.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.2.1 [18-09-11]:
[NB. There have been no puiblic versions since v6.1.1.7/02-09-2011]

Changes in this version

User defined status bar:
Users can now decide which status bar panels are displayed at the foot of the PlanePlotter window. Systems with less than 1200 pixel width are not able to show all the status fields simultaneously. This version adds new options in View..Status Bar to select which fields are interesting to you.

Bug fixes:
A bug in the profile window ("p" window) that shows the altitude history of "Interested" aircraft, has been fixed.
The problem whereby the II/SI tags on aircraft plots using the SBS1-e/er, were only displayed momentarily, has been fixed.

Beamfinder beams:
The length of beamfinder beams is now fixed at 350 nm at chart scale, which should be enough for most sites. Previously, they were 1000 pixels, which meant that they became rather short, in geographical terms, at large scales.

Beast support:
This version supports a number of forthcoming features for users of the Beast receiver.
It supports a binary mode, which will increase the capacity of the USB interface, a TCP mode, which will allow remote operation of the receiver and it displays a signal strength parameter (part of the binary format) that will enable nearby squawks to be identified even in the absence of positional information. The signal strength can be displayed numerically or graphically and you can sort on it to show the aircraft that are closest to you, even without knowing their positions.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.1.1.7 [02-09-11]:

Changes in this version

microADSB users who are not configured as Ground Stations should find that the startup ritual with SW4 is no longer required.

Beamfinder sharing:
A new checkbox in Options..Sharing..Setup allows Master Users to download Beamfinder/Beamfinder Plus fixes from other users, where these are available. Please bear in mind the caveats regarding the relative accuracy of Beamfinder fixes compared with other methods.

Status bar change:
An extra box (visible if you have a wide enough screen) shows the current display filters and options for chart/outline and aircraft views. The appropriate shortcut key is shown, so that if you have inadvertently restricted the display in some way, it tells you which keys to press to remove the restriction.

New accelerator keys:
Several new accelerator keys have been added:
F12 toggles display of Beamfinder beams on chart.
P aircraft view with positions only.
U aircraft view without position only.
M aircraft view with Mlat possible only.
N aircraft view with Interested not set only.
F aircraft view with flags only.
A aircraft view show all aircraft.

Help file updates:
The Help file has been edited to reflect the new capability of the SBS1 regarding Mlat and, in the case of the SBS1e/er, regarding Beamfinder.

Bug fix:
For those so inclined(*), Beamfinder beams are now correctly oriented when the a chart or outline is rotated with respect to North.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
(*) the pun was deliberate
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v6.1.1.6 [27-08-11]:

For SBS-1er users, it adds support for the new features in BaseStation version 161.

I am sure that Kinetic will provide full details of the changes in the latest version of their BaseStation software but the changes of which I am aware, are as follows:

BS161 provides an additional TCP port that delivers raw data similar to that provided by the raw data DLL substitution (popularly known as the "vodka patch"). This means that Ground Stations no longer need to perform the DLL substitution. If you are configured to provide Raw data for Mlats, on start up PP will try to connect to the "vodka" DLL and if that fails, it will try to connect to the new TCP port in BaseStation. If either succeeds, it will then process the resulting raw data. This means that you no longer need to substitute the DLL, but either way it is transparent to the user. It also means that the error messages that often arose on shutting down, no longer occur.

BS161 also restores some of the bits in the Mode-S frames that are used for the Beamfinder method. PP version processes these frames so that SBS-1er users can now make use of the Beamfinder feature in PlanePlotter to locate "position-less" aircraft without needing a network of Ground Stations. For the avoidance of doubt, the Beamfinder Plus method requires Mode-A/C data from the receiver and as far as I am aware, currently only the "Beast" provides this extra information.

The above information is not authoritative but is correct as far as I know.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.1.1.5 [10-08-11]:

This upgrade contains a few bug fixes and some minor improvements and there are some things to make user support easier but there are no major new features.

If you are interested in the Beamfinder feature, the "b" screen now shows "snowflakes" without requiring an entry in radar.txt. This may help in researching the location of Mode-S radar sites.

If you are interested in the Beamfinder Plus feature, this version now suspends recalculation of ping rates when logging ping rates. The previous version created ping log files that were a chimera if the loggind period was very long and the ping rates were recalculated. This obviously sabotaged efforts to locate the Mode-A/C radar site with such file.

A bug in the title display after using Quick charts, has been fixed.

If a designated aircraft has no known registration then the hex code is displayed in the status bar in place of the unhelpful ".NO-REG".

The Help...About box now tells you the installation serial number and there is now a "Copy" button so that if I ask for the contents of the Help..About box, it will require almost no effort to provide all the required information.

The ABCD buttons that cause such grief now tell you what is about to happen to all your settings - to give you a chance to think better of it. Specifically it reminds you when the restore point was saved, so that you can bear in mind changes that have happened since and are about to be discarded.

SBS1 users using the UDP peer-to-peer feature should now see teh squawk codes on the client machine.

Alerts now respect the altitude filters in Options..Chart..Options.

The only new feature is that there is an option in the above dialog to display the User tag for each aircraft - if there is one - in the chart labels.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.1.1.4 [22-07-11]:

Further Mlat improvements:
This version changes the way local data is handled when performing an Mlat. Increasing use of the high performance receivers in high traffic areas caused popular GSs to be so busy responding to data requests that there was insufficient time left to handle their own data for Mlats. That conflict is now resolved so the number of fix curves should be much higher for those busy GSs. If you are a "popular" GS, please use the new version as soon as possible.

This version should resolve the formatting problem that caused some microADSB users to fail the "Check GS/MU status" test. If you are using the microADSB, please upgrade to this version as soone as possible.

Window title:
In response to a good idea suggested here a few days ago, the PP window title now tells you what aircraft list or chart filtering options are currently applied. This should help to explain the occasional unexpected absence of plots. For example, if you select View..Chart display options..Chart designated aircraft only, it will show that in the title bar in case you forgot what you had selected. It is a cosmetic change but it may be useful is you use the display filtering options.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.1.1.3 [18-07-11]:

Mlat improvements:
There are no new features in this version but it incorporates a number of improvements, which are of great benefit to Ground Stations and Master Users.
It would be helpful if all such users would adopt the new version but in some cases it is a requirement, in order to continue to be a Ground Station or Master User.
It has come to light that the Multilateration time tags used by all the more recent receivers, are slightly different from those used by the Kinetic SBS1. The new version harmonises these differences across all receiver types.
The new version also incorporates improved logging which should allow us to detect Master Users with CPU loading or router problems that may otherwise lead to them uploading imperfect Mlats.
Once the new version is in use, a number of residual anomalies in Multilateration will disappear, leading to better Mlat performance for all Ground Stations and Master Users.

Important note for users of the FPGA Beast:
Users of Guenter Koellner's FPGA Beast, please note that the Beast now has its own separate setting option in Options..I/O settings..Mode-S..Beast receiver. Previously the settings were the same for microADSB and Beast users, but the settings are now different. Beast users will need to change this setting from the default to achieve the desired performance.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.1.1.2 [17-07-11]:

Maintanence release (small bug fixes).
Stop hypersharing precocious Mlats.
Correct MLat stats upload.
Beast long message timing match SBS1.

v6.1.1.1 [13-07-11]:

Changes in this version
There are no radically new features in this version but there are a number of improvements and bug fixes that will make a noticeable difference, especially to Master Users and Beamfinder users.
The criteria for displaying pings in the "u" window and the generation of Beams have been adjusted to improve performance. If you have a Beast receiver, you should see many more "Beams" once you have refined your "radar.txt" file.
The fix history and the beam history is now cleared when you change or cancel the designated aircraft. Previously, under some circumstances, you could get a mixed Beamfinder fix after changing the designated aircraft.
Disambiguation of position reports:
Full data receiver users (Beast, PGR, SSRx, microADSB) now have the choice of displaying one-off position reports (with ambiguity) or of only displaying unambiguous postions resulting from ADSB message pairs. The option is found in each of the Options..Mode-S..AVR/PGR..Port setup. If you have been troubled by plots at the very limits of range flipping from side to side, this option will stop it. The problem is less noticeable for those receivers that have limited range and those cases, the singel message display is probably better.
In either case, only unambiguous plots from ADSB message pairs will be uploaded to the sharing system. This should eliminate the problem of orphaned plots from sharers off chart.
Quick chart buttons:
Quick chart buttons defined as outlines now retain the centre and scale that prevailed when they were defined.
If a Quick button defines a MySky view, the label colour is preserved.
UDP output data:
The UDP output, used to transmit data to a partnered instance of PP, now sends squawk as well as the other data.
Problems in registering and authenticating where the default browser has not correctly registered the "open" verb, are now resolved.
In that context, entering the authentication code should now be less prone to unexpected disappearance on a forced reset or injudicious use of ABCD.
The performance of Multilateration fixes should be much improved.
The Mlat algorithm has been revised in several ways. The maximum number of curve users employed in the curve fitting has been increased from 10 to 16. The fitting method has been amended to reduce the effect on the fix, of wayward curves. A vulnerability to mismatches of the reference ADSB aircraft has been fixed.
The server now logs more details of the fixes provided by MUs so that persisent inconsistencies from individual users can be investigated more thoroughly.
The repetition interval between Automatic Mlats and continuation Mlats after a manual Mlat, have been slightly reduced. The log file referred to above, showed that some GS were being overwhelmed by simultaneous raw data requests for the same aircraft, from multiple MUs.
Since the quality of Mlat fixes should be significantly improved in this version, please take advantage of the upgrade so that you will not be distributing fixes that are less that optimum.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v6.1.1 [26-06-11]:

Changes in this version
Authentication (all users):
This version introduces the concept of authentication of an installation of PlanePlotter. This is a bit of a chore but it is unfortunately necessary to combat abuse of the system. It operates in a manner rather similar to registration. You complete a form, receive an email and put the code into PP. It is a one off process. It is initated by selecting "PlanePlotter..Help..Authenticate this installation". Please read the Help file on this topic before starting the process, to avoid accidentally forfeiting your GS/MU privileges. Help..About now displays the authentication code as well as the registration number for the installation.
This new step should also automatically resolve the problem where a few users have, against all odds, landed on the same fingerprint/serial number/registration number combination. As a result of the resolution of those duplications, those few affected users may find that their share codes have changed. Sorry in advance for any inconvenience. The first duplicate to authenticate, keeps their existing share code - act now!
Once a reasonable number of users have updated to the new version and any wrinkles are ironed out, authentication will become compulsory for all users and previous, unauthenticated versions of PP will no longer work.

Mode-A/C reception (Beast users):
This version adds a number of filters that should reduce the "noise" in the reception of Mode-A/C squawks. Mode-A/C squawks must now appear multiple times over a 15 second period and must feature at least one of the sixteen most common inter-pulse rates that PP now measures on a rolling basis.
The filters apply to both new entries in the list (if enabled) and to updates of non-positional aircraft allocated that squawk. Previously, noise/fruit pings that accidentally matched the squawk of a positionless target could maintain that target as apparently active, long after it had gone.
The "a" aircraft list window now respects the setting of the "View..Aircraft list display options..Mode-A/C..Display Mode-A/C squawks" option.
A new option "View..Aircraft list display options..Mode-A/C..Filter Mode-A/C squawks" allows you to enter one or more squawk codes or ranges of squawk codes that limit the Mode-A/C codes that will be entered into the Aircraft list. You might use this to allow only those squawk codes allocated by an agency of interest, or perhaps to track an aircraft whose allocated squawk you know from monitoring ATC clearances. In entering ranges of squawk codes, remember that squawk codes are octal; only digits 0-7 are permitted.

Message rate window (PGR/microADSB/SSRx/Beast users):
You can now left or right click the Message rate window ("m") to cycle through five different scale options. It was not found satisfactory to make the range completely user definable, since there is some art in choosing and placing the labels and the scale marks for various scale sizes. I hope most requirements will be met by the options provided.

Altitude decoding (PGR/microADSB/SSRx/Beast users):
The various altitude decoding methods have been rationalised and PP will now share reported altitudes up to FL650. Above that, reports will still be displayed locally but not passed through the sharing system. Be aware that there are a number of aircraft circulating that are giving apparently valid messages but with obviously impossible altitudes correctly encoded.

Aircraft count (all users):
The first field in the aircraft/message counter window in the status bar (next to the UTC time display), now shows the total number of aircraft currently known to PP, rather than the number displayed as a result of the exercise of some filtering option.

Beamfinder (PGR/microADSB/SSRx/Beast users) and Beamfinder Plus (Beast users):
The criteria for estimating a Beamfinder position has been tightened up. I hope that you will see fewer fixes but better fixes when you enable Options..Calculate Beamfinder fix.
Proud as I am of how well the Beamfinder method is working, I concede that not everyone wants coloured streamers all over their chart every time that they designate an aircraft. Accordingly, a new option "View..Chart display options..Beamfinder beams" toggles the beams on and off.
The maximum number of Beamfinder Plus site entries (ZZ...) in radar.txt has been increased to 16. I ran out of space for the sites that cover my patch.
The match threshold for the radar pulse intervals has been reduced to 2us to reduce accidental matches with "fruit" and noise.
The acquistion of the head azimuth for radar sites has been further dampened to avoid perturbation by accidental pulse interval matches.
Ctrl-Shift click on a Beamfinder target on the chart can now be used to initiate an Mlat. Previously, there was no way to follow a Beamfinder fix on the chart with an Mlat fix.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.6.2 [09-06-11]:

Changes in this version
A minor change allows specific private network data to be passed to the secondary sharing server if one is defined.
Otherwise all of the changes relate to Beamfinder or Beamfinder Plus.
In no particular order:
The analysis tool has been rewritten (and the spelling corrected!). It is no longer adversely affected by extended log file capture times. Under some cicumstances, the resulting position can be quite precise. Of course, if the II/SI number or pulse rate are ambiguous, then the result will be meaningless (GIGO).
Beamfinder plots are cleared if you change the designated acft.
The way the beams decay has been changed.
There are now persistent dots in "b" and "z" windows to help to identify the radar site graphically.
There is a new Mode-A/C scale in Message rate display (if Mode-A/C comes out of your receiver).
Beamfinder snowflakes ("b" and "z" windows) are now plotted using "own label" colour.
There is now an option to calculate a Beamfinder fix (Options..Calculate Beamfinder fix).
If this is enabled, the Beamfinder estimated position is ringed. A fix is only calculated if beams intersect by more than 11 degrees and a rolling Kalman filter integrates individual fixes over 60 seconds to produce the resulting position estimate. It therefore takes a while before the estimate position starts to plot.
If the aircraft already had a Mlat or ADS-B position, the entry in the Aircraft list display is not updated with the Beamfinder estimate. If there was no position, the Beamfinder position is displayed in the aircraft list.
Because the accuracy of Beamfinder positions in very dependent on the validity of your radar.txt file and the geometry of your local radar sites, the Beamfinder positions are not currently passed through the sharing system.
This version applies more stringent tests for the creation of Mode-A/C entries in the aircraft list, when that feature is enabled.
This version plots the aircraft symbols over the top of Beamfinder beams, to enable labels to be read even at the confluence of beams.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.6.1 [28-05-11]:

Major New Feature - "Beamfinder Plus"

Like "Beamfinder", this new feature provides information about the location of "position-less" aircraft without relying on a network of Ground Stations. The difference is that whereas "Beamfinder" uses information carried in specific Mode-S transmissions, "Beamfinder Plus" uses Mode-A/C transmissions. This means that aircraft with legacy Mode-A/C transponders and no Mode-S capability at all, can still be tracked. The downside is that the feature only works with a receiver that provides both Mode-A/C and Mode-S messages and time tags them both with a precision time tag. Currently, only the "Beast" meets these requirements.

PlanePlotter distinguishes the Mode-A/C responses elicited by different radar sites, by measuring the pulse repetition rate, which is often locally unique. PlanePlotter calibrates each radar site's antenna rotation by comparing Mode-A pings and matching allocated squawks of full Mode-S/ADS-B within the same coverage. Once the antenna azimuth is known, vectors can be drawn for any unknown target that is seen to ping at the corresponding pulse rate.

Because Mode-A/C pings have no error checking (Mode-S messages include a checksum) and because the radar site is identified by the time between successive pings, which can take on arbitrary values if there are overlapping radar beams, the vectors produced by "Beamfinder Plus" include more spurious vectors than "Beamfinder" but in my area, there are many more Mode-A/C radars than Mode-S radars and the density and frequency of vectors makes the location obvious.

Remember that this is the only method of tracking aircraft with no Mode-S transponder.

Full details and illustrations of this new feature are to be found in the Help file.

John L has again provided a movie of the new feature in use over the UK, which you can watch using this link:

As before, the method requires a data file of approximate radar head locations and their pulse rates and rotation rates. The example data file shipped with this release, covers central UK and has been compiled from publicly available sources. Keep in mind that the new sample radar.txt file will not overwrite an existing file of that name.

This release also includes additional tools for developing a suitable data file for any other area.

As before, it is hoped that, as users evaluate this new feature, additional site data will become available for other areas.


The feature uses Mode-A/C pings. Currently, only the "Beast" provides this information with a precision time tag. It will only work in areas where there are multiple radar sites having unique pulse rates.

As with "Beamfinder" it allows you to track "position-less" aircraft using a single receiver - not even an Internet connection. It does not rely on you being surrounded by other cooperating users. It also has reduced latency compared with the current implementation of Multilateration but it is significantly less accurate that Multilateration, which remains the preferred solution where there are sufficient Ground Stations.

Other changes:

Bug fix:

The bug in the automated lookup feature has been fixed some more.


Thanks again to John L for testing many experimental versions of this new feature.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.6 [19-05-11]:

Major New Feature - "Beamfinder"

Certain Mode-S messages, rather than simply being broadcast, are transmitted in response to interrogation from ground-based radar sites. Some of the radar sites have an identifier which is then included in the downlink reply. If PlanePlotter is used with a Mode-S receiver giving full raw data (PGR,AVR/Beast,microADSB,SSRx), the identifier of the interrogating radar site can be determined from the air-to-ground Mode-S reply that PlanePotter picks up.

The radar heads rotate at speeds around 12 revolutions per minute (four seconds per rotation). If PlanePlotter knows the identifier and location of a specific radar site, together with its rotation rate, then, any time it receives a identified "ping" from an aircraft with a known position, it can determine the instantaneous azimuth of the radar beam coming from that radar site, at that precise instant. Thereafter, if it receives a "ping", with the same site identifier, from any other aircraft, it can use the time delay between the two "pings" and the known rotation rate of that radar head, to estimate the radar beam direction direction of that second aircraft as seen from from the radar site. PlanePlotter displays this information as a radial line from the location of the radar site for any aircraft that you have designated.

If several radar sites are scanning the same aircraft, the combination of several such beams allows the position of the selected aircraft to be estimated. Because the scanning beam width is not exceedingly narrow, the accuracy of the inferred position is not as good as Multilateration but it does provide an immediate position estimate without reliance on multiple Ground Stations that are required for Multilateration to succeed.

Full details and illustrations of this major new feature are to be found in the Help file.

John L has kindly provided a movie of the feature in use over the UK, which you can watch using this link:

The method requires a data file of approximate radar head locations and the identifiers used for Mode-S interrogations. The example data file shipped with this release, covers central UK and has been compiled from publicly available sources. This release also includes tools for developing a suitable data file for other areas.

It is hoped that, as more users evaluate this new feature, additional site data will become available.

Some caveats. Sadly the radar interrogator information is not delivered to PP by either the SBS1 or the ANRB. It will only work in areas where there are multiple radar sites having unique identifiers. Some countries do not employ this type of interrogation at all, while some others share the same identifier across several radar sites. The feature is not useful in such areas. The good news (if you have a suitable receiver) is that it allows approximate location of "position-less" aircraft with a single receiver - not even an Internet connection. It does not rely on you being surrounded by other cooperating users. It also has reduced latency compared with the current implementation of Multilateration but it is significantly less accurate that Multilateration because of the beamwidth of the interrogator beams.

Other changes:
In support of the new "Beamfinding" feature, Options..Chart..Options now includes an additional aircraft label. "IID" adds the interrogator identifier of the last "ping" to each aircraft symbol. A new Chart display filter option ("b") allows you to display only aircraft with a specified interrogator identifier. This can help to determine the coverage of an unknown radar site.
To allow you to visualise the rotating interrogator beams, a new pop-up scrolling window "r" shows you which identifiers are currently "pinging" any of the aircraft that you are receiving. If you see none or hardly any, the feature is probably not for you.

Bug fix:
The automated lookup feature has been rationalised to improve the success rate regardless of the method of triggering the lookup. Thanks to the user who noticed this bug.

I am indebted to Guenter and François for reminding me that the interrogators are actually rotating beams, to John L for tirelessly testing a score of experimental versions as the idea developed, and to Nic for letting me remote into his system to test it live over in the UK, to compare with the rather different situation here in Portugal.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5.7 [08-05-11]:
New Features.

Forward Error Correction.
Mode-S messages include a 24-bit CRC checksum that, in principle, allows transmission errors to be both detected and corrected. If you enable this option, and are using a low level interface receiver (PGR, AVR, microADSB, SSRx), PlanePlotter will seek to correct one and two-bit errors found in Mode-S messages type DF=11 and DF=17 in which the CRC is not XORed with the aircraft identity. Depending on your location and the received traffic density, this may make a significant increase in the number of messages decoded. Thanks to Guenter K for suggesting this feature.
Note that the process of correcting errors is more processor intensive than simply detecting errors. Accordingly, if your system is struggling with the processor load, turn this option off.

Local Horizon in MySky.
By default, the My Sky display (F11) shows you the perspective view of aircraft as seen from your specified home location with a flat horizon. If you wish, you can include your own personalised local horizon in the My Sky display to show obstructions, trees, houses, hills, etc. as seen from your normal viewing position.
To include your local horizon, you must create a text file called "horizon.dat" and place it in the directory that you have instructed PlanePlotter to use for charts. The Help file gives details about how to format the file but omits to mention the fact that you can customise the fill pattern used for the horizon obstructions by supplying your own horizon-day.bmp and horizon-night.bmp files.
It requires more processing power to recreate the local horizon than simply to plot a flat line. Accordingly, if your machine is struggling with the pocessing load, remove the horizon.dat file and be content with a flat depiction. Thanks to David T for suggesting this feature.

SQB database updating options.
1) Edits update SQB database If this option is enabled, Manual edits of the aircraft details and updates performed by scripts via the OLE/COM interface will update the details of any existing aircraft in the database. This option is identical to the Options..Mode-S..Kinetic..Update registrations option. It overrides the following three options.
2) Edits add to SQB database If this option is enabled, Manual edits of the aircraft details and updates performed by scripts via the OLE/COM interface will insert details an aircraft not previously found in the database. The preceding option (1) must be enabled for this to operate.
3) Local traffic adds to database If this option is enabled, any locally received reports will be added to the SQB database provided that the main option (1) is also enabled.
4) Shared traffic adds to database If this option is enabled, any reports received via sharing will be added to the SQB database provided that the main option (1) is also enabled. Note that other sharing users may be uploading information about the registration or type that may not be correct. Such information will be added to your database if this option is enabled.

microADSB improvements.
The program now includes provision for fine tuning of the time tag attached by the microADSB. This will improve Mlat fixes where microADSB users are participating as Ground Stations. It would be much appreciated if all microADSB users who aspire to be, or are actually, Ground Stations would install this version as a mattter of priority. Thanks to Geoff for piloting this fix.
The program now turns off the data flow from the microADSB on program exit. This should fix the annoyance where the device had to be disconnected and reconnected before use.

HFDL Base Station plots.
There is a new option in Options..Chart..Options to turn on or off the labelling of the HFDL base stations when HFDL processing is enabled.
A bug in the directory used to read the base station names has been fixed. It is now retrieved from the specified chart directory.

Copy button in Airrep dialog.
There is a new Copy button in the Airrep dialog that puts all of the information about the selected aircraft into the System Clipboard so that it can be pasted into a document or email.

Assorted corrections, improvements and warnings.
If you check Auto Mlats in Options..I/O settings, Hypersharing (which is a prerequisite for Auto Mlats) will be enabled automatically.

The various fields in the alert box messages are now trimmed for whitespace. This should help to prevent repeated alerts on the same data resulting from format changes in data from different users, especially when hypersharing.

An unintended sort in the names of the soundcards has been removed. Soundcard selection for the audio input features should now work as expected.

F1 now opens only one instance of the Help file.

If you enable Raw data but your receiver is not delivering time tags, you will see a warning message.

If you enable Raw data as a Ground Station, but have not installed the Menberg NTP client, you will hear an imperative reminder to do so - every time that you start processing. If you have installed NTP, the status bar will show the current clock offset in milliseconds, when you start processing. Thanks to David T for suggesting this feature and for explaining how to do it. This feature will be intensely annoying for GS who have not installed the NTP client. Getting rid of the annoying announcement will probably be more trouble than installing the NTP client.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5.6a [27-04-11]:
There are a number of minor additions in this release.
Support for microADSB:
This version sets the mode of a microADSB to deliver time tags suitable for being a Ground Station, even with version 6 of the firmware. Anxieties about the time tag have been allayed. The microADSB gives good raw data with this version of PP.
Satellites in MySky after dark:
This version adds the ability to plot Earth satellites on the MySky screen after sunset. You need a TLE file of satellite elements and there is an option to download the "visual.txt" file from Dr Kelso's Celestrak site under Options..Chart..Satellites. Because orbits change, you need to update the file regularly. Read the Help file for full details.
Wind window:
Pressing "W" (Big W) opens a window in which the upper wind is estimated based on the observed ground speeds of aircraft going in different directions. Read the Help file for detailed information on how to optimise and interpret this information.
HFDL extras:
If you are displaying HFDL plots with a local HF receiver, PP will now display, on the chart, the HFDL base stations, the current frequencies and the current station being monitored. There are subtleties associated with the pchfdl.txt file that PC-HFDL uses to name the base stations. Read the Help file to get this right.
Colour changes:
The ring around a Designated aircraft now uses the colour specified for a Routepoint, to distinguish it from any alerted aircraft, which are ringed with the colour specified for Waypoints. Both colours are user defined.
Report SQB changes:
There is a new option in Files..Report..Setup which allows you to specify that only locally received aircraft are recorded in the first/last database and in the regular text reports.
Alert zone - logical AND option:
There is a new option under Options..Alert..Zone called "Exclusive". This changes the way that the Alert Zone works. Normally zone penetration causes an alert in addition to any alerts provoked by other settings. If you enable "Exclusive", the Alert zone is now logical-ANDed with the other alert such that the other alerts will only trigger if the target is also inside the alert zone. Be aware that non-position aircraft will obviously always fail to alert if the Exclusive option is checked.
Editorial change:
There is more space for the designated aircraft information on the status bar. I hope that users with low resolution screens will not lose the UTC time display as a result.
Bug fix:
Manual edits via the Airrep dialog of aircraft that were not previosuly in the SQB database are now inserted into the database. Previously, they were not.
Other comments:
Users who precociously downloaded this version, will find that all new aircraft (local and shared) are inserted into the SQB database. The released version on the web site now, does not do this.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5.5 [13-04-11]:
There are a number of minor additions in this release.
A brief summary follows. Further details are to be found in the Help file.

A new menu option under Options..Script to download the latest sharerlocations.txt file. The accelerator key "d" has the same effect. The file is used in the Circles method. If you have a personalised copy of this file, avoid the "d" key as it will overwrite the file without asking for confirmation. Note that as the file is saved in the application directory, the option will fail if you have installed the program in the C:\Program files\ path and you are using Vista or Win7.

A new menu option under Options..Script to download the latest nattracks.gpx file. The accelerator key "t" has the same effect. The file is a GPX overlay showing the daily North Atlantic Tracks and is mainly of interest to HFDL users. You need separately to enable the GPX file in order for it to be displayed on your chart or outline. Options..Chart..GPX.

The Auto Sort option now continues to sort the aircraft "a" list even if the main window is showing a chart or outline. This change will increase the processor load if you have a chart and the "a" window open togteher and also enable Auto Sort. If your processor is struggling, turn of Auto Sort.

You can now select from up to 50 soundcards for ACARS, DF or Selcal decoding, rather than the previous maximum of four.

The position of the Alert window is now preserved from session to session.

This version notifies the server if you are displaying a chart with the F10 (Mlat only) filter selected. In that case, it downloads only Mlats and candidate "position-less" aircraft. This cuts down on the downloaded data volume saving you bandwidth and also reduces the chance of you getting snared by the data throttling when downloading a large area.

This version relaxes the criteria for a successful Auto Mlat when the "Suspend 5km rule" has been applied in Options..Sharing..Setup.

This version adds provision for possible future Mode-A/C support. At this stage there is nothing to see for this feature.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5.4 [29-03-11]:
New in this version (From the Help file):
View..Profile window
The profile window shows the vertical history (profile) of any current aircraft with the Interested flag set.
This option toggles the profile window. The keyboard shortcut 'p' (lower case papa) has the same effect.
Initially, the window is placed near the centre of the current chart. You can drag it and resize it as required.
The window shows the vertical history from ground level to FL200 vertically and over the last ten minutes horizontally. The window plots the vertical component of the contrail history. Accordingly, the resolution of the horizontal axis depends on the time span and number of data points in the contrail history defined in Options..Chart..Options. The optimum settings for this purpose would be a length of 600 seconds (ten minutes) and 50 steps (the maximum).
Note that this feature will work with any Mode-S aircraft, regardless of whether it is full ADS-B, provided that it is being interrogated for altitude.
The windows only shows aircraft with the Interested flag set. To see a particular aircraft, or set of aircraft, control right click on the aircraft in the Aircraft View list, in the Airrep dialog select Edit and in the pop up dialog, check the "Interested" option. Click OK; click OK and the aircraft's profile will be displayed.
A typical application for this feature is to display the progress of a parachuting aircraft (as shown above [In the Help file]) as it repeatedly climbs and descends.

Other changes
The three optional windows ("a", "v", "p") now have an optional Z order. For each one, you can specify whether or not they stay on top of all other windows or whether they are subject to the normal window Z ordering.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5.3 [not released]:
v5.5.5.2 [21-03-11]:
New in this version:

View..Vignette window
>From the Help file:
The vignette window is a small sample of the main chart or outline display which is superimposed on the main window.
View..Vignette window..Toggle vignette window
This option toggles the vignette window. The keyboard shortcut 'v' (lower case victor) has the same effect.
The first time that you invoke this option, it will capture the area of the current chart that underlies the present position of the window. Thereafter the option simply opens and closes the window with the same sample of the main window.
Initially, the window is placed near the centre of the current chart. You can drag it and resize it as required.
Once the vignette has captured the underlying chart or outline, you can then change the primary chart and the vignette window will continue to display the selected area.
View..Vignette window..Define vignette window
This option captures a new area of the current underlying chart or outline. The keyboard shortcut 'V' (uppercase Victor) has the same effect.
To redefine the area and appearance (chart or outline) shown within the vignette window, firstly adjust the main window to show the area required, position the vignette window over the area of interest and then press 'V'. The vignette window will capture the area of the main chart or outline underlying the vignette window. Once that is done, you can move the vignette window around and you are free to change the main display as required.

A typical application for the vignette is to display a larger scale view of some congested area within the main chart/outline.
The main chart/outline and the vignette can be of different types (chart or outline) and at different scales. Adjust your main display to show the area required for the vignette, drag the vignette window over the required area and then press 'V' to close and reopen the vignette with the new area. Once you have created the vignette, you are free to change the main display subject to the following constraints.
Traffic on the vignette is only updated if it is received locally or if the vignette area forms part of the primary chart or outline. Data from the sharing system only covers the area of the primary chart/outline and so if the area of the vignette is not part of the primary display (or received locally), it will not be refreshed.
The vignette does not show contrails, range rings, gpx overlays or permanent trails; its content cannot be dragged or zoomed; it does not respoind to mouse-over clicks.
Be aware that adding an extra window to the display inevitably increases the processor load to a significant extent. If you find that it overloads your processing resources (eg. sluggish beahviour), then close the vignette window.

Support upload:
To try to reduce the amount of time spent asking for more details in order to fix users' problems, PP now has the ability for users to upload their settings to the server.
Please only use this feature when asked.
The option uploads screen grabs of the I/O settings dialog, the Sharing Setup dialog, the Chart Options dialog and a list of PlanePlotter directories that you have defined and IP addresses for data access. Before the screen grabs are taken, PP is maximised so nothing else on your desktop is captured. It also uploads a catalogue of chart files in the defined chart directory to help to resolve outline issues. It does not upload any other information and you can see all the information sent, including the screen grabs, in the log files directory.
Once again, please only use this feature when asked. It is to assist in resolving problems without recourse to TeamViewer etc. If you dislike the idea of using the feature, simply avoid Help..Upload settings.

Bug fix:
The criterion for displaying only alerted aircraft on the Chart and Aircraft screens has been changed to prevent non-alerted aircraft from appearing if they happen to share some of an alerted aircraft's attributes.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5.1 [13-03-11]:
Just a couple of changes:
Alert sounds:
I have adopted David T's suggestion regarding alert sounds.
You can now define the sound file that PP plays, using the Windows Control Panel. If you drill down to the System Sounds in the Control Panel, you should find an entry for PlanePlotter. There are entries for Alerts, Successful Mlats and unsuccessful Mlats. You can define each one to be a Windows sound (eg. Tada!), any wave file of your own making (eg. the Halleluia Chorus) or nothing at all.
By default, it should come up with whatever you previously defined for the Alert and nothing at all for the Mlats. Before you ask, Remote and Automatic Mlats do not generate any sound; only manual Mlats will generate a sound if you choose to define one.
Mlat operation detail:
For reasons to do with the resolution of the message time tags, PP will not normally attempt to perform an Mlat solution using data from two Ground Stations who are less than 5 km apart. To do so, risks exaggerating the uncertainty in the result.
This latest version adds the option to suspend the 5km rule (in Options..Sharing..Setup) for use **only** in very special circumstances where applying the rule would result in no solution at all. Specifically, the Island of Malta has three Ground Stations all within a 5 km radius. The option to suspend the 5km rule allows these users - when all three are operating - to perform Mlats which, although of reduced accuracy, are better than no result at all.
Because it potentially degrades the accuracy of Mlats, please do **not** check this option unless you live on Malta, have a special interest in Malta, or find yourself in a similar isolated group of proximal Ground Stations. For all other use, the option must be unchecked.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.5 [04-03-11]:
Auto Sort:
The only new feature is the Auto Sort option in the View menu pulldown. If enabled, this repeats the last sorting option at regular intervals. Please note that can be very processor intensive, especially if you have lots of active aircraft. If you find that the program becomes sluggish or stalls altogether, disable this option.
The other changes in this version are mainly bug fixes.
The flight deck view now correctly handles views based on charts that were originally rotated (not having North at the top). Previously, there was an implicit assumption that all charts had North at the top.
The "i" key (india) now toggles the display of "Interested" aircraft in either the View..Chart screen or the View..Aircraft screen. Previously it only affected the Chart View.
Mlat hex code sensitivity:
This version fixes a long standing bug in which certain hex codes gave unpredictable results when they were the subject of multilateration.
***It is highly recommended that all Ground Stations and Master Users adopt this version, to end erratic Mlats on some hex codes.***

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.4.9 [21-02-11]:
Changes in version
Quick Charts label colours
Each Quick Chart button now stores its own settings for the "own" and "shared" chart label colours. This means that you can have a dark coloured label for charts with light backgrounds and light coloured labels for outlines with a dark background.
Warning: When you install this version, all ten Quick buttons will initially default to black labelling until you redefine each one with the colours of your choice. This is a chore but there is no way to guess what is the right label colour for each chart or outline. Once you have done it, you will not have to do it again - unless, of course, you make injudicious use of the ABCD buttons.
Accelerator keys
"i" is now "Chart Interested only" (was Chart Alerts in error)
"l" (lima) is now "Chart Alerts only"
Flight Deck View
The viewing altitude in Flight Deck View is now corrected by the QNH if you have set an appropriate Transition Level.
Bugs fixes
The callsign field in the BS-style log file from PGR/AVR/RxC/SSRx now records the flight number instead of the registration.
Flight deck views of outlines now work as intended.
A bug on switching from outline to flight deck to chart has been fixed.
The Lite versions' menus will now be displayed as intended.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.4.7 [09-02-11]:
Changes in version
New feature - built-in flight deck view
This version introduces to ability to view the currently selected chart from the perspective of the flight deck of a selected aircraft. This is somewhat similar to the existing Google-Earth flight deck view but uses the current chart as the base map and does not require G-E to be installed and connected to the Internet.
To use the feature, right click on the chosen aircraft, enable Flight Deck View in the pop up dialog, and then on the main menu bar, select View..Flight Deck View.
You can also press keys "f" and "c" to switch between the flight deck view and the chart view.
There are a couple of caveats.
The flight deck view is computationally rather expensive. If you have plenty of CPU power to spare, it will work smoothly. If not, it may produce sluggish behaviour or even lock up completely. To reduce the load, use a small chart (eg, OSM rather than Ctrl-OSM) or even reduce the size of the PP window before you press OSM to get an even smaller chart. Small chart = less processing.
The foreground in the perspective view is relatively close to the aircraft, especially if it is on final approach. Normally you might view a chart as if it was seen from hundreds of km above the ground. From the flight deck on finals, it will only be a few hundred metres away. A typical chart will therefore look very pixellated in the perspective view - especially on approach. The solution is to use a chart covering a much smaller area than you might normally use, (eg an airfield diagram) so that there is plenty of fine detail when seen from close up.
Bear in mind that the perspective view is that of the current chart, you can change or create (OSM) charts that are most suitable for the view from the current aircraft of interest. For example, if you are in range of landing aircraft, you might want to use a chart that shows only the immediate environs of the runway to give you maximum detail.
Additional accelerator keys
As noted the "f" key displays the flight deck view if you have ticked that option for a particular aircraft.
The "c" button shows the current chart. The "o" button generates a new outline for the current display area.
The "i" key shows only the "Interested" aircraft on the current chart.
Bug fixes
This version fixes a bug in the position decoding from receivers with a low level interface (PGR, AVR, SSRx) when an aircraft transitions from airborne position reports to surface position reports.
This version renders the registration number extension feature, proof against the ABCD buttons.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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Changes in version
Fix handle leak in multiple GPX plotting.
Peer-to-peer output for PGR.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
v5.5.4.6 [06-02-11]:
Changes in version (this release)
Option to plot all GPX files in chart directory, rather than just one GPX file.
Additional DF18 TIS-B formats (grey symbols).
Optional altitude-coded contrail/perm trail colours.
Move initial Internet connectivity test out of document creation.

Changes in version (not publicised)
Add azimuth scale to inner range ring.
Fix bug in click on alert when scrolled.
Change defaults to simplify clean install.
Change installer defaults to simplify clean install.
Change flow controls for AVR receiver.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.4.4 [26-01-11]:
Changes in version
Rotatable charts, maps, images and outlines:

In response to overwhelming public demand (9 posts in favour, 6 neutral posts, 2685 expressing no preference at all, making a massive 0.33% demand amongst users), I have implemented the option to rotate charts, maps, satellite images and outlines by a user-defined angle. In fact, it was Dave R's comment about Spatial Orientation Deficiency Syndrome (no acronym) that tipped the balance in favour of adding the feature. As the Help file notes, COAA accepts no responsibility for any adverse reaction, such as nausea, provoked by viewing familar landforms at an unfamiliar angle.

There are some considerations to bear in mind. The rotation algorithm produces a new image that encloses the entire original image after rotation. It is therefore larger than the original. As a result, when the angle of rotation is close to 45, 135, 225 or 315 degrees, the dimensions of a square image, for example, become root-two larger on each side, making the number of pixels double the original number. If you try to rotate a large chart by any angle near to those values, it may then exceed the memory capacity of your machine or provoke sluggish behaviour. If this happens, use a smaller chart or stick to rotations that are multiples of 90 degrees, such as zero.

Charts (including OSM maps) are rotated intact as images. Therefore any annotations on the chart will be rotated accordingly becoming difficult to read. Obviously, if you rotate a chart, you will also have great difficulty in conceptualising monitored ATC instructions for an aircraft to take up a particular heading, for example. My recommendation is to stick with North Up charts and to press F11 if you want to match your outside sky view with the PlanePlotter display.

Other changes in this version:
PP now remembers the last chart coordinates between sessions, even if PP is closed (and subsequently re-opened) in MySky and View..Aircraft screens. This means that sharing will resume with the same notional geographical boundaries when PP restarts.

Mlat processing has been modified to remove a potential vulnerability to changing the designated aircraft during the final stages of the Mlat analysis.

A bug whereby repeated loading of charts using polynomial calibration caused a progressive creep in viewing position, has been fixed. Thanks to David T for suggesting a kludge to facilitate backward compatibilty with this change.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.4.3 [19-01-11]:
Changes in version
Alert box vertical scroll and max alerts increased to 64.
PGR gain defaults defined for version 2.2 and above.
Installer placeholder readme files rewritten.
ABCD buttons default to hidden in new installations
Alterations to HFDL via UDP processing.
Globally unambiguous surface decoding (raw rx only).
OLE/COM SetPGRgain(type,value).
OLE/COM GetDisplayParameter(5) = local rx message rate.
Handle longitude > 180 from miniADSB receiver TCP port.
DSR RTS handshaking for AVR receiver.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.4.2 [21-12-10]:
Changes in version
Quick chart names option:
A new set of choices under Options..Chart..Quick..Name allows you to edit the tooltips that appear when you hover the mouse over any of the Quick chart buttons. If you redefine a Quick chart button, the tooltip will revert to the existing filename-based naming.

Local GPS:
PlanePlotter now features an optional input for a local GPS. If you have a GPS that delivers NMEA format serial data (eg via a USB virtual comm port or Bluetooth), PP can process that data for a number of purposes. You configure the (virtual) serial port in Options..Home location..GPS setup. You enable the GPS input in Options..I/O settings. In the same dialog there is a an option to log the GPS positions to a GPX file that PP can read. If you are using the program while mobile, this might be useful to display where you went.
When processing, PP will unconditionally redefine the Home location that PP uses to match the position received from the GPS.
Warning : If you use this feature in a mobile context and then return home, the Home location will need to be restored manually to the correct position before using PP again - unless you can connect the GPS after you arrived home.
There is a new option to centre the display on the current GPS position. This only works while the GPS is connected and operating but could be useful for mobile users.
Finally, there is an option to plot the GPS location as an aircraft symbol. A dummy aircraft with a "hex" code of "ZZZZZZ" shows the latitude, longitude, course and speed (if available from the GPS). This dummy aircraft is not shared through the sharing system. If you have your own aircraft, this might be a useful feature to display a moving map display with the "heavies" overlaid on it. Make sure you read and understand the expanded disclaimer if you feel like trying this. If you enable this feature, the aircraft symbol replaces the normal home location symbol.

US format QNH:
For users in the USA (and its colonies!), the QNH button now understands QNH expressed in inches of Mercury, as well as the ICAO standard hectoPascals. {If anyone also needs it expressed in leagues of molten osmium, let me know}.

Other changes:
PP now handles the expanded reg number range in the Help..Test networking options.
As noted above, the disclaimer in the licence agreement has been expanded to cover the unlikely situation where someone thinks of using PlanePlotter in the air.
Raw data requests for Mlats are subject to additional checks to try to avoid the situation where corrupted messages are furnished in response to random requests.
When it starts processing, if BaseStation is also running, PP will check the home location in the specified basestation.sqb database to compare it with its own home location. If there is a significant difference, or if BS has multiple locations, it will issue an appropriate warning. If you are certain that there is no underlying problem, you can disable the warning. Sorry for the annoyance but I judged it was worth it, given the number of users who persistently set their BS home locations wrongly and thereby supply nonsense positions for aircraft on the ground.
A bug in the HFDL processing whereby registrations were overwritten when receiving HFDL data via UDP, has been fixed (I hope).

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.4.1 [18-11-10]:
Changes in version
1) Fix crash when restore point changes acft data window state.
2) Trap bug with pageup/dn.
3) Add mouse wheel to floating window.
4) Floating window font matches chart font.
5) Maintain header row in floating window.
6) Flt @@@@@@@@ -> @@..@@ to save column width trim fields to avoid spill.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.9 [16-11-10]:
v5.5.3.8 [15-11-10]:
Bug Fixes in v5.5.3.9:
1) Fix closure of data window on press..stop.
2) Non linear scale for message rate meter.

Changes in version
New aircraft data window:
This version introduces a new floating window showing aircraft data in a user-defined format. You can show this window alongside a chart, "MySky" or any other screen.
The data window is configured with "View..Aircraft data window..Setup" where you can specify which fields appear in which columns of the window. The text and background colours are as specified by "Options..Aircraft view", the same settings as the "View..Aircraft" screen.
You toggle the window with "View..Aircraft data window..Toggle".
The same click functions (sorting, lookup, goto, Mlat) work with this window that work in the "View..Aircraft" screen.
The content of the window is filtered by the same options that you can choose in "View..Aircraft list display options".
The shortcut to open and close the window is the keyboard "A" key.
New message rate window:
This version introduces a new floating window showing the current off-air message rate.
"View..Message rate" toggles the window.
The display shows the rolling average message rate over the preceding 15 seconds.
The shortcut to open and close the window is the keyboard "M" key.
It may be useful to adjust or compare antennas or to tweak receivers that provide user-defined settings.
Other changes:
This version improves the performance of Mlats when using the latest AVR receiver.
This version improves Mlat performance in general by excluding any hyperboloids that are focussed on Ground Stations that are less than 5 km apart.
Tests indicate that the new features are not significantly prejudicial to CPU load but if you close the windows, the program will behave as it did in the previous version.
Thanks to JL for innumerable tests and for twisting my arm to add all the functionality to the new window.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.7 [09-11-10]:
Changes in this version:
1) Fix creep on repeated outlines.
2) Gentler warnings re directories in the C:\Program files path.
3) Avoid default directories in the C:\Program files path.
4) Handle new binary serial number message from SSRx.
5) Check reentrancy on database updating.
6) Handle UDP input for SSRx, PGR and AVR vodka without checking "UDP input from net".
7) Remove duplicate View..Aircraft menu item.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.5 [22-10-10]:
v5.5.3.6 [01-11-10]:
Changes in this version:
Files..Report..Setup report format includes two new options.
There are two new reporting features. They are significantly different as there seem to be at least two distinct requirements. They are not as flexible as Curt's TellMe and ZoneMe add-ons but if your requirement is straightforward, then they have the advantage of being built-in.

The first is an interval timer for automatic report writing. Text reports, in the format defined by the user in the dialog, are appended, at the user-defined time intervals, to a progressive text file called "pp_report[yymmdd].txt". A new file will be created each UTC day. If the specified interval is zero, no automatic reports are generated. The text file is in a fixed format, identical to a manually produced report using Files..Report..Save, so it can easily be imported into other data processing apps.

The second is a new option to generate a daily first/last SQLite database. If this option is enabled, PP will progressively populate a daily SQLite database called "pp_report[yyyymmdd].sqb" containing the unique hex+reg+flight identifier along with the route, type, altitude on first acquisition, altitude in last report, squawk on first acquisition, squawk in last report and the time of first acquisition and last report. A new database is created during each UTC day.

The "Universe" for this first/last logging is the collection of aircraft currently in PlanePlotter. If you have no receiver, it will be those aircraft that fall on your current chart. If you have a receiver, it will be the charted aircraft plus all the aircraft that you are receiving.

Note that if you have your own receiver, it is commonly the case that the first message to be received, lacks the flight number, which comes a little later in a subsequent message. PlanePlotter treats a record without a flight number as different from a record with a flight number. This is necessary because some aircraft (eg light aircraft) never send a flight number and some do not do so on all sectors. Accordingly you will often see two entries for the same aircraft; one brief one without the flight number followed immediately by a longer one with the flight number. It is easy enough to reconcile these in post processing the database.

SQL wizards will be able to play with the content of the new SQLite databases directly. Others will be able to use a new option "Review..Report database", to choose one of the daily SQB files and to process it and display a text summary of the contents. The text file is sorted by hex code, making it easy to extract a particular nation's traffic or, if that is your interest, just the military traffic of a particular nation. The text file is delimited with semicolons (;) so that it can easily be imported into a spreadsheet such as Excell for subsequent sorting and processing.

In case it is not clear, the program populates the SQLIte database progressively through the day. The review of the database is a one-off, retrospective action which can be done at any time.

Other improvements.
UDP message buffering has been modified to help to reduce the incidence of packet collisions resulting in false negatives in the GS/MU status checks.
File names for Mode-S logs from different receivers have been made more informative.
A bug that ocassionally proliferated a Category value after automatic deletion, has been fixed.
PP now checks that the Outline button does indeed find some ".out" files in the specified chart directory and issues a warning otherwise.
On startup, on Vista/Win7 platforms, PP now checks that directory paths do not point to C:\Program files\ and issues a warning if they do.
The list of IP addresses that PP uses for Hypersharing, now persists for ten minutes. This will make the real-time display less dependent on any occasional server hesitation.
PP now trims surplus spaces from aircraft labels to make the labels as compact as possible.
As with almost every addition of new features, incremental demands are made on your processor resources. If you find your machine struggling, then disable the new reporting features to provide relief.
As always, if the new version carries a showstopping problem, the previous version is still on the web site.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.5 [22-10-10]:
Version on the web site now fixes a couple of issues with version

Local automatic Mlats no longer impede the repetition of normal manual Mlats. If you have turned off "Allow Remote" to workaround this problem, please turn it on again. Manual Mlats will now proceed as before.

The "Chart display options..Chart Alerted only" option is now subject to the same dependencies as the other Chart display options.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.4 [21-10-10]:
Changes in this version:
For ACARS users
A long standing problem with the display of the Interested tag for ACARS traffic, has been fixed.

For general users
A new option "View..Chart display options..Chart Alerted aircraft only" allows you to show only those aircraft that are currently featured in an Alert. You can now use the Alert options to tailor your chart/outline display to show only specific categories of aircraft.

For Master Users
Hypersharing is no longer dependent on designating an aircraft. Provided that you have a number of Ground Stations on or around your current chart area, and if you enable the feature, your shared aircraft will be updated every second rather than once per minute for normal sharing. You can turn this feature on and off with the Hypersharing option in Options..Sharing..Setup. If you find that processing load or Internet bandwidth is excessive, you may prefer to turn this feature off.

Local Automatic Mlats
If you enable Hypersharing (see above) and if you also Allow Remote Mlats (in Options..I/O settings) this version of PlanePlotter will initiate local automatic Mlat requests after 30 seconds of user inactivity. The method used for these local automatic Mlats is slightly different from the normal Mlat requests (it does not involve the server) so the Mlat success rate is lower. However, since the process is automatic, the expectation is that most aircraft that are amenable to Mlats, will be harvested as a result of this background activity. Again, if you find that processing load or Internet bandwidth is excessive, you may prefer to turn this feature off.

Port forwarding
A consequence of the changes in this version is that for some routers, Hypersharing and the Local Automatic Mlats will work even if port forwarding has not been set up correctly.

Notwithstanding the above, for the avoidance of any doubt, although this might be some help for Master Users who have difficulty in configuring their routers, it is still essential to configure the router to make manual Mlats succeed and it is **absolutely essential** that Ground Stations correctly configure their routers for port forwarding of UDP packets destined for port 9742.

It is possible that there might be unforseen repercussions of the new Hypersharing and Local Autometic Mlats when performed by a large number of users. If so, the features may be turned off in the sharing server without prior notice.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.3 [17-10-10]:
Changes in this version:
Replay of server logs
An additional Review menu option allows server logs to be replayed. Since the middle of April, I have been archiving the server logs at one minute intervals covering all areas shared by PP users. There is a huge volume of data but each month's worth will fit onto one DVD if it is zipped. If anyone wants to have a copy, contact me off list. This new feature will replay such server logs.

Readable logs for the PGR
Receivers such as the PlaneGadget Radar, that deliver undecoded data to PlanePlotter, will now produce a man-readable/replayable log file as well as the existing binary log file. The new log file can be replayed using PP but, unlike the binary file, it will now show the original time of the reports.
The readable file can be replayed with Review..Mode-S..Kinetic (because it emulates that format).
It may interest PGR users with a collection of binary log files, to know that the new man-readable format will be generated if an old binary log file is replayed in PP. Unfortunately, since there is no date/time clock data in the binary file, the man-readable file generated by replaying a binary log file will still +not+ include the correct date and time of the reports. New log files will carry the correct date/time information.

Bug on starting PGR fixed
A bug potentially affecting PGR users when starting PP, has been fixed. I have received no reports of symptoms relating to this bug but it had the capability of causing instability. It is now fixed.

Second-order polynomial least-squares fit
(ignore this paragraph if those words mean nothing to you).
A new option in the Options..Map calibration menu enables PP to use a second-order polynomial least-squares fit, instead of the existing default linear regression. This means that PP can make better use of large area or high latitude charts that use projections such at the Lambert Conical Orthomorphic. More details are to be found in the Help file.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.2 [08-10-10]:
The changes are:
Quicker reversion to Outlines
The sequence View Outline -> View Aircraft -> View Outline now displays the original outline instantly. It no longer painstakingly re-creates the outline. This should result in a considerable saving of time, especially if you have many compicated outlines.

Alert on route
An additional Alert-on feature is included in the Match section of the Alert box in Options..Chart..Options. You can enter a code for the origin or destination of a flight, using the Add Route button, and it will produce a match if the text that you enter, appears in the route field for any aircraft. Obviously you will choose the appropriate ICAO or IATA format to match the contents of your flightroute.sqb database.

Purge routes - are you sure?
Much as I dislike "Are you sure?" messages, I found it too easy to delete the routes database when I really intended to purge the current aircraft. Options..Purge..Routes now involves a confirmatory step.

Bug fixes
PGR users that are Ground Stations no longer explicitly need to enable the "UDP data from net" option in Options..I/O settings. It will be done automatically whenever the Raw data option is checked.

Help button
Recent versions have not responded correctly to the Help button "?" on the toolbar. This is now fixed.

Category information display
Users of raw-type receivers (PGR, RxC, AVR, SSRx) will no longer see "A0" alongside their aircraft symbols if they enable labelling of aircraft type. In the rare situation where an aircraft transmits something other than "A0", they will still see the category code displayed. Any such obliging aircraft will also use that category information to choose the plotted aircraft symbol unless information in the User tag directs otherwise.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.1 [24-09-10]:
There are two changes.

Calibration coordinates can now be entered in a wider variety of formats. It accepts decimal degrees, degrees and decimal minutes, degrees, minutes and decimal seconds. There are still constraints on the way that you present the data but no calculation is now required if the source data is in any reasonable format. See the Help file for full details of the format that you must use.

For the tiny minority of commentators who welcomed the idea, you can now customise the aircraft symbols by specific aircraft or by type of aircraft. I find it enhances my enjoyment of the program but if you are not interested, then simply ignore this feature.

In addition to the optional customised symbol in previous versions, you can now use a set of up to 15 different symbols to represent different aircraft categories.

Each symbol is constructed in the same way as described in the Help file for "planesymbol.txt". The file names are of the form "planesymbol1.txt", "planesymbol2.txt" through to "planesymbolF.txt". The extra letters in the file name are 1-9 and A-F. The symbol defined in "planesymbol.txt" remains the default symbol to be used for all aircraft that are not otherwise annotated.

To use the extra symbols, insert into the User tag field for the aircraft in question the following two characters :
"$1" will cause PP to display the symbol in "planesymbol1.txt"
"$2" will cause PP to display the symbol in "planesymbol2.txt"

.... "$F" will cause PP to display the symbol in "planesymbolF.txt"

The User tag for any aircraft can be edited by right clicking on an aircraft and clicking on the Edit button.

If you already employ the User tag for some other purpose, then, provided it does not exceed the total 5 character limit, you can add "$1" etc after the characters that you already use. PP will find the "$n" pair anywhere in the User tag.

In particular, if you already use the User tag to code the type according to the Airframes convention (L2J, etc) then you can still add the "$n" pair after the type code. As a special case, PP recognises Airframes formats of the H2T form to indicate helicopters (symbol $7) without using the "$n" annotation.

You can design your own symbols as described in the Help file but as an example of the possible symbols that you can create, this release includes three files. "planeplotter1.txt", which represents a light aircraft, "planeplotter6.txt", which represents a fast jet and "planeplotter7.txt" which represents a helicopter. The numbers 1, 6, 7 were chosen to coincide with the (largely unsused) category codes that Mode-S flight number messages should transmit, but seldom do. To display the alternative symbols, you need to add the appropriate "$1" etc. to the User tag for each aircraft in category.

If you are not otherwise using the User tag, you can use SQlite3 to bulk edit the database. I have put an example SQL file (helotype.sql) into the Files area of this group. It will add User tag "$7" to all the helicopter type entries in your type SQB file in one easy process. Having done that, all helicopters will then be displayed using an appropriate symbol on the chart view.

Do not do this bulk method if you already employ the User tags, because it will overwrite the existing User tag for all helicopter types.

To use the SQL file, you need to get all the files (sqlite3.exe, your SQB database and helotypes.sql) into the directory where your type SQB database is located, and then open a CMD prompt (Windows-button-R CMD OK) and navigate to the chosen directory and perform the following (note the dot before the 'read') :
sqlite3 basestation.sqb
>.read helotype.sql

If your database is called something other than basestation.sqb, then you should change the first line above, appropriately.

As an alternative to displaying different symbols for different types of aircraft, you could use the new feature to distinguish aircraft that are interesting (eg. big symbol) and those that are not (eg. small symbol or zero symbol). Having designed appropriate symbols, you would then encode the User tags of each aircraft accordingly. This could be done with a simple SQL command like : UPDATE Aircraft SET UserTag="$F" WHERE Interested = -1; assuming that the file "planesymbolF.txt" contained your emphasised symbol. If you made the "planesymbol.txt", which you will remember is the default symbol, a small or zero symbol, then only your Interested aircraft would be plotted with a conspicuous symbol.

The same approach could be used if you were exclusively interested in one particular aircraft or one particular aircraft fleet.

Warning: Using this feature adds to the processing load. If you are displaying a large number of aircraft at once, you may encounter problems on slower machines. In that case, unset the tags or simply delete all the planesymbol.txt files to disable the feature. If it breaks, the previous version of PP is still on the web site.

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.3.0 [Not published]:

v5.5.2.9 [17-09-10]: Thanks to all those who have suggested new features or drawn attention to shortcomings.

New features:

The Edit box now allows you to edit the route information for a given flight number, as well as being able to edit the registration and type details for the specific aircraft.
The highlighting feature (used via the OLE/COM interface by scripts), now appears over the MySky view as well as on the regular chart view.
You can now specify a maximum number of aircraft within PP using a string with the format "A250" in the "Delete after" box in Options..Chart..Options. The example shown will cause PP to keep the number of active aircraft at or below 250 by deleting the oldest aircraft. If you insert a conventional decimal number in the "Delete after" box, then the aircraft limit will be cancelled and aircraft will only be deleted when their most recent report is older than the given number of minutes.
On installation, you can now specify, in advance, the directories (folders) used for chart files, log files and image files. They will default to your existing settings if you are installing over an earlier version.
The Help file section on Multilateration has been edited and the system Start Menu now includes links to the Mlat tutorial and to the data flow diagram.
Networked data can now be shared to the secondary server. It remains blocked for sharing to the main server to avoid upsetting the Circles/MyCircles feature and the choice of GSs in Mlats.
If the display is showing MySky during an Mlat, it will no longer switch to the chart display at completion. This should make it easier if you are using MySKy to identify an Mlatted aircraft.

Bug fixes:

The progressive drift which occurred on repeated opening of Quick charts, is fixed.
File names now appear in the title bar with their original capitalisation, rather than being converted to lower case. This might make them easier to read.
Google-Earth support KML files are installed to the app directory (NFF).

Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.2.8 [27-08-10]:
Minor 'tweaks':
Fix long-standing bug causing busy CPU hang after intensive Mlats.
Correct inappropriate settings with PGR.

v5.5.2.7 [26-08-10]:
Minor 'tweak' - CTRL-SHIFT on chart/outline to repeat Mlat.

v5.5.2.6 [26-08-10]:
Minor 'tweak' - Mlat process adapted non SBS receivers.

v5.5.2.5 [16-08-10]:
Minor 'tweak' - fix bug in route data access.

v5.5.2.4 [13-08-10]:
Minor 'tweak' - fix 800 ft shortfall in DF=0/4=16/20 M=0 Q=1 altitude decoding.

v5.5.2.3 [09-08-10]:
Minor 'tweak' - better handling of PGR frame sync.

v5.5.2.2 [05-08-10]:
Minor 'tweak' - fine tuning of AVR receiver raw data.

v5.5.2.1 [16-07-10]:
Bug fixes and cosmetics:
There are several bug fixes and enhancements for recent receiver types.
Registration lookups have been increased for some receiver types.
A minor bug in Mlat processing has been fixed. Note that as a result, the number of hyper curves in an Mlat result may appear to be less but the quality of the result will be better.
Route names derived from a local database can now be up to 16 characters. They will appear that length in the View..Aircraft list and in the Airrep dialog but only the first 9 characters will be passed to the sharing system.
The duration of the "Highlight" feature has been restored. It shrank to almost nothing when the refresh rate increased to every second. It is now 8 seconds and shrinks away during that time.
A bug which resulted in editing the wrong aircraft if you are slow to click Edit in the Airrep dialog, has been fixed.
Help..About now shows a less cryptic version of the reg no and the share code.

NoniMapView support:
Support is introduced for NoniMapView. This handy Java utility can be downloaded from
It enables you to prepare PP compatible map/image files using Google satellite, road or terrain images, OpenStreetMap, Yahoo Satellite and roads, Virtual Earth satellites and roads. Unlike the limited features in PP itself, NoniMapView can generate maps of any size and with any level of precision, using more types of background.

Brief introduction to using NoniMapView with PP:
Download the Java app from the Aeguerre link above and run it.
Choose the required layer in the Main Display pulldown.
Drag the map about and use the mousewheel or the Display slider to zoom in or out to show your area of interest.
Click on Select Area and drag the cursor to define the area that you want to download as a map.
Select the resolution with the Download slider. It does not have to be the same as the Display slider but it is good place to start with. Watch the Size window to make sure you are not making a monster. Note that it is very easy accidentally to start a multi gigabyte download and huge images will not load into PP unless you have sufficient memory.
Click Start.
You will see a file dialog. Choose a suitable name and save it in the chart directory that you have defined in PP.
Here's the nice bit: Noni saves both a JPG and a calibration .map file in the selected directory. The map file is compatible with PP .clb files. This version of PP will now open the new JPG file and pick up the .map file automatically, to provide the necessary calibration information. Simply select Files..Open new chart in PP and choose the file that you just created.
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.1.5 [29-06-10]:
SSRx serial mode switched to binary.
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.1.4 [29-06-10]:
SSRx serial DTR line disabled afte r100ms.
improved position decoding for PGR/AVR/RxC/SSRx.
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.1.3 [21-06-10]:
Bug fixes:
Fix display bug in Int/Tag when timing out.
Fix bug restricting routes from updating.
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.1.2 [20-06-10]:
Version fixes some infelicities and adds a couple of features.

Bug fixes:
Fixed bug whereby edits to SQB did not always stick. Fixed bug whereby acft not in SQB would be added but default to "Interested".

New features:
Add Neither/Interested/Not interested to Alert options. Add UserTag to Alert text match options.

The alert options allow you to be much more specific about which aircraft are going to generate an alert. The use of either of these, allows you to generate an alert on an unlimited number of specific aircraft (prevously limited to 50) by using the Edit option (which should always work now) to tag the aircraft of interested.
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.1.1 [18-06-10]:
Version of PlanePlotter is now on the web.
Remove debug routine that was causing buffer truncation
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.1 [17-06-10]:

Full details of the changes are to be found in the Help file but here is a brief synopsis.
Trim/edit excessive SQB fields, rather than ignore them Fetch route information for PGR/AVR/RxC reception OLE/COM access to "Interested" and "UserTag" fields
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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v5.5.0 [17-06-10]:

Full details of the changes are to be found in the Help file but here is a brief synopsis. Aurora SSRx support (in beta) Hypershare only appropriate data Incoming Hypershare sets '??' for share code Add "interested" and "user tag" fields to View..Aircraft Add edit button to Airrep dialog to update Reg, Type, Interetsed, User Update SQB database with edits (if enabled) Add Interested, UserTag fields to SQB database if not present Ctrl-right click on Aircraft View opens Airrep dialog Sort Aircraft View by interested and user tag fields View or Chart Interested/Not interested fields Google Earth labels mirror chart labels Improve location decoding in PGR/AVR/RxC Fix bug in range rings sizing Fix bug in PGR/AVR/RxC not indicating "local" traffic
I hope the introduction of "Interested" and "UserTag" and the change from "ignore" to "truncate" for excessively long fields, will mollify those who found the previous version so contentious.
The ability to edit the relevant fields in the SQB database from within PP, is an entirely new feature.
There are many changes in this version. It is impossible to test all combinations of circumstances so don't be surprised if there are infelicities. You may regard the whole thing as a beta version.
Regards, Bev, COAA.
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