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How To Setup Virtual Radar Server on Debian


:   Alexander


Virtual Radar is a software used to visualize the air traffic on a local map, and it can be set up with an RTL-SDR (Software Defined Radio) on Debian. This guide will walk you through the setup process step by step.


  • A Raspberry Pi running Debian or a similar system
  • RTL-SDR dongle
  • Virtual Radar software
  • Mono runtime environment

Step 1: Install the mono runtime environment

Virtual Radar requires the mono runtime environment, which is used to run .NET applications on a Linux system. To install mono, run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt install mono-runtime

Step 2: Install RTL-SDR software

Next, install the RTL-SDR software by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt install rtl-sdr

Step 3: Download Virtual Radar software

Download Virtual Radar software from the official website and extract the files to a folder on your system.

Step 4: Setup RTL-SDR dongle

Connect your RTL-SDR dongle to your Raspberry Pi and run the following command to test that it is connected and working:

sudo rtl_test
You should see a message indicating that the device was found and the test was successful.

Step 5: Start Virtual Radar

Start Virtual Radar by running the following command in the terminal:

mono VirtualRadar.exe

Step 6: Configure Virtual Radar (GUI)

Open the configuration file for Virtual Radar by selecting "Tools" in the top menu and then "Options". Choose the "Data Sources" tab and select the option to "Add Receiver".

For the receiver type, select "RTL Dongles". Ensure the correct frequency is set for your location and that the correct device is selected.

Step 7: Setup without GUI

You will need to install the web admin plugin before you can configure the program via the web browser. Download the plugin's tarball from here:

Web Admin Plugin Tarball or

Unpack the plugin into the folder where you unpacked the server, keeping the directory structure intact.

If you have unpacked everything correctly then you should have a folder under the Virtual Radar Server folder called Plugins, within which is a folder called WebAdmin.

You will need to create an administrator user within VRS before you can access the admin pages. You can use the -createAdmin and -password switches on the command line for this, and you can use the -nogui switch to start VRS headless:

mono VirtualRadar.exe -nogui -createAdmin:admin -password:password
Once the server is up and running you should be able to reach the admin pages at /WebAdmin/Index.html. Assuming that you are using the default port number and that the browser is running on the same computer that VRS is running on then this address should work:
Go to the Options page to configure the server as per Step 6.


Setting up Virtual Radar with an RTL-SDR on Debian is a straightforward process. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily setup your own air traffic visualization tool. With Virtual Radar, you can keep an eye on planes in your local area and gain an insight into the flight patterns and traffic movements.