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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:15 pm 
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bioyuki - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:00 pm
Posts: 36
ericcarlson wrote:
Also, in the opposite scenario (high RF noise environment, more common in urban areas), the Pro Stick Plus performs best with the external filter installed.


I live in an extremely high RF noise environment. Is the Official Flight Aware Recommendation™ to use the Prostick Plus + the external filter in those situations? Depending the answer I guess my FA filter might not go to waste... :lol:

On a separate note, looks like the Prostick Plus is sold out on Amazon in the US till next week. Can't wait to get one and test.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:38 pm 
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mduell - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:00 pm
Posts: 5121
Location: FAWHQ
bioyuki wrote:
I live in an extremely high RF noise environment. Is the Official Flight Aware Recommendation™ to use the Prostick Plus + the external filter in those situations? Depending the answer I guess my FA filter might not go to waste... :lol:


My recommendation is to try both configurations and see which one works better.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:52 pm 
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bioyuki - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:00 pm
Posts: 36
mduell wrote:
My recommendation is to try both configurations and see which one works better.


I'm likely going to work off a clean 3.1 install. How do I go about testing various configs, configuring gain, etc. without the mutability/jprochazka performance graphs?


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:32 pm 
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mduell - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:00 pm
Posts: 5121
Location: FAWHQ
The slow version is to make a change and check your stats page.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:32 pm 
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k6rtm - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:18 pm
Posts: 416
Location: Silicon Valley
bioyuki wrote:
mduell wrote:
My recommendation is to try both configurations and see which one works better.


I'm likely going to work off a clean 3.1 install. How do I go about testing various configs, configuring gain, etc. without the mutability/jprochazka performance graphs?

My (repeated) recommendation -- figuring out what helps/hurts is difficult as traffic changes day by day. Because traffic changes day to day, you need a reference to compare to, a reference with performance that also changes with those daily traffic changes.

(1) On your stats page, look at Nearby ADS-B Sites. Pick one close to you that has similar numbers and has been around for a while. This is going to be your reference.
(2) record your numbers and that site's numbers daily to see how they track. The idea is to find a site that tracks your numbers, not in values necessarily, but in the daily ups and downs. I record things at around 0030Z, or when I get home.
(3) when it looks like you've got a good reference, start making changes! Make a change (I tend to make changes late at night when traffic counts are low, but still there so I can be sure I didn't completely bork things). Record your numbers for a few days to get an idea what that change does.
(4) repeat -- make a change, watch the numbers, and learn.
(5) tell us what works and what doesn't!

Fireside story on performance monitoring--

Once upon a time, many, many moons (decades!) ago, I worked in the mainframe computer racket doing system software -- process scheduling, I/O management, file systems, that kind of thing. Our system (CP-V running on SDS Sigma 5/6/7/9 systems) also had a lot of built-in performance monitoring and tuning features. This was in the days when the OS was written in assembly code and computers remembered using little donuts made of rust -- before the days of modern DRAM.

Occasionally we'd get really enthusiastic (nay, rabid) system folks at customer sites who tried to tune the last little bit of performance out of their systems and would come to us (and me) with wild performance claims and questions.

If they indeed sounded a bit unhinged, we asked them to perform their set of tests varying a particular parameter, SL:BB, and let us know what effect this parameter had on performance. What value of SL:BB gives the best performance? The worst? Run your performance tests varying SL:BB and get back to us.

The correct response was that SL:BB doesn't do jack for performance. We'd planned to do things with that parameter, and the ability to change it and report it was built into the performance tools, but down in the guts of the operating system, it wasn't connected to anything.

Yet we had folks who were adamant that a particular value of SL:BB tanked performance, or really improved performance, or that performance was all over the map as they changed SL:BB...

It was a most valuable tool...

End of fireside story.

bob k6rtm


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:54 pm 
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bioyuki - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:00 pm
Posts: 36
Did I get a bad Pro Stick Plus hardware wise?

Compared with my non-TCXO v1.0 Pro Stick + FA Filter, I'm getting about 5% less messages and 10-15% less positions across a variety of gain levels compared with the Pro Stick Plus + FA Filter. When I use just the Pro Stick Plus without the FA Filter, I get almost nothing in:

Pro Stick Plus + FA Filter:
Code:
test 1 of 10
gain= 49.6 messages= 2277 positions= 278 planes= 32
gain= 48.0 messages= 2329 positions= 284 planes= 33
gain= 44.5 messages= 2242 positions= 265 planes= 32
gain= 42.1 messages= 2331 positions= 280 planes= 31
gain= 40.2 messages= 2382 positions= 290 planes= 34
gain= 38.6 messages= 2422 positions= 284 planes= 33
gain= 36.4 messages= 2389 positions= 287 planes= 35


Pro Stick Plus directly to the antenna:
Code:
test 1 of 10
gain= 49.6 messages= 257 positions= 24 planes= 7
gain= 48.0 messages= 288 positions= 25 planes= 8
gain= 44.5 messages= 276 positions= 20 planes= 7
gain= 42.1 messages= 275 positions= 30 planes= 6
gain= 40.2 messages= 387 positions= 32 planes= 7
gain= 38.6 messages= 250 positions= 13 planes= 7
gain= 36.4 messages= 266 positions= 17 planes= 6


With the official language being:

Do I still need an external filter if I use a Pro Stick Plus?
Generally the answer is no. However, our testing has shown that in rare situations involving high RF environments (with a high noise floor) the external filter may still be beneficial due to strong interference. Unfortunately there is no easy way to predict in advance the exact performance of a Pro Stick, Pro Stick Plus and/or external filter in your particular environment.

Is there something with the filter in my Pro Stick Plus? In my case it seems like the external FA filter is a requirement vs. a nice to have which goes against the messaging from FA on the product?


Last edited by bioyuki on Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:00 pm 
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bioyuki - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:00 pm
Posts: 36
k6rtm wrote:
bioyuki wrote:
mduell wrote:
My recommendation is to try both configurations and see which one works better.


I'm likely going to work off a clean 3.1 install. How do I go about testing various configs, configuring gain, etc. without the mutability/jprochazka performance graphs?

My (repeated) recommendation -- figuring out what helps/hurts is difficult as traffic changes day by day. Because traffic changes day to day, you need a reference to compare to, a reference with performance that also changes with those daily traffic changes.

(1) On your stats page, look at Nearby ADS-B Sites. Pick one close to you that has similar numbers and has been around for a while. This is going to be your reference.
(2) record your numbers and that site's numbers daily to see how they track. The idea is to find a site that tracks your numbers, not in values necessarily, but in the daily ups and downs. I record things at around 0030Z, or when I get home.
(3) when it looks like you've got a good reference, start making changes! Make a change (I tend to make changes late at night when traffic counts are low, but still there so I can be sure I didn't completely bork things). Record your numbers for a few days to get an idea what that change does.
(4) repeat -- make a change, watch the numbers, and learn.
(5) tell us what works and what doesn't!


Your methodology is correct when you're trying to dial in something perfectly. But of course to set up this type of experiment with a good control is hard in the real world where local geography and various antenna setups makes it next to impossible to find an apples to apples comparison. For example the closest receiver to me is less than half a mile away, but because of geography and elevation, sees drastically different traffic patterns than I do.

My point more for the FlightAware folks is that the UI in the feeder site is nice quick summary when I check in on stuff, but adds very little value when trying to fine tune, or even rough tune a station. Without using the collectd performance graphs, it's very difficult (and takes many, many days) to even dial in the rough ballpark for gain, antenna placement, etc. I'm just surprised FA hasn't officially supported some of that functionality as an optional setup in their image/package.

Speaking of experiments and methodology, I can have results in < 1 hour, and with such a short time frame, in my mind it actually provides better apples to apples results when making adjustments.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:08 am 
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FlightAware Staff
ericcarlson - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 112
I'm pleased to announce the availability of FlightAware products in the Chinese domestic market. All four products -- Pro Stick, Pro Stick Plus, 1090 MHz antenna and 1090 MHz filter -- are now available via MyHamPlace on taobao.com. Shipping is also available to other international locations from this vendor.

Pro Stick Plus: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=544336874703
Pro Stick: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=544354567064
Antenna: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=544328757035
Filter: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=544355119151

FlightAware is continuing to work to expand international distribution in 2017 and I expect to have more announcements soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:07 pm 
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GeorgLichtblau - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:28 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Austria
k6rtm wrote:
Yet we had folks who were adamant that a particular value of SL:BB tanked performance, or really improved performance, or that performance was all over the map as they changed SL:BB...


:)

Reminds me of changing switches at branch offices a lot of years ago... 100Mbit/s instead of 10Mbit/s.... Most of the people said that there is a remarkable speed difference... We never told them that the 256kbit/s WAN-Link never changed. :)

The same effect some years ago at changing from 100Mbit/s to Gigabitswitches. :)

Because the tiny little box at the bottom of the screen says it is faster, it have to bei faster....

Imagination can change the world and sometimes physics. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:46 pm 
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PeterHR - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:02 am
Posts: 700
Location: UK
3 days ago I installed the FA filter in front of my blue ProStickPlus - my stats went down, so I removed the filter the following day.

At 16:00 today, I swapped the ProStickPlus for the cylindrical filter and the older orange ProStick - stats seem slightly higher that with the ProStickPlus

I'll do some range plots next week to compare

----

Just curious,

Whats the possibility of getting the FA filter tweaked for 978Mhz (UAT) instead of 1090Mhz (Mode S) - possibly with a different color body?
This could then be used with a Orange ProStick for a UAT reciever


Last edited by PeterHR on Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:48 pm 
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Skibox - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:33 pm
Posts: 84
PeterHR wrote:
Whats the possibility of getting the FA filter tweaked for 978Mhz (UAT) instead of 1090Mhz (Mode S) - possibly with a different color body?
This could then be used with a blue ProStick for a UAT reciever


There is no need, the current product is wide open at 978, almost no difference at all compared to 1090.

What we need is instead a tighter filter that fiters out everything below 1GHz, for all of us in the world that has NO UAT, but plenty of GSM900.


And, the blue PsP will never do UAT, since it has a 1090 SAW filter...!

/M


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:46 am 
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PeterHR - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:02 am
Posts: 700
Location: UK
Skibox wrote:
PeterHR wrote:
Whats the possibility of getting the FA filter tweaked for 978Mhz (UAT) instead of 1090Mhz (Mode S) - possibly with a different color body?
This could then be used with a blue ProStick for a UAT reciever


There is no need, the current product is wide open at 978, almost no difference at all compared to 1090.

What we need is instead a tighter filter that fiters out everything below 1GHz, for all of us in the world that has NO UAT, but plenty of GSM900.


And, the blue PsP will never do UAT, since it has a 1090 SAW filter...!

/M



sorry meant orange ProStick {will edit prev post}


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:59 pm 
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ericcarlson - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 112
European availability has been restored via our new partner ModMyPi.com. Please see this thread for more: post203673.html#p203673
Or visit them directly here: https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/br ... lightaware


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:31 pm 
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biekerc - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:17 am
Posts: 59
ericcarlson wrote:
European availability has been restored via our new partner ModMyPi.com. Please see this thread for more: https://discussions.flightaware.com/pos ... ml#p203673
Or visit them directly here: https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/br ... lightaware


Good news, but what a price hike, eg from 16.95 Euro to 24.79 Euro for the ProStick, the difference increasing further when you consider p&p, which is 4.15 to Germany,

For the ProStick Plus for 30.99 Euro, p&p increases to 8.67 because it is tracked, so the total adds up 39.66 Euro, about the same it costs to buy it on ebay via the US.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:04 pm 
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andrew6721 - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sun May 10, 2015 5:06 am
Posts: 69
Location: Sydney, Australia
biekerc wrote:
Good news, but what a price hike........................


Geez, I wish you lot would stop complaining...... try getting anything sent to Australia !!!! with the way the exchange rate is (not in our favour 99.9% of the time) you lot get things cheap !!!!!

(BTW - I'm typing this with a big grin on my face)

:D :D


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:30 pm 
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LudgerBoergerding - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:33 am
Posts: 53
I agree with biekerc, it is too expensive. Will it be available at Amazon Europe again?


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:03 pm 
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badshortie - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:57 am
Posts: 3
biekerc wrote:
For the ProStick Plus for 30.99 Euro, p&p increases to 8.67 because it is tracked, so the total adds up 39.66 Euro, about the same it costs to buy it on ebay via the US.

Twice as expensive as I bought it in December 2016 at Amazon Germany with Prime (free shipping).

I live in the southwest of Germany and started tracking in 2/2015 with a "normal" DVB-T (RTL2832U + R820T) stick and the stock antenna. In summer 2015 I switched to a DIY 8 element CoCo antenna which increased the number of positions and flights - up to 120 planes in dump1090. Costs: ~ 14 Euro for the stick, ~ 6 Euro for the antenna (coax-cable, plastic tube, connectors) - which is a total of ~ 20 Euro. In December 2016 I switched to the Pro Stick Plus (paid 19.90 Euro) and now I have up to 150 planes in dump1090.

My conclusion: If someone is interested what's going on around 150-200 km a good antenna and a cheaper stick is enough. If you want more range and a higher position in the FA statistiscs then think about a Pro Stick or Pro Stick Plus.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:02 pm 
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chriscummings59 - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:55 pm
Posts: 1
I installed mine yesterday and it has helped a bunch. Well worth the 20 bucks! My other unit (R820T2) had started to crash almost daily about a month ago. So far so good!


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:13 am 
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kurthackl - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:45 pm
Posts: 1
Just want to share also my experience with the new stick.Get one of the last sticks on Amazon in Europe, and before i have increased my receiving step by step.
but the boost are the Pro Stick Plus! (+100%) with them i double my reception, please see pictures.
I have changed from R820T2 TV & SDR DVB-T USB to Pro Stick Plus!
Image
Image

Today i shorten my lenght of my H155 cable from 10meter to 1meter that brings me again 20% more reception.
Next step will, to bring my Antenna to the roof(with free view) and bring my raspberry also to the roof within a case.

Also received now planes outside of bounderies:
Image





By the way....
I Get always "You don't have permission to access /posting.php on this server." when i will post....


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:49 pm 
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Louisianapilot - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:00 pm
Posts: 2
For those wondering if the piaware antenna and pro stick is worth it...

I have had a 600% increase in hourly positions reported and my distance has increased to over 200 miles.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:02 pm 
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KD1SQ - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:15 am
Posts: 1
I'm in KLEB territory for awhile (before I go back to KFVE area to retire in six months to four years.)

I was running PiAware here with a standard R820T dongle.

Just switched to a Pro Stick Plus. Also tweaked gain from standard -0dB to +42dB (I assume that's the unit of measurement here unless manufacturer had chosen something strange.)

I'm seeing a large increase in traffic over what I had before. Probably 100% to 200% more at least.

So, thus far, very much worth the cheap cost.


I guess I'll be getting the FA antenna in the next month or so - should be an interesting further upgrade then.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:03 pm 
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ToyonADSB - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:27 pm
Posts: 17
I'm pretty impressed with this radio. After operating with the standard DTV dongle for a week, I upgraded to the Pro Stick Plus. Compared to the daily stats for the same day last week, the number of aircraft detected is up 22% while the number of reports received is up a whopping 70%. I've noticed increased range as well as many more detections at lower altitudes at airports 60 miles away or more.

BTW, my antenna is the PY4ZBZ dipole (described elsewhere in this forum) about 12 feet off the ground (I'm going to construct one of the coaxial colinear antennas, next).


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:48 pm 
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biekerc - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:17 am
Posts: 59
Finally I ordered the Pro Stick Plus from modmypi.com, but only because I also wanted the new Pi Zero W, and for both (and some other small stuff) the shipping costs seemed more palpatable.

To be fair, it everything arrived quickly, most things I order from the UK take two to three days longer to arrive.

The Pro Stick Plus is unfortunately out of stock right now...


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:56 pm 
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inoc - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:00 am
Posts: 23
ericcarlson wrote:
As we noted in the product launch announcement, filtering results are highly dependent on the environment at your antenna location.

If you are in the low RF noise environment, it is possible for the Pro Stick Plus to underperform vs. a Pro Stick (with no external filters used). In our testing this was found to be the case in rural environments.

Also, in the opposite scenario (high RF noise environment, more common in urban areas), the Pro Stick Plus performs best with the external filter installed.


I'm a bit confused: If the prostick +'s LNA is the first device at the antenna input to the prostick + it will set the "system temperature";
i.e. the S/N ratio is set by the LNA and is a constant downstream of the LNA.
Only the amplification of both the signal and the noise is degraded equally by subsequent processing.

With that in mind the insertion loss of the SAW filter should have no effect on the performance in a quiet environment as opposed to a noisy one.
...so why does it?

Not so incidentally, what is the noise figure of the LNA at 1090MHz? and at what input level does it go into compression?

Thanks for any insight.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing the Pro Stick Plus!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:05 pm 
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david.baker - FlightAware user avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:34 pm
Posts: 162
Quote:
I'm a bit confused: If the prostick +'s LNA is the first device at the antenna input to the prostick + it will set the "system temperature";
i.e. the S/N ratio is set by the LNA and is a constant downstream of the LNA.
Only the amplification of both the signal and the noise is degraded equally by subsequent processing.

With that in mind the insertion loss of the SAW filter should have no effect on the performance in a quiet environment as opposed to a noisy one.
...so why does it?

Not so incidentally, what is the noise figure of the LNA at 1090MHz? and at what input level does it go into compression?

Thanks for any insight.


I think your terms are slightly off. Hope this answer will helps clearing up what we are talking about.

The "system temperature" noise is part of the noise floor. You can think of the noise floor as all the noise that is picked up by the environment, the circuit, the temperature. There are parts that block environmental noise like the FA filter. There are parts the lower the circuit noise like USB chokes and shielding. And there are ways to lower the temperature like fans and heat sinks. The largest and easiest way to lower the noise is with a filter. You can also reduce the other noise sources but they will not have as large as an effect. In most locations the noise floor has been creeping up from around -100dBm in rural location to -80dBm in cities. This is mostly due to the sources of noise from a lot electronic devices.

The signal is the part we want and you get a signal to noise (S/N ratio) based on how high the signal is above the noise floor. We also want the signal to be in the sweet spot for the receiver. It is actually quite hard to measure this without the correct equipment but in practice the prostick can measure from about -40dBm to -90dBm signals. Signal more than -40dBm will be in compression (overloading the receiver). In practice you can adjust the gain on the receiver so it doesn't go into compression.

The LNA is a 67150 amplifier (check the data sheet linked below) to see that it boost the signal *AND* noise by ~20dB but also adds ~0.23dB of noise to the signal (ie. this is on the spec sheets as the noise figure). http://www.skyworksinc.com/Product/1729/SKY67150-396LF

Quote:
With that in mind the insertion loss of the SAW filter should have no effect on the performance in a quiet environment as opposed to a noisy one.
...so why does it?


The main aim of a receiver is to increase the S/N ratio (this is what is called performance) and there are two ways to do this. Raise the Signal level OR lower the noise level. Amplifiers do the first thing and filters do the second thing.

Filters lower the noise by a lot and lower the signal level a little. The FA filter is speced at 2dB insertion loss (the signal is slightly degraded) and ~40dB noise rejection (the noise is greatly reduced).

There are so many complicated environments that have different types of noise sources. Without knowing the specific type of noise it is hard to know exactly what will happens to your system. The FA filtering works on a specific type of noise and can actually drop the noise level by 40dB. In other cases you will see no drop in noise.

Back to answer your question on the prostick plus's built in filtering. It works by filtering mostly white frequency noise and then a lot of out of band noise due to the Low IF design.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_noise
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_IF_receiver

The two key things are:
1) Noise and Signal can be filter or amplified somewhat independently
2) The type and frequency of the noise matters a lot. Just saying you have a lot of noise doesn't mean that filtering will help. And sometimes filtering can make the S/N slightly worse.


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