1090/978 Install Help

I’ve installed a dual band 1090MHZ / 978MHz antenna and a 978 filter in series with my ProStick Plus. How do I configure my RPi? Please, don’t be too technical because I’m definitely not! I’ve had 1090 running for a good while and thought I’d add 978 to the system. Thanks!

There’s a few things. This will be more technical and involved than you are hoping!

  1. The Pro Stick Plus blue FA stick attempts to filter out everything except 1090MHz signals basically. It won’t work for UAT/978MHZ.
  2. Thus you’ll want 978MHz receiver like the orange FA Pro stick. See here: https://flightaware.com/adsb/prostick/
  3. Both sticks will need to be plugged into your Pi USB ports.
  4. Your post reads like you will use one antenna for both, or two antennas? Most of us use a different antenna for 1090MHz and 978MHz, but you might be fine using a splitter Y cable with that antenna to both of your FA sticks. Someone more knowledgeable than I will let you know if there’s a signal strength/loss issue with a splitter, but I assume it would work.
  5. You’ll need to serialize both FA sticks. → How-to Serialize Dongles for ES1090 + UAT978

If you are using the PiAware RPI image, just go to @abcd567 's post here.

If you installed PiAware (and dump1090-fa and dump978-fa) packages manually, this might help, after you serialize your dongles:
a. Update dump1090-fa and dump978-fa configs, e.g.
sudo nano /etc/default/dump1090-fa
Modify like: RECEIVER_OPTIONS="--device-index 00001090 --gain <your-gain-#-here> --ppm 0""
b. sudo nano /etc/default/dump978-fa
Modify → RECEIVER_OPTIONS="--sdr driver=rtlsdr,serial=00000978 --sdr-gain <your-gain-#-here> --format CS8"

With my package install, I have this in my piaware.conf anyway.
c. sudo nano /etc/piaware.conf
uat-receiver-type sdr # updated by fa_piaware_config
uat-sdr-device driver=rtlsdr,serial=00000978 # updated by fa_piaware_config


Great answer.

Short answer: You need two receivers.

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Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the 978 filter eliminates 1090 and the filter in the Pro Stick Plus filters out 978.

I have a single antenna that receives both 978 and 1090. I don’t have a splitter. There is one coax from the antenna that feeds into the 978 filter which feeds into my FA ProStick Plus, which is plugged into the USB port on the RPi. I have a wireless network in my house. My antenna is mounted on my roof and is about 35’AGL. My range is about 250 miles. I’m not sure what’s filtering out what, but my aircraft count has been pretty consistent no matter what filter/antenna I’m using. Here in Central Florida (about mid-way between Tampa and Orlando), I see about 3000 flights daily with roughly 900,000 messages. I just really wanted to see how/if 978MHz impacts my numbers. I wish I understood more, but I’m a boomer having grown up in an analog world where about the coolest thing available was a programmable Texas Instruments Calculator. I did learn to write code in COBOL and a couple of other antique languages and I could make macros scream. But the tech world ultimately ran me over. Thanks for your help, and I think I can muddle my way through. If I need two RPi’s, then I’ll probably just live with 1090 for a bit. I think a splitter would wipe out any gains I could potentially see by adding 978MHz anyway.

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You’re in a flat area so you get great range. I live in a hilly area surrounded by a forest. Somehow I manage to eke out 2000-2500 flights per day. UAT only accounts for 25-35 flights per day, but up to 5000-6000 positions because the little UAT aircraft hover like gnats, flying sometimes as low as 80 knots. I’m a retired boomer too, and also worked in IT. I love this hobby and it keeps my *nix mind nimble.

You can’t do 1090 + 978 with one SDR.
Also even if you have two SDR, the 978 SDR must not be the ProStickPlus as it has a narrow 1090 filter.

And the filter you talk about is likely 1090 + 978 is it not?
If it’s a 978 only filter, remove it or your 1090 reception will be bad.

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Yeah, I get it now. I’m just going back to my original configuration with 1090 only. I see that I was trying to put both shoes on one foot at the same time. It just won’t work. Thanks … this is a great community, and I truly appreciate all the advice and assistance!

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I believe you CAN run 978 and 1090 on a PI you just need two USB dongles 1 blue and 1 orange. I’m attempting to do it myself it’s just super confusing.

abcd567s guide is quite clear, not sure if it’s been linked above.
How to Install and Configure Piaware 5.0 SD card image - Quickstart Guide

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I’m up and running with both 1090/978 the guide was super helpful. Quick question, I’m currently running a sma splitter but I got new cable so I can run dual antennas. What’s the minimum spacing for them or can I use the same j mount?

Thanks everyone, now I’m addicted😬

I recently switched to dual antennas. I mounted mine 15 inches apart and things seem to be working well so far.

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I’m running a duel set-up now and the antennas are on the same J-mount. I’m getting great results having a dual set-up!

THANK YOU!!! I’ve been struggling with getting dual dongles to work on a manual install for years, and your instructions on modifying the configs in /etc/default was the magic sauce I’ve been needing all this time.

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