1090MHz Antenna

I’m looking for a ADSB 1090MHz antenna and I’m not yet decided if I may DIY or buy a commercial one.
I want the best range as possible and I have space to erect the antenna outdoor at a good height.
I have the standard SMA RTL-SDR USB dongle.

Can you please give me your feedback considering all your effort and time dedicated on the ADSB signal reception?

Many thanks

This is the best I have used:



Performance wise Flightaware 26 inch antenna at Amazon gives better performance than most DIY antennas.

However as making DIY antenna is fun, no harm trying these. There are many designs, but I will recommend to start with Cantenna and Quick Spider. These two are very easy to make, cost negligible, and give reasonably good performance.





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Many thanks Sir, your opinion matters a lot since you’re an expert in this matter.
I also have seen that the jetvision A3 antenna is even better that the Flightaware 26 but the cost is somewhat prohibitive and I don’t expect a significative difference between them.
Regarding adding an LNA is it really improves even further the range or not really? Better to buy it in the future or don’t even consider it?
I use the RTL-SDR v3 dongle.

Thank you

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I recommended Flightaware antenna because of its price vs performance. Its performance may be only slightly lower than antennas which are many times costlier.

Generally there is improvement by LNA, but amount of improvement varies from site to site. Often a filter is also neede to get rid of other communication signals such as Cell phone and pager, which after amplification can make the dongle deaf to comparatively weaker 1090 mhz signal.

First install the FlightAware antenna, and watch for some days to asses what improvement you got.

Later you may add LNA, and if performance does not improve or drops, then add a filter also.


Thank you for the clear and detailed reply.
I will probably go with the Flightaware antenna as it is already “weather-proof” and will give me consistent results.
Considering your experience with antennas for 1090MHz, can you please give me the possible feedback of the antenna in the picture attached? It is from a guy nearby my town that built it according to a specific tutorial (I don’t know what specific tutorial) but he doesn’t have access to any VNA so he really can’t say that is properly tuned for 1090MHz.
This antenna cost around half price of flightaware antenna however I’d rather prefer to pay more to have a more capable antenna.

Yes, I have tried this and many other designs of “wire collinear” antennas, but got results poorer than a 1/4 wavelength ground plane antenna (Spider & Cantenna).

Some people do succeed in making such antennas with good results. However without proper tuning equipment such as VNA, success is a matter of luck and “a shot in dark”.

Have a look here:

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I agree with @abcd567 regarding the FA antenna.
I have both models and the much more expensive DPD antenna.
The DPD may be a little better but the FA antenna is great value for money.
I use them with Hab/uputronics filter/amps.
With any setup using a usb dongle, tuning the gain has greatest results.

Thank you both of you.
I’ll go with flightaware antenna and will do some experiments with DIY antennas for the future.
I’ve done some antennas in the past (airband, 23cm video, 70cm band) but for 1090MHz and since the FA antenna gets very good reputation that will be my purchase.


Sometimes its not the antenna its the location i lived in a location that it didnt matter how high you put the antenna it didnt make a difference could just get aircraft around 120nm been in a new location and my antennas are only 9 metres high and the furthest i got so far has been 520nm but my average is around 350nm big difference.


Even with a VNA (antenna analyzer), getting some of the more intricate designs of antenna to work correctly is very tricky. Much the same as 23cm (1296 Mhz) signals, 1090 Mhz is also affected significantly by nearby trees and other vegetation.



For each location, the maximum achieveable range depends mainly on terrain around the location. Anyone can very easily determin this for his location by method described in the FIRST POST of this thread

What is the Maximum Range I can Get?

Once you know what maximum you can get, you can compare it with what you actually got. If there is big difference, then it may be because of:

  1. Your antenna is surrounded by tall obstructions such as tall trees and/or buildings. Raising antenna above the height of these obstructions so that it can “see” the horizon will improve range.

  2. If your antenna is above the height of obstructions and can “see” horizon, and you still have a range less than maximum possible, then you need a better antenna. Adding an amplifier may help.


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May I respectfully suggest you look at the Philantenna

In my humble opinion this out performs the FA antenna - but of course this is location dependent. It’s not expensive either!

Kind Regards


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G’day MUVR2007 ,

I built my own 8 element co-linear antenna out of quad shielded 75ohm RG6 cable and have had great results considering my location. I’m only 25 metres or so above sea level but the ranges I receive signal from aren’t too bad. have a look at my VRS range maps here. The spikey one is beast mode and the other is from the base station format (more reliable). The range rings are set at 100km (60Miles or 53NM).

I also modified an old 23 element TV yagi antenna to suit 1090Mhz and aimed it to my Sth West to get a bit more range with another receiver. Its range map is still fairly young but filling out quite nicely too.

All the best,


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Performance of an antenna is dependent on not only antenna itself, but also on antenna location, antenna height, length & type of coax connecting it to receiver. Same antenna may perform better or worst if these parameters are changed. For this reason it is hard to judge how good or bad an antenna really is, unless its parameters are measure with costly test equipment.

The DIY situation lacks costly test equipment. The alternative left for hobbyist to evaluate an antenna is by COMPARISON with a reference. There are two easy references available for DIY hobbyists:

Comaparison #1: Determine what maximum possible range can be obtained at a particular location and antenna height, using method described in FIRST POST of thread What is the Maximum Range I can Get?. Obtain maximum range curve of your antenna using VRS, and compare the two maximum range curves.

Comparison #2: Make an easy DIY 1/4 wavelength ground plane antenna (Spider), swap the CoCo by Spider, keeping everything else same (i.e. same same location, height, coax to receiver etc.), and compare results.

Hello @abcd567


I was just demonstrating to @MUVR2007 what can be done as a DIYer. I’m not sure what you’re trying to convey to me there.


Good results with your CoCo. Difficult antenna to get right. Any photos?

The 23 element Yagi should be a beast of an antenna. Any photos?

I think abcd567 is suggesting that you can check how good your CoCo is by installing a piece of software which will work out your theoretical maximum range. You can then see how efficient your CoCo is.

The 1/4 spider seems to be a “standard” easy to build antenna. If your CoCo outperforms the spider then you have a beauty.

abcd567 will be back to correct me if I’m wrong :wink:

Many thanks for your reply @Goldy714

I went with the FA antenna and will report my results with it. I plan to DIY some antennas including the co-linear ones for comparison purposes.
You should be very proud of your antenna, seems to be performing quite well! Also the idea of tuning a TV yagi is very clever, just needing to clip the elements and reduce element spacing. I’m also planning of adding a yagi antenna for just checking the one direction max distance aircrafts I can get (west means atlantic ocean here) so it will be interesting to know.

@triggers: You are right, thanks for explaining.

As you have many years of experiance in Coco making (since 2013, if I remember correctly), and have already made excellent performing Cocos, your comments on this subject are very valuable for other DIY hobbyists.

I remember that you have made successful Yagis too.

@Goldy714: Your Coco gives good results, congratulations. :+1: . You are one of relatively few Coco makers, who could make a good Coco.

What I said in my previous post was suggesting you to asses if your Coco has already achieved (or almost achieved) the maximum possible, or is there still room for improvement?

It will be helpful for all of us if you post some photos of your Coco and Yagi, as already suggested by @triggers .