FlightAware Discussions

19.5cm vs 66cm 1090 Antenna

I switched in a 66cm antenna for my little 19.5cm antenna and saw a nice improvement from 12pm 8Sun forward


It is not only the length, but overall design which counts.

From 66cm I infer you mean Flightaware 1090 mhz antenna. Am I right?

Which make/model is you 19.5cm antenna? A photo will be of great help in understanding the design/type.


Exactly as I expected.
I have used both.
The 19.5cm mag-mount whip is a rubbish antenna.
The Flightaware 66cm antenna is a well designed professional antena and far supperior to the mag-mount whip.


It’s below my roof peak now but when the weather gets better here in New Hampshire, I’ll get a mast under it to raise it above the roof peak. Right now, I Rx well South with limited East/West and little North. That said, most activity is in BOS with a bit in MHT

That’s harsh, I have one and it works well to pick up 100-150 NM away even used indoors. That’s by no means rubbish. They need to be mounted on a large metallic groundplane so that they present a suitable reflection (if it was light the analogy would be mounting it on a mirror to create a virtual other half to it). A coffee tin doesn’t cut it, and I’m as guilty as everyone else of using one. My mate was using the same antenna in his attic on a wide circular metal baking tray and getting great results over 150 NM at times.

Lets re-phrase it: “The mag-mount is a starter only. Soon you will desire to have a better antenna”.

The reason I wrote “rubbish antenna” was due to false and misleading claims by sellers “1090 mhz”, “3.5 dB” and some even “5.5 dB”. This antenna is neither tuned to 1090 Mhz, nor it has such a high gain.


“This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the 3dBi magnetic mount indoor 7 inch antenna, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe your stats are as good as they get. You take the FlightAware 5.5dBi outdoor 26 inch antenna, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how far your UHF horizon goes.”


A measured 43% increase in Positions Reported, with limited data, switching a $8 antenna for a $43 antenna (plus $21 for a cable). I’ve spent more and gotten less, so am happy :slight_smile:

I have compared, and my mag-mount cut to 1/4 wl and placed on a cookie can (ground plane) performs better than the coiled mag-mount, which was also placed on same spot on same cookie-can.


Trial Run Results for Three Types of Whip Antennas


That’s what I still use when setting up a station for display purposes. I have different sizes of trays, mine are pizza trays. Visit you local dollar store for a good selection of “ADS-B antenna ground planes”. :laughing:


Indeed, I also have a wardrobe full of pre-install field-tunable omnidirectional multiband antennas :grin:

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Wow, what a great improvement. I was thinking about changing my antennae as well. Where could I purchase a 66 cm antennae? Thanks, Spence…

In the US and Canada, Amazon would be your best bet.

Look at the RadarBox antenna as well, also available on Amazon. It looks like the FA antenna but includes the cable. Depending on how/where you install it, it may mean less expense and trouble.

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How does Radarbox antenna perform compared to Flightaware antenna, better, worst, or same?

(1) Which type of coax is supplied with Radarbox antenna, LMR120, LMR240, RG58, RG6?

(2) Noted that the cable seems to be solidly connected to antenna (see photo below). This is plus for weather proofing, but minus if someone (like me) wants to use it indoor and attach filter/dongle directly to antenna (or through a short pigtail).

If it is solidly connected, then for indoor installations, keeping this 10m cable without need means adding unnecessary attenuation. Cutting it to needed size means making one SMA male termination at the cut end.

Some one who has this antenna can answer these questions.


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3D-FM is on the thin and very cheap US coax cable printed.

I’ve cut this cheap cable off from 10m to 2m and made a crimp connector on it.
Better, much better. It’s now ok.

More msg and aircrafts, but range is not so good. With an thin 1/4 whip I get the same range or better, but a lower msg rate. I use this RB antenna now until next week on the balcony.

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Thanks for posting your experience about RB24 antenna.

With the mag-mount antenna that has the coiled inductance, installed at the window on 15th floor, and with the FA blue dongle, one of my installs can see planes at 240-260 miles away. Signal level -15…18 dB (gain on Auto).
I am not saying that’s ideal, but the antenna and signal level is not all it’s needed.
ADS-B is a digital signal, very diferent from analog TV, that a lot of people have experience, and tend to associate it, with.
Clear line of sight is much more important in my experience.

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There are large number of sellers on ebay and amazon who sell these antennas. These antennas are NOT identical. Some may be truely tuned to 1090 mhz and of moderately high gain (2.5 to 3.5 dBi) and hence perform better than a simple 1/4 whip.

However majority of these sellers are selling antennas desined for WiFi or TV freqencies, which they falsely declare as 1090 mhz, and blow up gain figures such as 5 dB.

I have tried 3 such antennas from 3 different sellers. Two have proved to be worst than 1/4 wl whip, and one equal to 1/4 whip.

You seem to be lucky to order from a seller who sold genuinely 1090 mhz coiled whip. Can you please post the link. I want to buy one from that seller and try it. Thanks.