Aerial advice

I currently have a ‘Sky Scan Mobile’ (Links below) aerial which operates the frequency ranges of 25-2000mhz in the attic. I recieve signals from aircraft up to a maximum of 100 miles, the majority being less than 50 miles. I am looking at getting the Flightaware aerial from amazon for use in the attic. Would this aerial improve the overall range of my setup?


Sky Scan Mobile - maplin | the electronics specialist | FREE delivery over £20! | Maplin

Flightaware aerial -

@jamespi: The Flightaware 26" Aerial (for which you have given Amazon link) is OPTIMIZED for reception of ADS-B frequency (1090 MHz). It sure will perform better than the other wide-range (25-2000Mhz) Scanner Aerial you have mentioned.

FA and Scanner Antennas


As noted above I would expect your performance to increase significantly versus a generic wideband antenna.

This question is more about DIY aerials. If anyone knows any info please let me know. @abcd567 I was reading one of your other posts about building DIY aerials. Some of them being spider aerials and some cantennas.

Link to DIY antennas - Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners - #12 by abcd567

Purpose built 1090 mhz antenna (like Flightawsre 26 inch antenna) perform better than DIY 1/4 wavelength antennas (like spider and cantenna). The My Flightsware antenna gets about 30-40% more planes and maximum range than DIY antennas.

Inspite of above fact, DIY antennas I have posted are

  • Fun to make
  • Very easy to make
  • Negligible cost
  • Perform amazingly good inspite of their very simple design and very small size

This is what I experienced. Yours and other’s experiance may somwhat differ.

Cantenna gave me about 10% better plane count & maximum range compared to Spider built on SO239 connector.

Quick Spider gave me about 15-20% more plane count and maximum range than cantenna and spider built with SO239 connector.

Coaxial Collinear antenna (CoCo) is easy to make, but hard to get right.

Only a small percentage of lucky coco makers end up with a good aerial. Most get the frustrating experience of a “not as expected” or “not as claimed” or a “hopeless” aerial when they put it to use.


I’ll add my thumbs-up to the do-it-yourself antenna approach to start. While part of me likes something that “just works”, the economy and fun of testing with its failure and success is highly motivating for me. The “just works” configuration would be the complete Flightaware setup of their branded antenna, dongle, filter, Pi. But I bet even with that, I’d have an itch to put the antenna in different places to see how the changes affect data.

I have had fun and success with the cantenna, and have plans to try the spider variants once we get into somewhat of a thaw cycle (really no fun messing with antennas outside in -20C and below wind chills).

@abcd567 and @AhrBee Thanks for all the pointers and info! I am going to try building a quick DIY spider and see if this improves my range with the possibility at some point I can upgrade to a proper Flightaware 1090 antenna to try out.

What about connecting two aerials (or more) together and having them a few meters away from each other? Is that possible or would it cause problems?

P.S. @AhrBee I totally understand you. -20C is not a temperature that is fun to work in!!

FYI: here is my hobo cantenna farm - feeding into the house over cable coax (RG6 I believe) to a couple of Pi modules kept warm and dry in the basement at the end of about 40 foot cable runs. The lower one actually gets more aircraft, but the upper one sees farther out and has better coverage. The southern Black Hills block most of my long reception to the west. I receive clear out to mid-South Dakota to the east. Mushroom cans are the perfect size for making cantennas. I just jammed a cable stripped to 67mm through a hole in the can, the shield is in contact with the “ground plane” (mushroom can).

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If you make a Quick Spider, dont forget to apply sealant/glue at end of coax. The sealant/glue serves two purposes:

  1. Prevents ingress of moisture into coax
  2. Keeps 8 radials in position, else the radials may rotate on the axis formed by their vertical part pushed inside outer plastic jacket of coax.

Following two photos are an example of applying sealant/glue. Quick Spider recently made by JackTorrance.



Please also see the post reporting failure of a Coco recently made by same person (JackTorrance).

I though you may be interested in a quick update!
I successfully made and put into use a quick spider which significantly increased my overall range and aircraft reports! (This can be seen in the pictures below). I did have a bit of trouble getting the aerial wire down to an SMA connector but with a few adapters and lots of rethinking I eventually managed to get it working! The wire now goes from standard aerial wire to a UK TV male adapter then to a female TV adapter which is connected to a thinner wire which the SMA connector can be crimped onto. (The standard aerial wire was too thick to crimp the SMA onto and the thin wire is not suitable to create the aerial as it doesn’t have a solid core)

I have also since created a second receiver with the spider aerial and put it in another location to increase my coverage further. This one was a lot more simple to make as I knew how to do it!

I also tried making a Coco aerial but it seemed to be a fail! The coverage that it gave was significantly less than the Quick Spider (I’m still not sure why!) although it was interesting to try a different aerial design.

Thanks again for all the pointers!

:+1: :clap: :v: