FlightAware Discussions

Announcing the release of PiAware 6

Today we’re excited to announce the release of PiAware 6!

This version includes a new adaptive gain feature, updates to the PiAware LCD image, performance improvements for Raspberry Pi’s with slower CPUs, and more.

Read the full release notes below:

  • Adaptive Gain:

    • Adjusts receiver gain automatically to find a reasonable gain setting for the local RF environment.
    • Adaptive gain is enabled by default on new installations only. For existing systems that are upgraded from an older version to 6.0, adaptive gain is disabled by default – we don’t want to break existing systems that already have an appropriate gain chosen. For those existing systems, adaptive gain can be manually enabled after upgrading if desired.
    • Adaptive gain is currently only supported on 1090MHz receivers using rtlsdr-type (FlightAware Prostick, etc.) dongles.
    • Adaptive gain is intended to choose a reasonable gain setting without requiring manual tuning, but the discovered gain setting is not necessarily the best setting in all cases. Manual gain tuning is still useful.
    • For more details and setup instructions, see the Github documention
  • When dump1090-fa is run on a slower CPU (Pi Zero / Pi Zero W / Pi 1, or other armv6 system) it will disable more expensive decoding options by default to reduce the CPU load. This default can be overridden by the slow-cpu piaware-config setting on sdcard installs, or by the SLOW_CPU setting in /etc/default/dump1090-fa for package installs.

  • For package installs, the format of the /etc/default/dump1090-fa configuration file has changed. Upgrades from 5.0 will automatically convert your existing config file to the new format.

  • PiAware LCD Image Updates:


  • Minor Changes:
    • dump1090-fa: reduce CPU use further when --no-fix-df is used
    • dump1090-fa: don’t demodulate DF24 Comm-D ELM messages (they are uncommon and dump1090 does not make further use of them). To re-enable demodulation, use --enable-df24.
    • dump1090-fa: exit and restart promptly if the SDR dongle wedges
    • dump1090-fa: Add --enable-antenna-power HackRF option (via @VasiliyTurchenko / PR #123)
    • dump1090-fa: Meteorological Routine Air Report (MRAR) Comm-B message decoding. dump1090-fa will decode these messages, but they are uncommon and the data is not yet displayed in SkyAware.
    • dump1090-fa: improved recognition of some Comm-B message types
    • dump1090-fa: rtlsdr’s AGC gain setting, previously enabled by setting gain “-10”, is now considered just another gain step at around 60dB gain. The legacy -10 value is still understood.
    • dump1090-fa: Stratux-format output includes current gain setting (via @b3nn0 / PR #144)
    • dump1090-fa: report errors encountered when writing json files
    • dump1090-fa: enable rtlsdr bounce buffer zerocopy performance workaround on 64-bit ARM, too (via @wiedehopf)
    • SkyAware: restrict overlay rendering to covered areas (via @wiedehopf / PR #137)
    • SkyAware: update aircraft database to 20210817
    • SkyAware: add a deterministic rule for finding Australian registrations from ICAO address; improve Australian aircraft type data
    • PiAware sdcard: Update Underscore JS library to v1.13.1 to address security vulnerability CVE-2021-23358 (however, we believe piaware-web’s use of the library does not expose this vulnerability)
    • PiAware sdcard: dhcpcd configured to restart if it fails for any reason
    • PiAware sdcard: PiAware software versioning is displayed on the PiAware Web Status page

PiAware 6.1 (minor patch) release notes:

  • Fixed problems with dump1090-fa failing to start on PiAware sdcard images that had the rtlsdr-ppm option configured.
  • 6.0 package installs, and 6.0 sdcard image installs that don’t have rtlsdr-ppm set, don’t need to upgrade

To upgrade an existing PiAware, visit your My ADS-B Stats Page, click the gray gear icon, and send the “Upgrade and Restart PiAware” Device Command.

If you are using a PiAware sdcard image, and you have configured the rtlsdr-ppm option in piaware-config.txt, please remove this option before upgrading as there is a known bug in 6.0 involving that setting.

If you installed PiAware via packages, you should also send the “Upgrade and Restart dump1090” command to upgrade dump1090.

You can download PiAware 6 SD card images from step 2 of the Build a PiAware page.


Some Jessie installations may have trouble upgrading due to upstream Jessie mirrors being moved.

Let us know if you are on Jessie and whether you upgraded OK or ran into issues.

To fix this, edit your /etc/apt/sources.list and replace with the line with the FlightAware mirror:

deb http://flightaware.com/mirror/raspbian/raspbian/ jessie main contrib non-free firmware


Upgrade went fine but there was a small issue when doing this via the flightfeeder page on a package installation (all 4 of them)
When updating via the flightfeederpage with upgrade and restart piaware the config file in /etc/default/dump1090-fa wasn’t updated to the new version when upgrading from v 5.0 to v 6.0
It stayed in the v 5.0 old format.
After manually installing dump19090-fa from the source code I was given the option to update the config file to v 6.0 and to enable adaptive gain.
I don’t know if that is intentional but thought it was worth to mention it.

I performed an update on my PiAware device this morning. I originally had started from the 5.0 image at the beginning of this year. I’ve added several mods over the last several months, including one that added auto gain control, which I believe is one of the new built-in features. It appears that for in-place upgrades, the auto-gain is not automatically enabled. Is there any difference from the previous mod and the new built-in version in 6.0? As an aside, I have not had any issues with my setup since my update I made this morning, I’m just curious as to what has changed and wondering if I need to makes some manual changes.

Updated both my rpi feeders late this afternoon and noted the version #6 on both now. Seems to be working fine. Will see if gain adjustments are required over time, but I think it’s good so far leaving gain settings as they were. Adaptive gain is not enabled so far.

First thing I note, when you go into build your own adsb and then to advance configurations page, it is still showing PiAware 3 as the “current” operating version and of course, none of the new whiz bangs…

1 Like

I have adaptive gain and adaptive burst set. I have not set any other options yet, sit and watch. How though, can you see what gain settings it may have set or I suppose another way, how do know its working apart from noticing some change on your map or data results??

This is a bit confusing - do you have more details on your setup?

dump1090 is fairly chatty about what it’s doing with gain, so you can look at the dump1090 logs; or there’s a new entry in stats.json that tells you current gain and a histogram of gain over time.

1 Like

Is it still necessary to have the rtlsdr-gain setting when adaptive-dynamic-range is set to ‘yes,’ or should it be commented out?

so you can look at the dump1090 logs; or there’s a new entry in stats.json that tells you current gain and a histogram of gain over time

If someone can help this person getting back into it, with how this is done? :roll_eyes:

1 Like

Open, http://IP of your Pi/dump1090-fa/data/stats.json, then scroll down a bit

1 Like

If adaptive gain is in use, rtlsdr-gain will set the initial gain only, so you can omit it if you like.

sure, I’ll try to elaborate.

Logged into the settings page of the flightfeeder page and used the option as listed, upgrade and restart PiAware.
Upgrade went smoothly, no issues reported, flightfeeder does boot normally.
As stated in the release announcement I have to set adaptive gain due to the fact that it is a existing installation.
All feeders are package based installations so no SD image is used.

When opening the config file with sudo nano /etc/default/dump1090-fa I see that the old v5 file is there so just a limited number of rows without the additional options the v6 should bring.

This happend on all 4 upgrades.

|I then installed dump1090-fa as per instructions bij @abcd567 in his post by the following command
sudo bash -c "$(wget -O - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/abcd567a/piaware-ubuntu20-amd64/master/dump1090-fa.sh)"
During this installation I get the question that the config file differs from the one installed ( 6.0 is already installed prior to this) and if i want to replace it from soure yes or no.
When replacing is the new v 6.0 options are in the config file after finishing the command.
At that point I was able to set adaptive gain for the feeders.
This could not be done after the upgrade through the flightfeeder page.
So that is why i remarked this. It could be intentional but I think the config file should have been replaced during the dump1090-fa upgrade that is triggered when issuing the upgrade and restart piaware command.

setup information
2x Raspberry Pi (2&3)
OS Raspbian Buster
Flightaware prostick
FA Filter
FA Aware Antennas
2 x Orange Pi 2+E
OS Armbian Buster
Flightaware prostick
Flightaware filter
Vinnant Antenna’s

Yes, this is meant to happen.

Do you have a copy of the old config file, or the piaware logs from the time of the upgrade attempt?

I think this is what you are referring to:

Configuration file '/etc/default/dump1090-fa'
 ==> Modified (by you or by a script) since installation.
 ==> Package distributor has shipped an updated version.
   What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
    Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
    N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
      D     : show the differences between the versions
      Z     : start a shell to examine the situation
 The default action is to keep your current version.
*** autostart (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ?

That is exactly the thing I was referring to, thanks @abcd567

This is the old config file that remained in place

# dump1090-fa configuration
# This is sourced by /usr/share/dump1090-fa/start-dump1090-fa as a
# shellscript fragment.

# If you are using a PiAware sdcard image, this config file is regenerated
# on boot based on the contents of piaware-config.txt; any changes made to this
# file will be lost.

# dump1090-fa won't automatically start unless ENABLED=yes

RECEIVER_OPTIONS="--device-index 0  --ppm 0 --gain  38.6 --net-bo-port 30005 --net-sbs-port 30003"
DECODER_OPTIONS="--max-range 360 --fix"
NET_OPTIONS="--net --net-heartbeat 60 --net-ro-size 1300 --net-ro-interval 0.2 --net-ri-port 0 --net-ro-port 30002 --net-sbs-port 30003 --net-bi-port 30004,30104 --net-bo-port 30005"
JSON_OPTIONS="--json-location-accuracy 1"

# Use a machine-specific wisdom file if it exists
if [ -f /etc/dump1090-fa/wisdom.local ]
  RECEIVER_OPTIONS="${RECEIVER_OPTIONS} --wisdom /etc/dump1090-fa/wisdom.local"

No logs available, have rebooted the pi’s after the upgrade.
Unless you have a command that can recall the history ?

Look in /var/log/piaware.log