FlightAware Discussions

Antenna and Gain Configuration

I purchased and received this antenna today, thinking it would improve my range. After hooking it up, my Pi only saw about 2-3 targets, with no distance or location information on the map. RSSI values were low (signal too high), around -1.5 range, so I figured the gain was set too high. I’m just a novice to all this so in small increments, starting at 25.4 I adjusted the gain. Fact is, with lower gain settings no targets could be detected and even with a gain setting of 49.6, the original wire antenna I upgraded from still goes a better job detecting a higher number of targets. I’m sure the solution is simple, but I can’t quite place my finger on it.

Equipment
Raspberry Pi 3
FlightAware ProStickPlus

UPDATE: Reading a little further into these forums, I’ve found at least one other user who has the same antenna and experienced the same poor performance. That’s enough to convince me to send this antenna back. I may look into to making one of the DIY ones instead.

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-1.5 is bigger than -20, so technically it’s a high RSSI.

I think i’ve now read 3 posts about this or similar antennas. Basically everyone was disappointed.
One of those posts was an antenna that was tuned without the plastic cover, so you could try taking that off.
Was the antenna directly connected to the dongle? If so i would recommend placing the RPi vertical so antenna and dongle are in one line.
That way you feed less noise from the pi “into” the antenna.
You can also try using some radials on the metal part of the dongle. That further shields the antenna from the pi and sometimes changes antenna properties for the better (shouldn’t be necessary with a tuned antenna but those products seem to be meh)

You can also read this thread, similar topic: Not sure what happened here with my PiAware?

Yes, it was connected directly to the dongle, but the antenna is able to bend, so it was in the upright position.

As i wrote in the text above, that is bad. The antenna receives best on the horizon. If the Raspberry Pi is on that plane electrical noise will feed into the antenna.

I tried two of those antennas, different manufacturers. Both where garbage, not really tuned for 1090MHz. Plus, the internal coax wire was so bad, that bending the antenna a 90 degree angle was cutting off reception (except for the near by planes).
I didn’t have the one in the link, but some eBay, China origin, ones.

Seems to work well for this user though. Appears he has the same kind of antenna. Nooelec 5dBi antenna, and from what you can see from his interface in the video, he’s got good range and decent signals. (Interface is around the 8:30 mark)

Did you at least try using it with the dongle and antenna in line? Placing the pi/dongle in a vertical position?

Anyway you are probably better served building a spider antenna directly on the dongle even if you don’t buy any coax.
Described in this post Not sure what happened here with my PiAware?

I did, with no improvements. Seems to me like this antenna isn’t what it claims to be?

Very likely. Or so flimsy it destroys itself when you first bend it :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe its not the antenna its your location i lived in a place that my adsb antennas where at least 9 metres high could just get 120nm since then i moved to another place where the adsb antennas are about the same height most i got so far is 520nm…

Regards Lino…

520nm? Unlikely.
Only by some tropo ducting and that has nothing to do with the antenna.
Even then, the dump1090 default settings limits the range to 360 nm or so.