FlightAware Discussions

Antenna connection

Pretty new at this - but want to be successful. All set up with the software on Pi, nice cooled case and power supply. FlightAware pro-stick. Bought an antenna (inside for now). Hooked it all up and got a big nothing. Assumed it might be the pro-stick so exchanged that out. Still nothing. Did a bit reading and found an obscure reference to putting a straightened out paper clip in the antenna jack. Works amazingly well although not the most attractive thing. I do intend on an outdoor antenna at some point but in the mean time, what is a good indoor alternative? Also, How can I test the antenna I have to see if it is a connection issue (the one I bought has an adapter that “Snaps” on and I fear that it is not properly connected.
Thanks!!

Quick update - got a nice outside one. It worked great for awhile and now nothing. The feeder is reporting in just not getting any hits. 17K hits per day (when I first got the outside antenna) then nothing. Paperclip; back to 12K hits per day. Reattached the antenna and again nothing.

Most indoor antennas are worse than a paper-clip.
(Being in fact mislabeled GSM antennas)

Outdoor antennas are the best indoor antennas.
There are no good indoor antennas available. (well one from DPD, but it’s pretty expensive)

See here for an assortment of antennas with various price:
https://github.com/wiedehopf/adsb-wiki/wiki/Useful-items-for-purchase

Can you make a picture of the cable connector that goes on the dongle?
Or link the cable you bought?

Here is the antenna I bought.

Are you sure you need that adapter?
The SMA should just screw directly onto ProStick Plus.

The snap on part was on the inside antenna. Looks like the old school cellular antenna. The connector was a plug in…the snap on part gave it the screw portion that allowed you to screw it down. The new one (white outdoor antenna) had a connector attached. Again, it worked and then stopped. Vexing.

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo reboot

Also let’s check undervoltage:
https://github.com/wiedehopf/adsb-wiki/wiki/Debug-commands#undervoltage

Could you post some pics?
It sounds like a connector incompatibility - maybe an RP-SMA to SMA mismatch.

Here we go (remember, I am really novice at this). The connector does have the center pin. The feeder is talking and my page is getting the regular feeds - there are just no positions showing up. As an FYI, in taking the photos, I obviously unscrew the connector and stuck the paper clip in just for kicks. I have received 65 positions in just short of the 15 minutes for this evolution to take place.

FA2

looking good so far!
Could you show the ‘snap’ adapter (I’m intrigued)?

Looking at your stats page, between 13/9 and 21/9 you have a slow decline to oblivion. The most usual cause is a PSU going soft. I suspect a new PSU will solve your problems.

Maybe you are not screwing it on properly?

It’s really hard to imagine why the AirNav antenna wouldn’t be working while a paper clip is working.
Did you move the AirNav antenna?
In some cases interference can cause reception problems, but i don’t know.

If you want you can make a spectrum, once with the paperclip and then with the AirNav antenna: Do I Need A Filter?

The only other possibility i can think of is that that the AirNav antenna coax that came with it has a fault from being curled up too tightly.
A break in the coax could cause total loss of signal.

Adjust the gain lower, start with 30dB. You might need a filter, if you are close to a cell tower.
You are swamping the receiver with stronger signals and it gets saturated.

Here is the adapter thing. Basically the coax terminates in this plug looking thing. The connector has a screw connector (with a center pin) so it should all be set for what is needed.

continuing on…I don’t think any component (besides antenna) went out. As soon as I just stick in a paperclip, it jumps right back up (not as aggressive as with the white antenna initially) but still going.

I am not sure about a filter. The FlightAware usb stick has an integrated filter (according to the literature). Is there a way to test an antenna?

Most likely the antenna cable is the culprit.
Could be the connector on the end, could be something else.

If the antenna isn’t useful to you any more, i suppose you could just cut the connector off and just put the cable core directly into the receiver, zip tie the shielding to the threads.
Not that i would really recommend that, but hey if it’s not doing anything now …
If that’s working you could look for a shop to put a connector on that cable again.

10 Pieces for US $3.32 + Free Shipping
Requires Crimping Tool

It is SMX MCX-male for connection to Generic DVB-T which has SMX MCX-female socket.
If connection to a Dongle with SMA-female socket is required, then the adaptor piece is used.

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Nooelec think they use MCX connectors