FlightAware Discussions

Antenna mounting suggestions

Hello everyone,

I’ve finally decided to build my own system to start sharing data. I’m very green/unexperienced at this. I would like to mount the system on my roof and run through the Bonus window of my house, being that where my modem is located.

I am planning on buying the packaged FA kit and putting the antenna outside. But I dont know whether to go on top of the roof or use a telescoping pole. One of the main factors is I know it would need to be grounded regardless, but I how would I run it to a grounding rod? Also, would I need to put some sort of insulation under an antenna mount if I mount the pole to the roof?

If I decided to mount in the attic, how would I go about that? I haven’t been able to find any pictures that show how others have done it.

Thank you all and apologies in advance if this is a repeat subject.


1 Like

The aerial does not need to be grounded, that’s not something you need to be concerned about.

1 Like

Apologies if this is a dumb question, but by aerial you mean the 1090mhz outside antenna and not the little spiral antenna people mount in the windows, correct? Once again, apologies if that’s a stupid question.

Could you link what you plan on buying?

Most kits are overpriced and not made by FA.
(the antenna or stick as part of the kit may be made by FA, but the overall kit is not)

You could hang it by a string, that is easiest and very flexible.
When mounting inside the attic, the spot for best reception needs to be determined.

What is the material of your roof and insulation, do you know?

With clay roof tiles it tends to work well.
Asphalt tiles often use too many nails, which blocks reception.

Here’s the link for the FA kit, sold through a third party on Amazon:

This is also the kit that Flightaware has linked inside of their how to section. Is this around the average price, or should I just buy it piece by piece and come out cheaper?

As for my roofing material, its typical stick construction with wood and asphalt shingles.

Yes, I mean the FA aerial.

Thank you! I appreciate the info. Do you have any suggestions for an antenna mount?

The kit is pretty expensive…

Raspberry about 50 Euro
Flightradar pro plus 30 Euro
Antenna including cable approx 60-70 Euro

Makes total < 150 Euro or converted to USD approx 170-180 USD

I would read the threads about the DIY antennas, you can save pure money.
I have mine set up in my home office which is on 2nd floor under the roof indoor.
The Raspi with the stick and the basic antenna (which i modified) was 90 Euro (approx 100 USD).

No worries i was also a noob but the antenna was improved after minutes. Simply the tip removed and replaced with a copper wire in the correct length.

If you’re not happy with the result, you can always go for an external antenna.

Im probably going to go for an external antenna. Just need to find a nice sensible mount that won’t have my neighbors thinking Im losing my mind haha!

Now you might need an sd-card reader, but you probably have one.

Writing piaware to the sd-card is explained at length here: https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build

I’ve seen people who bought kits in which the image on the sd-card was quite old.
A current sd-card image is better.

As an even better alternative to the ProStick Plus you could get this combination:

1 Like

I also bought a kit offered by a german shop including a raspberry 3 B, the FA pro Plus stick, a 16 GB card, an indoor antenna, a case for the Raspi and a power supply

Price: 89,90 Euro
I think that’s pretty fair.

Don’t forget the adapter for the antenna jack on the Stick which is a smaller SMA.
There was no software included, so i flashed the latest FA Image (3.7.1) on the card and it worked out of the box.

As already mentioned, avoid so called “complete kits” at all cost, or it’ll cost you a lot.:wink:

For antenna mounting, try the small satellite tv dish mounting hardware. Easy to source, cheap, and ‘looks good’.

For coax, and in keeping with satellite TV, consider quad shield RG-6. Again, easy to source and cheap. Adapters will be needed from F to SMA, but still worth it in my opinion.

1 Like

I appreciate the advice! I’ll source individual pieces. And Quad Shield RG-6 in 50 ohm correct?

RG-6 is 75R, you really want 50R. Please, don’t skimp on the coaxial cable, buy the best you can afford. For example, 10m of RG58 will give you around 5.5dB loss, 10m of RG213 will give you roughly 2.8dB loss and 10m of Messi & Paoloni HyperFlex 10 has around 1.4dB loss.

1 Like

Do you have links for any of these? I was trying to look for the Messi and Paoloni and I really dont know which one I need. (Not trying to be a burden).

RG-6 is 75 Ohms. It does not make any difference in receiving compared to 50 Ohms. It’s also better for long runs, as it attenuattes less due to the wire gauge. If you ever need to re-terminate them, the tools are easily available and cheap as well. What is not to like?:wink:

Actually, it does not make much difference even in transmitting. This is what I use on my ham station. There are adapters from F to any other type one may need. I have a complete set of adapters here, BNC, PL259, RCA, MCX, SMA, you name it.

1 Like

Fully agree to @Dxista about RG6.
I also use RG6 for lengths greater than 1m.
For short lengths (pigtails 30cm, 50cm, 100cm) RG316 or RG174

I linked proper coax when listing all the items. (feel free considering the link collection a kit :stuck_out_tongue: )
(don’t know if you need the complete 25 feet though)

I’m sure @Keithma is ok with LMR400 performing cable.
It’s a little more rigid according to the manufacturer.

Sorry, I disagree. I wouldn’t touch any 75R coax and I certainly wouldn’t allow it in my radio shack.

Coax is so important, 3dB loss is half your signal and mismatched impedance won’t help at all. I buy M&P cable from WiMo and here’s a link to Hyperflex-10 but just scroll up the page to see all the different types.

Oh I didnt see that! Apologies!