Thank you all for the replies, I really appreciate your time and input.
yes I tried with a soup can on the bottom. I had done testing with that in the past and it didn’t seem to make a difference.
Best results I’ve had so far, is using the unmodified whip that came with the cheap dongle, and it doesn’t appear to matter if it is inside, or outside.
only combination I haven’t tried with my current equipment, is putting the standard whip on a can, up higher. I may try this to see if I get further south. Shame I didn’t see the survey occuring sooner.
I think there is an issue with the USB dongle. Perhaps overloaded, or perhaps just crap. I used my home made airband antenna and the dongle on a phone last week. I could hear the pilots and tower, however it had screeching at the same time. It’s very, very similar to the noise I get when squealch is wrong, but when I squealch it out, it comes back when there is also voice. I suspect the USB dongle is rubbish. I also have not managed to pickup AM radio (though it does FM radio fine).
@Sonic and Wiedehopf
I’ll look into where to get those logs and see if I can do some more antenna/signal education.
I think I am at the point where I either use what I have, or spend a decent amount of money for little value to the plane community nor myself. Having the various feeder business accounts is great to avoid ads, but I don’t use any other feature.
I am at least up for a dedicated rasberry/orange pi if I want to do this long term. I have already bought some connectors and wall plates so I could run coax up to the roof.
I am using a number of connections of random tv cables to get my outdoor testing happening, so now I have connectors, I’ll make a single length and see if that changes anything.
If I am going to spend money, I think I’ll just go buy a airband scanner, as that is what I wanted initially when I started on this path.
I wish I could find my other SDR I bought ~8 years ago to test along side, but I’ve lost it.