Antenna Troubleshooting Tips?

My wife surprised me at Christmas with the FlightAware atenna and filter that were on my Amazon wish list; got the appropriate pigtails delivered today and attempted setup to replace my cantenna… unfortunately it only picked up aircraft less than 10 miles away - swapped back to the cantenna and immediately picked up more distant aircraft.

Thought the filter might have been the issue, so removed it and connected the pigtails with same result (extremely limited range). Checking the app, there were plenty of aircraft in the area to pickup, so I don’t think that was a factor.

Brought the pigtails inside and got the multimeter; both have 0 resistance outside-outside, inside-inside, so continuity and polarity check out, insofar as I can tell…

So, I believe the only item left to troubleshoot is the antenna itself… anything I can do with the multimeter to test it? I’m afraid that’s about the only testbench equipment I have.

The FA antenna I got would have been ordered this month, is black, and the sticker says 6 decibel.


Check the antenna continuity. It should be open.
Go Vikings!

I had a bad connector between the pigtail and the antenna cable. You might want to check any of those as well.

Thanks for the suggestions guys! Somehow missed testing for a short in the pigtails… sure enough, looks like that’s the issue - my SMA Female > MCX Male has a short. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the cheapest component was most likely to fail.

Happy New Year!