Antenna Upgrade Collinear


Hi All,

I am newbie to Flightaware. I received the NooElec NESDR mini 2 on 8/27/15 plugged it in to the Raspberry Pi B+ which was pre loaded with PiAware and started receiving 2-6 aircraft from my basement - really great. The day after that I built a collinear antenna from RG6 and spare parts lying around. Credit Youtube and a packrat-ish nature. Today I moved the setup to my shed connecting through a WiFi link to a sub LAN using an antiquated 54mb/s WiFi router connected to the house main router and BANG, I’m seeing 30+ flights, probably more! Definitely worth the effort!!

I am a little concerned about saturating the 54mb/s router. Does anyone know if a 54mb/s WiFi router is adequate? More specific questions: what is the size of each message sent from my PiAware setup to I can calculate the rest. Also, how often often does an aircraft transponder transmit? Yes, my receiver will probably not likely see all transmissions, but I’d like to calculate worst case?

I might add another receiver at some point and will likely use the same sub LAN. This will double the traffic at least. The 2nd PiAware will have its antenna in the attic space which will see over the tree line.

I would appreciate all input on your experiences.




Your WiFi connection is worlds faster then the data sent to FA. It’s not possible to remotely come close to being concerned with your WiFi throughput. A transponder should be transmitting twice a second. But, you’re not going to see every transmission.

I would continue to work on your antenna. It looks like there is a lot of traffic in your area.


Your wifi link is more than adequate. I’m using a T1 (1.44mbps) to back-haul one of my remote locations without issue. Out-going network traffic from one of my Pi2’s is about 1.5 to 2.5 kbps while tracking about 40 to 60 aircraft. But I would expect that number to increase if there were a number of MLAT aircraft being tracked at the same time.


Thanks N456TS!
The antenna is my first attempt and have it setup so I can remove the radiator elements easily without unmounting the casing. I will research performance tweaks on the internet,



Thanks tjowen!

That’s reassuring. I do have MLAT enabled, but targets are no displayed. No really sure why. I can theorize but that is not useful.



Check your sites Flightaware stats page for any Anomaly report, these will give you a clue to why MLAT is not functioning. You need 3 or more other sites in your area with overlapping coverage to get good MLAT results.

But for now don’t worry about MLAT, concentrate on antenna development and improvement first.
Good luck testing, Tom


Exactly my intent - antenna improvements and antenna location. Time for hobby vs. work is the real challenge.



For those interested, two days ago I upgraded my collinear 8-segments to 12-segments. This appeared to have some positive effect but most likely; the compass coverage indicator shows more coverage greater than 120 miles, more aircraft seen and more positions. I now have a second Pi, a second NooElec SDR and have the recovered 8-segment antenna. I will install the next PiAware in the unfinished attic space. Am in process of figuring out electrical power and wifi coverage though. Again, just a matter of work vs. hobby. Overall things look really promising.



Is there anyway that you can get even a simple antenna outside and above roof level - even a simple unobtrusive dipole - the results may surprise you.


I fully agree with Peter.

Even the simple ones shown below will give amazing results if installed outdoors above roof level.
Amplifier may be required if length of Coax is more than say 15 to 20 feet.



I agree likewise. Getting elevation on my house is no small task; there is nothing to climb up onto an I don’t own a mega ladder to climb up two plus stories; not afraid of heights (foolishly so) but I don’t have the equipment. Probably the best I can manage is in the attic space. I also agree in trying smaller simpler antennas; I have been browsing through the post with all sample pictures you show. For now am just trying to get the second Pi 2 PiAware system claimed - bought the Pi 2 just yesterday. Also, I have a f-female to MCX-male adapter cable on order with Amazon - that’s the real hold up. That is how I will try smaller simpler antennas. I have a question in to FA on why the Pi 2 PiAware does not claim. I seem to recall one member stating that a specific brand bean can had the right dimensions for 1090Mhz. I will try to find it proceed from there.


So, I have to ask the question: the RCA in line amp label in the picture states that the receiver should supply 14V-18V. Does the NooElec SDR provide power? Unfortunately, I did not get a spec sheet on the SDR.


no, you need to get a power injector to put next to the nooelec - see ads-b-flight-tracking-f21/whats-the-best-inline-amp-and-pwr-inserter-4-the-fa-antenna-t35753.html?hilit=injector

Make up the dipole, whatever - mount it onto an 8’ bamboo cane, find a way hold it out of an upstairs window while looking at the dump1090 plot. should give an idea whether it’s worth pursuing. To give you an idea, I cut te mag mount antenna that cam with the noooelect to 68mm - put it on an old hard disk on the cill outside an upstairs window, and that got me about 130 miles…