FlightAware Discussions

Best homebrew antenna for receiving planes *overhead*?


I live about 2 miles from my local airport. I have used a simple spider antenna with 4 legs, and also purchased the FlightAware antenna. They both work very well with my dump1090/Skyview setup. However, they both have an obvious “null” in that they can’t see the planes at a higher relative angle above my location. For instance, I can see planes head toward the airport and enter the traffic pattern, but I will lose them on downwind/base/final due to my close proximity; I’ll only see them again once they are on the runway and taxiing on the ground.

Is there a good, DIY homebrew antenna that I can make to have omnidirectional coverage around my location? I don’t care about planes over 20-25 miles away, I’d rather have a much better picture of the local airspace and the traffic taxiing at the airport. I’ve heard about things like biconicals, eggbeaters, etc., but I haven’t found anything interesting for 1090 MHz yet. Thoughts for something to whip up on the cheap?

Thank you,

My guess: Your gain is just too high.

Thoughts on optimizing gain

The “null” in reception is typically only directly above your antenna.
Planes maybe 1nmi diameter of dead reception but only for planes high up at 35000 ft.

Maybe an angle of 5-10 degrees when looking straight up.

So that doesn’t apply to the traffic you describe.

For a test, lay your existing antenna horizontal and see how it performs.
(the zero $ test is aways my first stop)


I wonder if slightly tilting the antenna would make a difference?

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