FlightAware Discussions

Building custom spider antenna - failed!

Hi all,
I am new to this community, so I just want to say hi …

Now, after we have the introduction done, may I have a question about custom spider antenna build?

My current setup is, a raspberry pi with a Flight Aware Pro stick and the stock antennat (that was later replaced with a https://jeroen.steeman.org/Antenna/collinear-dipole antenna. This improved my signal a lot (into compare to the stock antenna)

So, I wanted to move a step forward and build a spider antenna. I ordered the F connector and start soldering… now, originally I let myself a room for some errors and left the pieces of a copper wire about 140mm (had spare cuts from other builds). When I connected that to the USB Pro stick, I’ve seen some planes etc - so it was working. The last step I’ve done, was to cut the wire to desired length , about 69mm … and I’ve lost all the signal ;(

This is how it looked (I have only 1 picture of this)

The other this I’ve spotted is, that every time I disconnect the antenna cable from the Pro stick, I have to reboot the raspberry pi, because there is no signal after connecting the antenna back? I was trying the raspi-config -restart command but it didn’t work for me. Any advise on that?

Just to mention, that I was trying to build a Pole antenna earlier as well (the one from coax cable) and this failed as well.

PS. Yes I read a lot of other posts on this forum before posting.

How do you mount and connect it to the ProStick?
Providing a picture will help.

Check that none of the connectors are RP-SMA silliness.


sudo reboot

I am using this connector

RF Coaxial Coax M/F Adapter SMA Male Plug to N Female Jack With 4 Hole Flange Panel Mount Chassis Adapter SMA to N Connector

That was connected straight to the Pro stick (don’t mind the four missing legs, I disconnected them just for the picture)

Soldering the legs on the base is a bad idea. So much heat it will melt the internal isolation of that connector.
Measure the resistance between center and ground.

I’m not sure do I do that correctly, but I got 0.00
I am using 20K Ohm on the device. Black to ground, Red to center.

Yep, you melted the central isolator and now the middle pin touches the ground, short-circuiting the antenna. You can measure that even on lower scales… but it’s value was supposed to be infinite.
You can toss that in a trash bin.
Only the middle pin can be soldered on, the sides can’t, too much metal mass. Use bolts and nuts.

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Damn :hushed:
I ordered this connector online and it took about 60 days to deliver.
Well, yes, the metal was quite hot when I try to solder the ground legs. Lesson learned !

Any other recommendations (connectors or custom builds) for the spider antenna?

Try a QuickSpider. It does not require any connectors, is built totally from coax.
However you will need a pigtail F-female to SMA-male to connect it to the ProStick.

QUICK SPIDER - No Soldering, No Connector

Yes, I was looking at this post like 15min ago :laughing:

I will try later this week and post some updates !

I built a quick spider a few months back and even though I’m a technical buffoon it works great (as far as I can tell)!

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Ordered the pigtail adapter from Ali… now it’s waiting time, maybe 2-3 months :smiley: