Cheap ebay antenna outperforms FA antenna?


Compare message rates in following 3 configurations:

  1. N-connector plugged-in and threads fully tightened
  2. N-connector plugged-in but threads loose, smallest turn to just engage threads.
  3. N-connector fully unthreaded and cable disconnected from antenna.

At the current time:

  1. 260 m/s
  2. 118 m/s
  3. ~3 m/s

Ebay antenna currently doing 300 m/s.

N-connector seems OK.
Problem may be In:

  • Cable (sudch as water/mosture inside ??)
  • Connectors at dongle end
  • The Antenna
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Hmm, both cable and antenna are from Amazon, maybe I will get both replaced and try again. Thank you for your help.

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The default is automatic gain control?
Anyway if you want to get the maximum out of your gear you will need to adjust the gain.

Try a gain of 30 as a start.
If you have no signals in skyview which are greater than -10 then you can start back up but my guess would be that 30 is about the correct gain for that antenna and stick.

There are more detailed explanations of how to set gain but this should be a good baseline.

Also with strong interference from other signals you might need filters before you can fully use the gain of the FA antenna.

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This is a very important point which I overlooked bugs%20bunny%20doing%20a%20facepalm


Please see this thread: Do I Need A Filter?

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Even more so than the filter built into the FA pro stick?

Some planes that fly overhead show up on Skyview in the -2 and -3 dBFS range.

YES, with a high gain antenna like FA 26" antenna, ProStick Plus (with built-in filter) may need an external filter also at locations with strong Cell / Mobile signals.




Low gain antennas, such as Spider, Cantenna or Cheap PCB antenna work OK with Pro Stick Plus’s built-in filter, without an external Filter.

Thank you! Very informative. Will switch out the antenna, play with the gain settings, maybe pick up the FA filter.

On gain -10 (AGC), right now about 440 m/s.
Changed to 30, down to 380.
Changed to 20, down to 180.
Changed to 40, up to 460.
Changed to 50, down to 390.

AGC seems to be close to optimal.

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Looks like you rounding up/down the levels. Based on the numbers you posted, I would try all levels above 40 but below 49.6. My guess is that 48.0 will work best.

Yes you’re correct, I just typed that into putty and let the script round to the predefined list.

I just bought the filter as well, will test when it comes with the new antenna. I have three pi setups I can run concurrently to check all combos of FA sticks, generic sticks, the antennas and filters.

Wise action
:+1: :+1: :+1:

Did you run RF signals scan as shown in thread “Do I Need a Filter?”

These are the spectrum using the cheapo antenna.

Flightaware Pro stick with built in filter:

Generic dongle

Ok, good, but what about scan with FlightAware Antenna? Being high gain (6 dBi), FA antenna catches cell/mobile signal much stronger than the low gain (2.2 dBi) cheapo pcb antenna catches.

Running now actually.

FA Pro stick with FA Antenna.

Is the scale on the last graph correct? The plot matches the first one, at different frequencies, not likely.

Scale differences aside, there is something wrong with the FA antenna setup. If not the antenna itself, connectors, adapters, pigtails, cable.

Are the gain settings the same. The generic dongle does not look too bad, less than 5 db difference compared to the the Pro Stick. There must be something else causing these changes.

Yes, it had the autoDB checked in the program.

The 1st graph is with one FA Pro stick, the 2nd graph is with my other FA Pro stick. I will swap them around and rerun the scan.

New antenna will be here on Wednesday so I can test, otherwise the only thing left is the cable (there are no converters in between, straight N to SMA). I have a N to MCX adapter coming Wednesday as well so that I can use the same MCX cable the cheapo eBay antenna is using to rule the cable out as well.