Flightaware Pro plus question

I have an original and may be still the current version, FlightAware Pro Plus dongle. Currently I am using Airspy R2 as receivers. I have also just received my 3rd RPI 4. What I am planning to do, up on the mast enclosure, I have a Radarcape and RPI 4, running off 2 identical antennas (DPD productions ADS-B Vertical Outdoor Base Antenna (Standard 1090 MHz ES). What I want to do, during testing, put 2 RPI 4’s up in the antenna enclosure. Both working on identical equipment ie: filters, pre amps etc.

Now the first comparison test, based on my setup, is to compare the FA pro and Airspy. I currently have the necessary Airspy scripts installed on my 2 working RPI 4’s. I did a real quick swap on my RPI4 in the office, of the Airspy with the FA Pro. I lost tracking. Question, is the FA Pro bust or perhaps, do I need to remove the Airspy scripts from the RPI4’s set up. If that is the case, to remove the Airspy script, I shall set up the 3rd RPI 4 without Airspy settings. If I don’t need to remove the Airspy script with the current setup, how do I test whether the FA Pro is working or not ?? Last not related to above setup, but to FA Pro Plus, is there a delay in production? In doing purchase options Google, I find all Australian business suppliers are out of stock, no eta of restocking. If I buy some more, at the moment, it will have to be from the US.

The dump1090-fa / readsb config is modified to not use an SDR, it wouldn’t run otherwise.

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Thank you I shall set up RPI 4c without the Airspy script and hopefully this FA Pro still works :slight_smile:

Well FA pro + still works. Now have the test unit up on the mast, comparing with the other PI4 on Airspy. Now to dial it in. One question though, given the Pro plus has its own internal amp, what should I do with the uptronics saw pre amp, according to what I can find from Uptronics, the min gain is 14db, not sure what the max is ? Leave it in the loop or remove it so as only the Pro plus, cavitiy filter and antenna? I am thinking the cavity filter will need to stay with the 4G mobile tower sort of just over the back fence.

I did some testing with my equipment here. The Uputronics arrived before the Airspy so I used the Uputronics filtered LNA in front of the blue FA dongle.

This combination works pretty well and showed a slightly improved performance compared to the blue FA stick only.

However the Airspy+Uputronics clearly outperformed the blue FA stick (with or without additional LNA).
I also own an AirSquitter (successor of Radarcape) which performs between blue FA stick and Airspy, beeing close to the Airspy.

But that’s valid for my environment only. I do not have lots of obstacles or close frequencies around me, therefore the performance differencies are not that much.

Thanks for the reply. LOL still getting back into the lingo. When you say in front of the FA Pro plus, front being >>> the antenna, so as I have setup, FA Pro , uptronic, cavity filter then antenna?

So far very quickly with the gain set at 49.6, the Airspy is in front currently, I believe I might have to do some tweaking on the gain yet, I wouldn’t call the race done yet. image
my current signal level at 49.6.

With “in Front” i mean between the Antenna and the stick. The connectors do not allow any different setup. My Uputronics is a combined Filter+LNA. I do now use an additional cavity filter

What do you mean with Airspy in Front? The gain setting is a value for the FA-Stick. Airspy is using complete different gain values.(0 to 21)

That is my signal level on my second receiver. It is using a blue FA-Stick with the dark blue (passive) FA-Filter for 1090MHz in Front of it.


Currently i cannot provide it for the Airspy/Uputronics combination as it is not operational at the moment

Sorry, the rig with the Airspy on it, I call it my A rig, is showing more planes, just, but where it is in front is at distance. I seem to be getting better distance with the A rig.

Yes but this would show different graphs. That part confused me a bit.

I am currently running wiedehopf’s Automatic gain optimization for readsb and dump1090 fa script. Tried it last night, (but there wasn’t much signal traffic about) so it obviously finished up at 49.6. Using the hour option and have it running now on a Monday morning. Not that there are as many flights about Australia with the number of states in lockdown, but interesting watching the graphs as the program makes it’s adjustments. Handy script there :slight_smile: :+1:

Well 24 hours tweaking and the last 12 hours minus the uptronics LNA. Now regarding that, my detections were definitely not down, in fact, I would say only smudge less in distance for a detection than the Airspy rig. Now for the auto gain scripts. Basically in quiet and, for the moment, busy times, the program did some swapping but basically at the end on an hour, it left it on 49.6. Funnily, on that setting, as you will see, the weakest signal was around -30 …

For the last run hour, at a reasonably busy time on the east coast, evening around people heading home from the business conference etc :

No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (5.425%)
Decreasing gain to 48.0 (8.751% messages >-3dB)
No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (3.846%)
No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (3.643%)
Increasing gain to 49.6 (0.000% messages >-3dB)
Increasing gain to -10 (0.000% messages >-3dB)
Decreasing gain to 49.6 (28.342% messages >-3dB)
Decreasing gain to 48.0 (8.066% messages >-3dB)
Decreasing gain to 44.5 (8.128% messages >-3dB)
Decreasing gain to 43.9 (10.118% messages >-3dB)
No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (3.061%)
Increasing gain to 44.5 (0.000% messages >-3dB)
Increasing gain to 48.0 (0.000% messages >-3dB)
Increasing gain to 49.6 (0.000% messages >-3dB)
Increasing gain to -10 (0.000% messages >-3dB)
No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (3.766%)
No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (6.804%)
No gain change needed, percentage of messages >-3dB is in nominal range. (6.952%)
Decreasing gain to 49.6 (9.552% messages >-3dB)

pi@raspberrypi:~ $

I will check the log tomorrow to see if the early morning check makes any changes. Curious again, does that early morning check, does that only go on the current signal readings or is it making its decision from the previous 24 hours signal level monitoring??

And the difference between 49.6 and -10:

good or bad??

It checks the last 24h at least if you just leave it alone and not run it all the time :slight_smile:
If you’re gonna tweak it anyhow on your judgment, no need for it, just remove it.

I am quite happy with it, a useful tool. I imagine Piaware 6.0, from what I have read, will be the same sort of automation but more adaptable to take into consideration quicker changes to accommodate periods of strong signals. Why spend time fiddling with settings if man kinds continuing evolution works out a way to do it for you?? I knew with your script, the first 24 hours will not show your programs value, with getting to know how the program works with its immediate and hourly functions. I looked at the log for this morning, I had left it set on -10, your system changed it to 49.6. A definite help for those who want to set and forget. :slight_smile:

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