FlightAware Discussions

FlightAware Pro Stick, revolutionary USB ADS-B/MLAT receiver

Hi everyone,

Please see this announcement about FlightAware’s new USB ADS-B receiver:

FlightAware Pro Stick, revolutionary USB ADS-B and MLAT receiver announced

Thanks for your support & please spread the word about the Pro Stick and PiAware!

Great to hear! Could you provide technical details for the dongle? I can see that it does use R820T2 tuner, but what else is inside? What type of RF connector it use?

Awesome.

Interesting little device… I must say that I’m a bit intrigued by the built-in amplifier. By locating the amplifier at the SDR (instead of at the base of the antenna where it makes the most sense), this device is going to be amplifying whatever signal it receives on it’s RF input - which may very well be garbage after a potentially long feed line run from the antenna.

Which leads us to this question: What type of input tolerances does this thing have with regard to RF power? As we all know, the ideal setup has the amplifier located near the antenna, where it is immediately giving a boost to whatever strong signal it’s receiving from the antenna as preparation for the signal that will be lost during the trip through the coax feed-line. If people continue to leave their amplifiers near their antennas (as they should) and those are generally adding 20-30dB…and then another 19dB is being added at the Pro Stick itself… Sounds like things could be quite ‘warm’ by the time they hit the SDR.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Matt

If you already have an amplified antenna with a reasonable noise figure, this is probably not for you.

The Pro Dongle has an SMA connector. The amp is extremely low noise which is why it’s reasonable to not have it at the antenna.

There certainly are much higher cost/complexity solutions that are marginally better, but FlightAware’s Pro Stick has a goal of being an extremely high performance receiver (much better than what’s otherwise available) at a very low price point.

so If I am running a HAB Amp this wont do much for me?

It would be interesting to compare your dongle+amp vs FA prostick+no amp.

@dbaker

does it pass power to the feeder line? Can it be connected to the dual band FA antenna, or DC blocker have to be inserted?

I have to doubt it. The most it could pass would be 5V, and the dongle itself it likely already running close to the limits of USB port power on a Pi just to run itself.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m all for this and am very pleased to see you guys roll this out at such an awesome price point.

Well done, as always!

Would it be a reasonable approach to use the large FlightAware antenna, a filter, a splitter and two of these dongles to receive 978 and 1090 simultaneously?

The amplifier doesn’t pass power to the coax. You don’t need to use a DC blocker.

The FA prostick can be connected directly to the both FA antennas. The idea was to minimize the cost of the system while getting max range for ADS-B.
To get amazing range you only need the FA antenna -> coax cable with SMA-male -> FA filter (optional) -> FA prostick. Fewer and cheaper parts.
We are seeing 200+ miles easily on test setup like this.

Send me one and I’ll do the comparison. :slight_smile:

…Tom

I checked a regular RTL-SDR dongle with the R820T2 chip on it and I think from memory it used about 75mA could even have been less… So the R820T2 chip plus a small amp would only nudge it about 30mA higher… Keeping in mind everything Pi B+ and above can shunt 1.2A at the USB ports and a single USB port is able to access all of that…

And this couldn’t have come at a better time, I was literally opening a new browser tab to search for the hab amps when I saw the FB post for this… Wish a global release was possible, I want one in Australia now :slight_smile: Oh, and will order a filter at the same time…

Does this unit have a TCXO?

On that note, do we know when the 26in FlightAware antenna will be back in stock at Amazon? Had one in my cart the other day and by the time I got home and was going to order another one, they were unavailable. I need another shorter antenna for a new location I’m setting up soon.

Thanks!

What about 978? Is the stick tuned to only 1090?

The total power draw, according to the Amazon page: 5V @ 150mA