FlightAware Discussions

How to get ads-b signals from aircrafts on ground/runway

I am new to flightaware. I am using flightaware feeder blue box along with the antenna provided with 15mtr cable. I live 3.5 kms away from one end of the runway.

I used diy colliner antenna and along with a preamp I was able to get signals from runway to some extent (which is not with the case of flightaware antenna) but my range was around 200-250 kms max . With flightaware antenna, I am getting range roughly around 300kms and around 450+kms at few places.

Any aircraft which goes below 250ft vanishes for me but again comes back when it lands with GND! At times I am seeing aircrafts which are taxied on the ground but dotted lines so it is not tracking fully but getting signal inbetween. Buildings all over so I can understand why signal goes. But how it comes when the aircraft will be fully surrounded by airport buildings?

Anyway to fully get signal from taxiaway and runway?

The circles in the picture are 50kms.

It comes down to dynamic range of the receiver.
Put simply, you can set your receiver for strong signals or for weak signals, but not both.

If you back off the gain (find instructions in other threads), you’ll see your local movements, but at the expense of long range.

As an experiment, try your DIY antenna without the amp.


Guess you could setup 2 stations - one with low gain for the airport and one with high gain for the inbound/outbound traffic.


I searched but not able to find a way to change gain. This kit was sent by flightaware and it seems to be beast receiver. In Radio menu there is no gain adjustment and I cannot find any clipped messages. How to adjust gain?

FlightFeeders based on Beast hardware do not have adjustable gain; but they also have good dynamic range so gain is usually not an issue.

The coverage you see is probably just to do with the quirks of your particular location. Unless you have line of sight, it’s unpredictable whether you’ll hear anything; maybe you have some fortuitous signal reflection happening that lets you see the runway better than the final approach path.

Also, please use the supplied antenna, not a different one; using a different antenna will break the GPS functionality of the FlightFeeder.


I am using only supplied antenna. That colliner setup was with Nooelec dongle but results with FA is lot better. Seeing signals which comes and goes was making me think whether it can be improved. That was the reason I opened a thread.

Depending on the preamp you used, a filtered preamp might perform better ( https://rtl-sdr.com/new-product-rtl-sdr-blog-1090-mhz-ads-b-lna/)

If you really want to focus on one direction you can build a yagi antenna.

Or what might be easier after all: Find a higher spot for the antenna?

Or the most obvious solution, find an antenna location closer to the airport.

Maybe try the FA antenna in the exact spot where you had the colinear antenna mounted?
Could well be the exact location where you can get some reception from the airport.

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I will look at the preamp and also will try yagi just to add one more feed to FA looking at the airport. I tried putting flightaware antenna in the same place but it was not getting signals from ground. As I don’t have colliner now I can’t compare. May be some thing else come along the signal path now so FA antenna not getting.

If you build a yagi be aware that you need to tilt the antenna 90 degrees so the elements are vertical.

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@wiedehopf sure I will fix it vertically once I make. Need clarificaion on few.

@rugomol Which is the best one in that set of antennas? Many designs show Yagi with folded dipole but in yours there is none why? Which is the best antenna in that lot?

“folded dipole” - preferred for protection against thunderstorms

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Thanks I will try. Today I tried with one satellite dish with pointing towards the airport and 1/4 dipole at its focal point. No improvement and also tried corner reflector antenna nothing changed. May be something wrong I am doing.

At this short distance, you are most likely losing local signals due to front-end overload.
Adding a gain antenna will probably make things worse, not better.

That should be easy to test for by reducing the gain.

But depending on the terrain and buildings along those 3.5 km, the signals might well be weak rather than strong or rather be just reflections.

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I suggested that above, but @Obj pointed out the OP is running a Beast receiver with no gain adjustment.

I’d suggest alternative gear is available.
Also beast receivers aren’t that easily overloaded.
3.5 km, no way ALL ground traffic at that airport has a signal that is too strong.

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I made one small yagi with elements from RG 6 inside copper. It won’t fetch meaningful result but till I make proper yagi antenna something to test. With that I put 50mhz to 2ghz inline amp from aliexpress. If I point it towards the airport (my yagi is no way perfect and its gain may not be good) I at times get aircrafts from ground having RSSI -23 to -24.

The same aircrafts aren’t seen on FA antenna which is 18 feet higher than this yagi. Some are picked on FA antenna which isn’t visible on yagi.

Adjusting the gain on dongle reduces RSSI value and aircrafts on ground aren’t seen at all unless the gain is set to maximum. Both in the inline amp and on dongle.

There are lots of buildings between me and airport. May be getting signals from gaps & reflections. I will try to make a proper yagi so as to get more signals.

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As you are using the blue feeder which is having mode s beast inside…so best option is to raise the antenna from where it can see the horizon,even slightly will work. If you had orange then I could suggest you something about directional antenna,but with beast it won’t work. As it is FPGA based design so gain isn’t an issue but obstacles like tall building obviously is if you are thinking to track it on runway and ramp.
சூடான குறித்து :slightly_smiling_face:

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Using Blue box. Building around 30 feet higher than the antenna (which is presently over 18ft over the house roof) blocks the view around the airport. I am now trying with yagi on rtl dongle to see whether I can receive from runway/ramp and to some extent it is getting.