FlightAware Discussions

Investing more money will help?

Probably I’m not the only one thinking if investing will get a significant improvement in planes/count, so I will present you my case.

Currently this is my set:

With the above set I get the following (the lines are for 10000, 30000 and 40000 feet):

And this is my location, the antenna is locate on the solar panel with a white cover next to the one with the blue cover:
https://goo.gl/maps/MfPPuTY4K91pQwD86

Since I have no plans of moving and demolishing the surrounding buildings is out of scope :slight_smile: I think I’ve reached the limite in my location, unless any of the fellow “feeders” had faced a similar problem that was solved with a “Triple Filtered LNA”.

All suggestions, comments are welcome!

That is the max range you can get. But if there are simply no aircraft in this “white” areas there is nothing you can do.

I think you are good with your setup.
Do you feed Radarbox24 by chance? Then you get a range ring created by all aircraft you have received.

Personally i don’t think that something will improve with more money.

@foxhunter this is my Radarbox24 range.

You have two main problem areas compared to the heywhatsthat theoretical range: a wide one due west and a narrow one towards east-south-east. As far as I can see, the latter is caused by the two buildings on José Bonaparte x Espiridião de Sousa. They are right above you and considerably higher. The problem westwards appears to be of a different kind, something to do with the antenna. I see in the other thread that you had to work on it and even then you thought it performed worse than it should. Looking at the map of broken tracks westwards, I think so too.

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Wait a minute. That protruding structure in the middle of your roof appears to be higher than the solar panels and it is almost due west from the antenna with a slight tilt northwards, exactly the same slight tilt (285° or so) in bad reception that’s seen on the range map. Can you try raising the antenna higher than that structure? Just temporarily, so see if it makes a difference.

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@zenonp that’s true, the structure in the middle of the roof it is about 1.3m higher than the solar panel.
During the weekend, if doesn’t rain, I will try to temporally raise the antenna and check the range.
It would be great if I could put the antenna together with the other antennas :slight_smile:

lightning strike protection might be an idea on this escalated position

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I would definitely put it above the DVB-T antenna (if you can get consent/approval from the owner of the building/antenna). Then the 2m cable into a weather proof box (located 1m25 - 1m50 lower so you can feed the cable from underneath using a u-turn). Something like this or something like this. Perhaps you can put the coax through the pipe and fix the antenna on top of the pipe.

Sort of flush mount like this:

The box would be located on the North-North-East side of the yellow structure so it won’t catch much direct sunlight. Connect the coax to a Triple Filter LNA and from there on you can do what you prefer. I.e. run a coax cable from the LNA down to the receiver (with Bias-Tee) or put the Pi inside the box with POE (similar to what Keith and Tony did on the MTG site but with the box located lower).

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I would be wary about placing a heat-generating RPi in a small airtight enclosure.

The problem is that you want to keep out humidity while retaining good ventilation, which is not easy, especially in a place where temperatures can vary between 0 and 40°C. For my part, when I started looking at this problem and trying to figure out solutions, I concluded that it was easier and better to just run a long antenna cable and keep the RPi indoors.

@zenonp after upgrading from the RPi1 to the RPi4B I had some heat problem that were solved by having a fan moving the air inside the case https://discussions.flightaware.com/t/what-does-your-setup-look-like/57866/294?u=pretoescuro
Currently I have the RPi4B in a case with a fan that is controlled by Node-Red https://discussions.flightaware.com/t/what-does-your-setup-look-like/57866/354?u=pretoescuro

This is the historical temperature trend
system-localhost-temperature-365d

Giving the enclosure a bit of a sun shield helps a lot.
Having an internal fan that cools the RPi and keeps the air inside the box and the RPi at a temperature difference of around 10 C should also help.
The whole box will then radiate the heat which is usually good enough to keep the box inside temp probably within 10 C of the outside air.

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I used this passive enclosure and applied thermal compound instead of the self adhesive thermal pads. It gets warme on the ouside, but not hot. I tried several enclosures, but this one did the best job, even better than enclosures with active cooling.

My Pi4B (@ 1700MHz) operates on an average temperature of 45 °C (=113 °F). Ambient temperature 19 °C, so ΔT = 26 K.


As @wiedehopf mentioned, circulating the air (with a slow fan) inside the box will decrease temperature fluctuations. Because the entire enclosure will have the same temperature and it is well above the dew point the risk of condensation is practically nil…
Just to be sure, I always throw a few silica gel bags in as well.

@wiedehopf: I’ve never tried these things and I might be overly pessimistic, but here is what I think:

If the outside temperature is 40°C in the shadow, shadowing the box won’t help (except for not getting it to 70°C). Then again, if the outside temperature is around 0°C, you will get dew inside the box unless the heat from the RPi prevents that. Thus, you get a conflict between dissipating heat or using it when you need it. From there on the mathematics of heat dissipation through different materials are waaaay above my level (while trial and error can easily get well above my wallet). That was more or less my logic for opting for a long antenna cable and an indoor RPi. The (very low, but yet not totally negligible) risk of theft or vandalism also pointed in the same direction.