Is the Flightaware Dongle best?


Reading that Flightaware has their own Dongle now…

Is this the “best” one or no better or worst than the others out there on the market?


For this price range, YES the best one.
If one is ready to pay handsome amount money, better receivers are also available.


Yes, value for money it is the best. Noisy areas may require a better/external filter, but that goes for most receivers.
You can also add a metal case and rf chokes to the USB cables to reduce noise.

I also have STD RTL-SDR dongles, airspys, Mode S Beasts and a radarcape.
It does 95-98% of what a radarcape can and is <5% the cost.


I have the flightaware filter already just didn’t know if for shitts and giggles I would see any benefit by replacing my existing one with one of these.

Currently I have been using a NooElec R820T2


Yes, the internal amp makes a lot of difference, unless you have an amp somewhere in your setup.


What are some examples of more expensive ones? I am very curious.


Mode S Beast (1090 Mhz only)
radarcape (1090 Mhz only)
airspy - General use
trilby hat

Since you are in the U.S. you may want to look into dump978.
It is generally used by GA aircraft. Not widely used a the moment but there is a mandate to use them on certain aircraft by Jan 1, 2020.


What does modifying the DUMP978 or 1080 for that matter do for us?


To reduce the amount of messages, the planes above 19,000 ft broadcast at 1080 MHz, and general aviation below 19,000 broadcast 978 MHz. Not as many messages on the 978 MHz frequency yet. Dump978 programs the software defined radio (SDR) to tune to that frequency, and then decodes the resulting data and it is merged with the Dump1080 data. It will require a second dongle tunable to 978 MHz, and antenna. The Blue FlightAware dongle has a filter in it and will probably be lousy at 978 MHz. The older yellow SDR dongle may work well on 978 MHz. I have not tried it, so wish you well.

Note, Antennas do not like to be too close to other antennas. The close distances affect the reception patterns. At these frequencies, 2 to 3 ft separation should help. Vertically, one ft separation will work well. Putting antennas just inches apart can cause all kinds of reception problems. I made these mistakes and thought it might be helpful for others to avoid the interactions.


This is not correct.

(it’s 1090MHz not 1080; 1090MHz is used below 19k ft; the reasons for deployment of UAT in the US have little to do with message rate)