Low Range on NooElec NESDR SMArt + FA filter + FA antenna


I have the following set-ups:

  1. Piaware + generic RTL dongle + cheap out-out-of-the-box TV antenna: Range = 85 nm
  2. The same Piaware + NooElec NESDR SMArt + FlightAware filter + FlightAware antenna: Range < 10 nm

Why is the second set-up not working as expected? Playing with the gain doesn’t alleviate the issue.
Is there a way to debug this step-by-step?



Seems connection to antenna is broken. What are the connectors and adapter on the Coaxial Cable you used to connect FA antenna to the Filter+Nooelec NESDR SMArt combo? Have you used any pigtails?


This is a hardware problem. The software can only report how well the hardware is working (message count and range readings).
The easiest way to troubleshoot this problem is to replace the hardware with a similar part and see what the software says.

Try changing out FA antenna with the cheap antenna.
Try changing out the RTL dongle with the Nooelec smart dongle.
Try with and without the filter.

Most likely it is one of the connectors or cables that is cause. By changing out parts you can isolate it to a specific cable or part.


Found a problem with the cable, thanks!


One very common mistake is purchasing & using coax/pigtail with RP-SMA Male connector instead of SMA Male connector.

The SMA male has a center pin, while RP-SMA Male has a hole instead of a pin. Since the threads of both these types are identical, both fit perfectly well on the Filter or Dongle, but due to missing pin, the connection of center wire is broken.

Please see image below. Check your SMA connectors on your Coax and pigtail to make sure it is SMA Male, and not RP-SMA Male.