Mode S-Beast for Better Data?

Probably yes. It has an Altera MAX 10M16 with 16k LEs. In comparison the original Beast has a Cyclone II (older technology) with 5k LEs. You need some additional space for the soft CPU used to configure the tranceiver, and for doing the level detection that the Beast does in external hardware, but it seems entirely possible.

It looks like you have access to the FPGA’s GPIOs so in theory it should be possible to feed PPS & NMEA there.

They announced that they will add in an U.FL connector for external clock source on the bottom side of the board.
This would allow PPS or to share clocks between multiple boards.

thanx for reply obj,

this means below the line if an ublox gps module is added this were the perfect flightaware flightfeeder. reasonable price, low host-cpu-demand, high message detection-/decoding-capability and perfect mlat timing source. let’s hope they manage to manufacture our orders in time. up to then i try to figure out what (within my skills) is possible with this new toy and what this limenet app store brings and is good for …

To answer the original question;

In our fairly substantial experience, no. The FA Prostick (Orange) + if needed a good cavity filter will outperform the Beast every time. We get consistently better range from the Prostick than Beast, Radarcape/FR24 boxes.

However, it’s quite possible that the Beast will perform better if you are in an area with extremely heavy traffic, as it should be better at discriminating overlapping frames (?) unfortunately there is no way for us to test that.

I have around 10 sites with multiple receivers to compare with, several Beast, 8 Fr24 boxes and around 50 dump/DVBT systems. And the SBS boxes are far behind all of these.


… not my findings when doing extensive tests two years ago

I’m not quite sure with which statement you are disagreeing, the initial question or my reply to it…

Please let us know then exactly what you tested and your findings. In your picture I see some indoor antennas (which is not optimal for range testing) and a blue generic T2 dongle. I have loads of them also and they work well, but the Prostick is in another league. If you compared to a generic T2, then I understand if the Beast performed better. Also, what kind of filters did you use in front of the stick?


was about your statement :slight_smile:

  • about range - i got easily over 450 km inside attic with all setups and about 3.000-3.500 aircrafts with 1300-1.700 messages per second
  • setups were radarcape, airspy, different dongle flavors
  • filters were saw, cavity, ceramic, flightaware standalone
  • amp mini circuits lna 15db
  • fa dongle tested this year - zero advantage to nooelec with uputronics filter/amp in front

=> result best radarcape and secondbest nooelec with seperate amp/filter

edit: price-wise no question a pi zero-w with fa pro stick plus costs inclusive powersupply 50$ and is a bargain with decent resuts

450 km is just 240nm, any receiver should be able to do that. If you need an amplifier to accomplish that, something is wrong. Range testing should be done without pre-amplifiers.

But like I said first, your location is quite busy with traffic, and it may very well tip the scale towards the FPGA receivers.

Even with 330-350 nm range here, I only see around 7-800 msg/sec MAXIMUM, some around 200 msg/second, as there just isn’t more traffic in the air. With no difference between Prostick and Radarcape as for msg rate. Prostick gets 10-15% better range.

As I said, we get the same results on 10 different sites, so I stand by my initial claim.


hmmm - al least none of the 7 sites that run under your user name show these ranges 330-350nm you are talking about at a decent message rate. of course with the extremly low traffic you have over there you will have a little more range than sites with more traffic. that said my site does get more messages from over 200nm than any of the above mentioned while seeing incomparable more traffic. did you ever yourself test the radarcape in a reasonable setup or are you talking about sites near you?

If you need an amplifier to accomplish that, something is wrong. Range testing should be done without pre-amplifiers.

steep thesis btw …

Well, as Flightaware doesn’t sponsor any equipment they don’t get the feeds from the best sites…

  1. I never claimed that all sites see the >300 nm ranges, only that it is possible and that even with that range the message rate is relatively low, on both type of receivers.

  2. Regardless of max range, on all sites that have double setups, the Prostick has better range.

  3. What exactly do you mean by “reasonable setup”? The tests are continuously running, on some of the best sites around. Antennas in towers, low-loss cable and mini-circuit hybrid splitters feeding FR24/Radarcape boxes and Prostick/dump1090 Rpi-systems. The range plots are collected in VRS and can be easily compared.

I have 8 FR24 boxes and 2 Radarcapes.

  1. Flighaware stats has no comparable way to plot verified max ranges over time.


  1. how many messages == 330-350nm in total per flight?
  2. anything here depends on above and below
  3. reasonable setup radarcape == fine tuned antenna, lna and filter in front
    none of the sites above is reasonable best within nearby
    don’t know what a ‘hybrid-splitter’ should be
    range plots from vrs are worth nothing especially on a long time run and/or mlat included
    the only way to derive decent data is to log all messages in a database

you can have 100 bikes - the only question that matters is how fast you are with the one you sit on

Well, as Flightaware doesn’t sponsor any equipment they don’t get the feeds from the best sites…

p.s. whatever these ‘mystic best sites’ are and whatever they in reality deliver - flightaware of course sponsors equipment. maybe not yours - they probably have good reason to do so - but what is of much higher importance at least for me - they feed back mlat data to feeder site.

got an email today with shipping date - does yours ship earlier?


All LimeSDR mini have the same expect ship date and will ship from the Crowd Supply Warehouse. Crowd supply is a bit different than other crowd sourcing companies in that they handle fulfillment. So probably a few pallets of boxes will arrive at their warehouse and then the units will ship at the same time to the users.

Lime Microsystems ordered the final prototype about a week ago and if everything checks out they will start production quite soon :slight_smile: They might ship sooner if everything checks out or maybe a bit later if the prototype needs a bit more work done. They should know within a couple weeks what the final ship date will be.

Lime seems very open about sharing any changes in the outlook so we should know soon too.

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hi david - great - thanx for comprehensive info :slight_smile: