New Antenna - 10x Increase (Not even outside yet)

Greetings all,

I thought I would report in on the new FlightAware antenna I picked up off of Amazon. As it stands right now the antenna is hooked to a pigtail and directly to the Raspberry Pi. I do plan to get it up on the roof in the future so we will see how much more that helps.

In the mean time, if anyone wishes to check out my tracker, I am using the standard FlightAware dump1090 but have made a few cosmetic changes to the config.js file as well as a few functionality enhancements to the script.js file.

Home location has been moved to protect the innocent.

Very nice for being inside.

That said, and I’m sure others will chime in, it’s not recommended to open your DUMP1090 up the internet as it’s knows to crash easily when it’s accessed too much. Even if you don’t advertise it to the world, there are plenty of scripts and hackers that are going to attack it thinking it’s a web server they can hack.

I opened up that port temporarily with the intent of letting people check it out. Won’t stay that way for too long. The hardest part was setting up the link to the Airframes database to lookup the ICAO numbers. No simple way to pass that variable back to their website for a lookup. But I like being able to lookup those mystery items on the list now.

Nice. I’m on the other side of the state and you’re definitely doing much better signal wise than I am. How are you currently set up?

Also, I downloaded the FAAs ICAO transponder database and created a script that will run any code against it and provide links to FA for it. (example:

Also, my feed is here:

I do agree that you shouldn’t have it directly opened up. I have a reverse proxy that then points to VRS so my actual dump1090 is 2 servers removed from people trying to access it. Benefit of having a virtual machine hypervisor: I can create as many VMs as I have resources for and really keep myself secure and my servers somewhat hardened.

Also, what kind of antenna did you have previously?

Ok, let me start by saying the VRS interface is nice, I have not tried it before, but may have to. Does VRS pickup on the MLAT located flights as well as the ADS-B ones?

As to the antenna, I just had the stock one that came with the little USB reciever. I am using the newer version of the USB reciever though.

I had been thinking about seeing if I could use CloudFlare to protect the site, or also possibly doing a read only mount of the html directory including the json files to another server and present the website there thus removing the web interface from the pi completely.

VRS does appear to support MLAT on their beta version, however I am using a fork of the piaware software that isn’t supporting it yet, so you cannot see any MLAT on my server.

What USB receiver are you using? What was the range before? It makes more sense now knowing that you went from the poorly tuned cheap antenna that came with the SDR to the FA offering. Where is your antenna set up?

I like the idea of what you’re doing with VRS. I have my VRS setup to show ADS-B and MLAT planes on the map.

Here is the tuner I am using

The antenna is sitting in a window on the second floor at the moment. There is nothing but a less than one foot pigtail connecting the antenna to the tuner to minimize loss. There is a short USB extension cord running from the pi to the tuner.

As to more specifics of performance, look at my ADS-B stats here on Flightaware, it is a recent enough change to be easily seen on the charts.

Were you using the telescopic antenna that came with the USB receiver to start with and was it in the same position on the windowsill ?

I tried exactly the same experiment and found the FA antenna to be worse than the whip in the same location. The only difference is that my house is single story and so perhaps that may make a difference. perhaps I have a bad FA antenna. I had hoped the gain of the FA antenna vs the whip would have at least improved something for me.

I open a port for my new raspberry pi but translate the port…ie, open port 1050 and map to 8080. This way the average port snooper will not look for my non-standard port.

How did you get Flightrader24 and Planefinder integrated? Did you modify dump1090 to send data to these sites, also?

Thanks and as you can tell I’m new to this gadget.


Yes, the initial setup used the extendable antenna that came with the usb tuner. The replacement was the FA antenna from Amazon. I can snap a picture of the setup if you would like.


The addition of the Flightrader24, Planefinder, and Airframe ICAO Lookup were done through modification of the script.js file. The colors, circles, etc were done through the config.js. I can post the lines I added to the scripts.js file if you wish.

The ol’ “security thru obscurity” defense.

It works the majority of the time unless you have called undue attention to yourself. Normally I have that port firewalled to only IP addresses on my local ISP which works well since only neighbors usually look at it.

Yes, the initial setup used the extendable antenna that came with the usb tuner. The replacement was the FA antenna from Amazon. I can snap a picture of the setup if you would like.

Yes a picture would be great if you could.
I may return my FA antenna and request a replacement as I can’t understand why it would perform so poorly in the same location as compared to the telescopic whip.

Also going to try building a little spider antenna this weekend to see what difference that makes.

Any one interested to make Easy & Reliable DIY antenna? Try these:

… Doesn’t need much, I was setting up the PiB - using the supplied magmount (cut down to 68mm) stuck on a can of tuna on the outside window cill … and was getting almost 150nm


In past I have also tried the same thing and got similar results, but limitation is the small length of stock antenna’s cable, which puts constrains on equipment setup.


Simulation 1 of 2: SPIDER (8 Legged )
Gain = 1.7 dBi
SWR (75 ohms) = 1.3

Simulation 2 of 2: CANTENNA
**Gain = 1.9 dBi
SWR (75 ohms) = 1.5

These pics did not turn out the best due to the high contrast outside. Will see if I can get some better ones during the evening.