FlightAware Discussions

New antenna results

I had been running a CoCo antenna in my attic for a couple weeks and was getting somewhat ok results from it, but I finally built a ground plane using an N connector and chopped apart a clip board for mounting all of the devices to it. (It’s got a USB hub to power the PI because it was more stable than running the PI direct and for powering the amplifier when it gets in, POE breakout and of course the PI.)

ended up with this:


Bet ya can tell when I installed it…

Installed the CoCo around Nov 14-15, then did some tweaking/testing on the GP at the end of Nov, mounted it over the weekend.

I have an amplifier on the way, and I expect the numbers will look even better!

Good work! I like the ground plane. I ordered some chassis connectors on eBay to make one. I’m not holding my breath til they get here. :smiley:

It’s great to see positive results for your work. I think the amp will boost your reception. I have the power supply and power injector and I’m just waiting for the amp to get here.

I ordered almost everything off Amazon (haven’t bought off Ebay in years!)

The only parts of this I didn’t get from Amazon were:

USB Hub (already had one)
DC Plug (again, already had one)
Romex wire and small hardware for making the antenna (but I did buy the coax jumpers and N connector on Amazon)

The amp wasn’t on amazon though. I opted for a LNA/AMP for 1090MHz, I figure it’ll clean up the signal and boost what’s left. That’s what we used in SATCOM so, sounds good to me.

Are you going to have heat or cold issue with everything in the attic? Last week I put my new ground plane antenna in the attic, but I dropped the cable through the ceiling to the RPi in a closet. I was concerned that the RPi and doogle could not take the heat and cold in the attic.


I’ll probably have a heat issue during the summer, but I will monitor it closely and work from there.

If I have to relocate the dongle, I’ll bypass the Pi altogether and pipe it directly into my server.


Fellow Floridian here!

I think I will definitely have some heat issues in the summer too. I currently have my equipment stashed neatly in my attic, but the Florida summers will definitely change that configuration.

I am currently running a CoCo antenna that I built a couple weeks ago which gave me slightly better range and coverage than my ground plane set up. I was thinking of moving my CoCo outside, but I was too much of a wuss to get up onto my second storey roof to mount it. Also, I have seen that specific ground plane antenna plan that you built knocking around this forum for a while… I might have to build one soon.

Please keep up posted on how the Amp works for you; I may end up picking one up if the results look positive. I saw somewhere that if you add an amp, you may have to adjust the gain in dump1090 (default is max gain). I may be wrong, but I seem to remember reading that somewhere. Please let me know if I have that wrong.

If it matters, I am in north Pinellas county and get quite a bit of coverage out of KPIE and KTPA. I have been able to see some aircraft right off the runway at KTPA.

It’s nice to see that this area is getting more representation here.


I’m out in Brandon with this GP antenna mounted in my first story house attic. I’m actually quite impressed with the range (hitting down to PGD and a few hits over MCO if they’re high enough).

Yeah, it would make sense that I’m going to have to tweak my gain settings. I already have it down from the default and I think with the filter alone I would see an improvement, the amp will just be icing on the cake.

Not many people out there in the area, my neighbor list is quite short compared to other areas… maybe I could’ve gotten a free FA kit for this! 8)

How big of a deal is it with the 1090MHz antenna to have a long(er) length coax to allow for remoting the PI?

Well, shorter is better. If you must run from the antenna, avoid basically everything electric and keep the run as short as you possibly can.

That being said, in the military we routinely ran 12GHz over coax for 10’-15’ with no issues, but we had industrial grade LNAs, down converters and such.


Are you planning on putting your antenna up on a mast?


Nah. Given the frequency and duration of lightning strikes, I don’t want to worry about it hitting my gear nor properly grounding it.

That and I don’t want to upset the HOA, those guys need lives.

I built a similar antenna and placed my entire setup in the attic and have been getting similar results. Ground plane antennas work better than all other designs I have attempted to build (colinnear, j-pole, dipole, monopole).

Regarding the heat, I put my setup in the attic in mid September. Since then we had one week where temps in the mid 90s and another week where the temps were around zero. So far, temperature does not seem to have any effect. Granted, I will reserve judgement until next summer when temps go above 100.

From the discussions that I have seen recently, it seems like many are having the most luck with the ground plane antenna over the CoCo antenna. I have had the opposite experience for some reason.

My ground plane antenna was built using 50 ohm coax with an SMA bulkhead connector and a 4 element ground plane. I got fairly good range from it (about 160 NM). Didn’t see the greatest coverage from it… some blind spots to the northeast.

The CoCo was built following the instructions from http://www.balarad.net without amplification or lightning protection. This got me much better coverage and slightly better range (about 180 NM).

24 hour coverage:

Since I have seen so much luck with the ground plane, I think that’s definitely going to be the next one built or my current one revamped.

Also, I have seen that on some forums people are mentioning that the CoCo antennas do well with an 8 1/2 elements over just 8 elements. I think I saw that in a conversation with a user ‘ab cd’ and @jepolch in another forum. Has anyone experimented with the 8 1/2 element here?


Is your antenna mounted outside? You’re not far from me, but your range is much better (I’m lucky to hit 100nm)

Looks like my filter/amp will be here tomorrow. I’ll wire then fire it up and see what that gets me.

Nope. It’s in the attic of my two storey house:

I was very careful and precise when I built the antenna which may be one of the reasons I am getting good range.

I would love to mount it outside, but as in your case, the HOA might moan a bit even though almost half of the houses in the neighborhood have a satellite dish hanging off the side of the house. Also lightning.

I actually got part of the idea to mount it in the attic from your posts! I guess getting it up in the second story might help quite a bit.

Trying to figure out where I can mount it outside without incurring the wrath of the HOA. I think I can put it out back if I build the patio I want because it won’t be visible out front of the house, but it wont have a clear view south (but very clear to the north and it can’t be much worse to the south than the attic)

I have my ground plane attached to a vent stack on the backside of the roof away from the ‘folk’ who look for CC&R transgressions. The vertical is the only thing that sits above the roof peak view-shed. Ilegitamae non carborundum.

I was thinking of doing something similar. My house is two storey, so it’s not easy to see the roof anyway. Might not even be able to see it at all from the road…


Here is my “attic” setup. The GP antenna is in the attic. A short cable run from the attic, through the closet ceiling and some velcro. The RPi and doogle are not exposed to the attic heat/cold and the cable run in very short.




Help me out here… what’s between the dongle and the antenna connection?