New Installation but poor coverage


#1

Greetings FlightAware Forum,

I think I might have a problem with my installation, or equipment.
It was offline for most of the day due to installing and getting it all properly set up. Now that all is done, my coverage from the FA receiver kit is only about 100km radius.

FA antenna fitted on top of 14m mast. N-Connector properly tightened, running down with the 30feet cable into the surge arrestor. Then the shorter cable on the other side of the surge arrestor runs indoors, into the filter and FA receiver. Now I haven’t connected earth to the surge arrestor yet, the whole mast is grounded and metal, so I don’t see that as a possible factor in my reception problem. No kinks or obvious damage to any of the cables either, all connectors look fine.

There is no TX cable or TX antennas on the mast, all just RX. Feeder lines are not running parallel to any power cables.

Please share your thoughts what could be wrong here… I’m sure I should get at least 300km radius and not mere 100km radius. 100km is about what I can get with only a coax outside without antenna connected. And important also, the about 100km radius is similar to what I got when I setup the kit to test it… antenna was then only 6m above ground, so I blamed the trees around me for the poor reception. But at 14m AGL its now open skies all around.

Is there any way I can telnet or connect to the box (besides the :8080 screen?) to see if we can discover what is wrong?

Thanks for the help!


#2

Are you using a raspberry pi with piaware?

If so, you can SSH into the box, yeah


#3

To much cable…


#4

Looking at your stats in comparison to others in your area, you’re doing well – leading in aircraft sighted, and a close second in positions reported. The FA system is a good one. Other than drastically shortening the cable run from the antenna (through the arrestor) to the radio, I’m not sure much can be done. I’ll look at your stats again after a few days, but they seem to be pretty good for the area.

bob k6rtm


#5

Did your kit come with a white antenna? If so, they are presumably faulty and FA is shipping out replacement antennas.

I too run a FF box supplied by FA and a Radarcape and have noticed a similar pattern even on swapping the antennas. FA say they are tweaking the software. Here is the link ads-b-flight-tracking-f21/poor-stats-on-ff-box-as-compared-to-radarcape-t20809.html


#6

In a consolidated reply to all that was said:

  • It is the FlightAware supplied antenna at 14m AGL. Indeed white antenna, marked 6dB gain.
  • Stats: I have 2 sites, the one in question is 7866, the flightfeeder site. The other one (not in question) is my old DIY setup which also feeds.
  • 10m of this high quality cable should not be too much surely? This is afterall well developed and pricey hardware with a high quality receiver in it, and not a cleap dongle. There is no way I can mount the FlightFeeder receiver on the mast - summer heat will kill it, even when enclosed in a waterproof enclosure.
  • All the feeder devices are at least 1.5m apart from each other (Leaky LO could not be a problem)

The range VRS is plotting from the receiver is simply strange. Bottom most overlay is DIY CoCo into RTL dongle. Slightly darker is the FR24 box, and the topmost and darkest range is the new FA box.
Range rings are 50km apart, darker ones are the 100km radius.

http://eons.co.za/FA/FA-radius.JPG

I will do some testing to try and swop receiver with antenna, to see if its better in any way.


#7

There was something on the FR24 forum about external boxes being placed in the center of a box with an open top (oversized roof freely supported an inch or two above the box and open bottom) so the outer box would heat and free air movement would cool it.

The inner waterproof box would be (at a guess) 10-20 degrees above temperature in the shade.

By the way, congratulations on out performing the fr24 kit with a dongle + homebrew coco. It will be interesting to see what the FA kit can do on the coco


#8

I had the FA receiver connected to my homebrew CoCo today … and nearly no flights were picked up. Made me suspect something might be wrong with the FA receiver - possibly some damage during shipping, I dont know. But then again, the FA kit works with 50 Ohm and if memory serves, the DIY stuff is all 75 Ohm. Not sure how large that will impact on it all?
Awaiting the FA staff to come back to me on the results of the testing I did today. Was it not for Load Shedding and some rainshowers, I would have tested some more.


#9

Mismatch loss between 50 and 75 ohm is <1dB - you are unlikely to notice it.